News in brief for May 30: Karlovy Vary announces main line-up for 2023 film festival competition

The top headlines for the Czech Republic on Tuesday, May 30, 2023, updated throughout the day to keep you up to speed. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 30.05.2023 07:56:00 (updated on 30.05.2023) Reading time: 7 minutes

animals Prague Zoo announces plans for Przewalski's horses

Prague Zoo has announced today that it intends to transport dozens of Przewalski's horses to Kazakhstan in the coming year. The zoo also revealed conservation projects aimed at protecting species like wild camels in Mongolia and gavials in the Indian subcontinent. It will also undertake educational initiatives in Cameroon.

The Altyn Dala region in Kazakhstan will serve as a new habitat for the horses. Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala recently pledged support for this project, and a similar project is being prepared for the Valley of Monasteries in eastern Mongolia to enhance genetic diversity in the local horse population.

ECONOMY European gas prices hit two-year low

Wholesale gas prices in Europe have reached a two-year low, providing potential relief to consumers and businesses burdened with high energy bills. The key gas futures contract for the next month's delivery fell to as low as €23.50 per megawatt-hour (MWh), the lowest level since June 2021. The decline in prices can be attributed to factors such as a milder winter, measures to reduce gas consumption, and sufficient inventories and supplies.

Reservoirs in the EU are approximately 66 percent full. The current gas price on the stock exchange is well below the administratively set ceiling in the Czech Republic of CZK 2,500 per MWh.

sport Three ice hockey players in Czech Extraliga fail drug test

Three players from the Mountfield ice hockey club in Hradec Králové have tested positive for doping following a semi-final play-off match in the Czech Extraliga, the country’s highest-level ice hockey league. Kevin Klíma, Graeme McCormack, and Martin Štohanzl are said to have failed a drugs test. 

The cub has suspended all their contracts and temporarily removed them from the playing squad until the case is resolved. According to, the players all used a dietary supplement, the packaging of which did not indicate the presence of a prohibited substance.

LAW Covid-19 hoaxer's court hearing invaded by supporters

The Prague Appeals Court has today been forced to adjourn the hearing of former journalist Jana Peterková – accused of spreading Covid-19-related misinformation – because her supporters stormed the courtroom during the hearing. They were said to be chanting slogans about the Gestapo and the fascist state.

Peterková is accused of spreading hoaxes during the pandemic, claiming that NATO troops would invade Czechia and shoot non-self-isolating children. She has handed a two-year suspended jail sentence earlier this year.

labor Czech umbrella trade union forms strike committee

The Czech and Moravian Confederation of Trade Unions (CMKOS) has announced today it has formed a national strike committee to protest against the government's proposed austerity package. 

The CMKOS congress has granted permission to affiliated unions to organize protests from June 26 to June 30, coinciding with the initial reading of the package’s draft bill in the Chamber of Deputies. Minister of Labor Marian Jurečka told journalists that he could see “no rational reason” for unions to go on strike, and is willing to discuss any minor changes.

PRAGUE Three apostles from Astronomical Clock removed for repair

Repairmen have removed three statues of apostles from Prague’s Astronomical Clock after having been damaged by a visitor last year. The statues of St. Matthew, St. Thomas, and St. Judas will be under restoration for several weeks. 

They will not be temporarily replaced, and during the usual “hourly display” of Prague’s oldest clock in the Old Town there will be empty spaces. The apostles were vandalized by a visitor who broke the glass of the door that separates the Astronomical Clock’s chapel from the observatory. 

event Ex-presidential candidate rushed to hospital in serious condition

Former presidential candidate and deputy of the Freedom and Direct Democracy Party Jaroslav Bašta has been hospitalized due to “serious health issues,” according to Czech media reports. 

The 75-year-old signatory of the Charter 77 civic initiative during the communist regime has reportedly been put in an induced coma. The details of his exact illness have not been disclosed. In the 2023 presidential election, Bašta received almost 5 percent of the popular vote. 

society Almost one in four Czechs smoke, survey says

According to a survey by the Czech State Health Institute, 24 percent of the Czech population smoked tobacco products last year. Additionally, 10 percent used electronic cigarettes, 6.6 percent smoked heated tobacco, and 2.8 percent used nicotine sachets. 

Young people showed a higher preference for electronic cigarettes and nicotine sachets, according to the data. Health Minister Vlastimil Válek acknowledged a slight decrease in the overall number of smokers, but expressed concern that non-smoking youth are more likely to turn to cigarette alternatives. Valek emphasized the need to understand the underlying causes of addiction, which is attributed to nicotine found in both traditional cigarettes and e-cigarettes.

culture Karlovy Vary Film Festival announces line-up

The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival’s artistic director Karel Och has announced today that the annual event will showcase 31 films in its main "Proxima" competition (a section for bold works by young filmmakers and experienced auteurs.) The 57th edition of the festival runs from June 30 to July 8, and will show a total of about 170 films. Och told reporters that China has withdrawn its representative, meaning that no Chinese films will be screened. Russian-made films will also be absent from the festival. 

One of the most anticipated picks is Czech Matěj Chlupáček’s period detective drama Dawn, along with Tomás Klein’s film adaptation of the Sensitive Man novel. A full list of films that will be shown can be found on the official website.

Politics Czech PM congratulates Erdogan on re-election

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala congratulated Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on his re-election. Fiala expressed his belief that Turkey would contribute to peace in Europe and the world. Erdogan won the presidential election for another five-year term after being in power for 20 years. Fiala acknowledged the election results and expressed hope that Turkey would promote stability and peace.

The elections were considered crucial, with an opposition candidate having a strong chance of defeating Erdogan. The relationship between the European Union and Turkey has cooled in recent years, but cooperation is important due to migration and regional challenges.

Sports Two Czech players advance at the French Open

In the first round of the French Open at the Roland Garros in Paris, Jiří Lehečka and Markéta Vondroušová advanced, while the remaining Czech female tennis players were eliminated. Lehečka defeated Jan-Lennard Struff in a five-set match, while Vondroušová had a straight-set victory over Alycia Parks. Lehečka will face Marcos Giron in the next round, while Vondroušová will take on Darja Kasatkina.

Karolína Plíšková, Kateřina Siniaková, Petra Kvitová, and Linda Fruhvirtová all suffered defeats and were eliminated from the tournament. Plíšková lost to Sloane Stephens, Kvitová was defeated by Elisabetta Cocciaretta, and Fruhvirtová fell to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

On trial Czech doctor awaits verdict in Korea

A Czech doctor, who allegedly sexually harassed a medical professional in Korea while intoxicated, is awaiting trial in Korea. The doctor, who arrived in April as part of a delegation led by Transport Minister Martin Kupka, has been detained in Korea since then. The woman, initially demanded a high financial settlement, but as an agreement could not be reached, the case will be resolved in a Korean court.

Bail is being considered, which would allow the doctor to return to the Czech Republic until the verdict is reached. The Ministry of Defense is not expected to post the bond, but a private donor might.

Economy Czech Republic bolsters gold reserves

The Czech Republic has increased its gold reserves by 1.54 tons to a total of 13.5 tons in the first quarter, making it the fifth country with the largest increase in gold reserves during this period. The country now ranks 66th in the world in terms of gold reserves, according to the World Gold Council.

Central banks worldwide purchased a record-breaking 228 tons of gold in the first quarter of the year, a 34 percent increase from the previous record in 2013. The trend of central banks adding gold to their reserves has been ongoing since the financial crisis of 2008-2009, indicating a reassessment of the role of gold in times of financial uncertainty.

Culture New doc spotlights Czech integration of Ukrainian schoolchildren

A new documentary film "The Journey" showcases successful integration stories of Ukrainian children in Czech schools, highlighting the importance of non-formal education and sports as inspirations for other teachers. Produced in collaboration with the Czech Ministry of Education and the National Institute of Education, and supported by UNICEF, the film emphasizes the positive impact of schools and communities in providing normalcy, structure, and security for refugee children.

The publication accompanying the film offers teaching tips, interviews with actors, and stories from Ukrainian children and parents. The inclusive approach of the Czech education system serves as an inspiration for other refugee-receiving countries in the region.

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