News in brief for Sept. 11: Top headlines for Czechia on Monday

A man died outside a club in Prague Sunday, Czech firefighters head to Morocco, and more headlines for Sept. 11, 2023. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 11.09.2023 08:30:00 (updated on 12.09.2023) Reading time: 5 minutes

economy Czech inflation reaches lowest levels in a year and three quarters

Inflation in August reached its lowest levels in a year and three quarters, according to data the Czech Statistical Office released on Monday. Consumer prices in the Czech Republic rose by 8.5 percent year-on-year in August, slightly lower than in July. Fuel prices had the largest impact, with diesel and gasoline reaching their highest values this year.

Inflation is expected to remain above 8 percent year-on-year. Prices for most items in the consumer basket saw a slowdown in growth, except for meat, yogurts, and vegetables which increased. Meanwhile, flour, milk, and butter prices decreased.

Health Vulnerable groups urged to get Covid-19 and flu vaccines

Health Minister Vlastimil Válek said that high-risk individuals such as the elderly, chronically ill, or those with weakened immunity should get vaccinated against Covid-19 and flu this fall. The latest vaccine, modified for new virus variants, is available for free to all interested parties.

Despite a moderate increase in infections, hospitalizations remain stable. In the past week, nearly 900 people tested positive for Covid-19, with cases gradually rising since July. Health workers and those living with high-risk individuals are also encouraged to consider vaccination.

energy Czech Republic increasingly reliant on Russian oil

The Czech Republic is increasingly reliant on Russian oil, with imports via the Druzhba pipeline reaching 65 percent in the first half of this year, compared to 56 percent last year. This represents the highest share since at least 2012.

The country also receives oil through the IKL pipeline from Germany. Despite anti-Russian sanctions, oil imports through the Druzhba pipeline have continued, temporarily exempt from the embargo. The Czech Republic plans to reduce its reliance on Russian oil by expanding the capacity of the TAL pipeline.

environment Share of artificial forests in Czechia is high

Czechia has one of the highest levels of artificial afforestation in Europe, leading to the poor health of its forests, along with pollutants and inappropriate species composition, according to environmental group Friends of the Earth. The group plans to submit a plan for healthier forests to the Ministry of Agriculture.

The plan aims to ensure that Czech forests can withstand further warming and maintain their ecological and economic balance. The Czech Statistical Office reported that 40,000 hectares of forest were planted last year, the second-highest figure since 1964. Artificially planted forests make up 95 percent of forests in Czechia.

Emergency 150 passengers evacuated due to train fault in Prague

Approximately 150 passengers were evacuated from a train in Prague's Vinohrady railway tunnel due to a damaged current collector. Firefighters and railway authorities assisted in transferring passengers to alternative transport. Meanwhile, there were reported faults in the traction line, causing trains to run on a diversion. No injuries were reported, and all passengers were safely evacuated by 9 a.m.

The current collector fault and defects in the supports of the traction line are expected to be resolved during the morning. Delays of 5 to 15 minutes are expected for long-distance services, with restrictions lasting until around 1 p.m. More details are available on the website of the Czech Railways.

TRAGEDY Man dies outside of Prague club this weekend

A 50-year-old man has died following a physical attack outside an unidentified club in Prague. The incident occurred on Sunday night near Hlávková most in Prague 7, although the specific club was not disclosed by the police.

Authorities are investigating the circumstances surrounding the attack. Rescuers attempted to save the man's life for half an hour, but their efforts were unsuccessful. The police have not provided further details about the incident, and the matter remains under investigation.

Earthquake Czech firefighters to leave for Morocco

Czech firefighters are set to deploy a specialized Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team to assist Morocco following a devastating earthquake. Morocco officially requested their aid, and the team, comprising around 70 members, including nine doctors and paramedics, will depart in military aircraft. The Czech team will be one of the first European teams to assist Morocco in this crisis. They have already prepared equipment and materials for their mission.

The USAR team, mainly composed of firefighters from Prague and the Moravian-Silesian region, will carry out rubble search and rescue operations. The earthquake has claimed over 2,122 lives and left 2,421 injured, with significant damage to historic sites in Marrakesh. Czech citizens have not been reported among the casualties. Other countries have also offered assistance to Morocco. With a magnitude of 6.8, the earthquake was the strongest the North African country has experienced in 100 years.

Society Czech president most trusted foreign politician

According to a recent poll by the Focus agency for Slovak television, Czech President Petr Pavel is the most trusted foreign politician among Slovaks, with 38 percent of respondents expressing trust in him. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban secured the second position with 36 percent trust, followed closely by French President Emmanuel Macron at 35 percent.

Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission, ranked fourth. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy garnered more trust than Russian President Vladimir Putin, while former U.S. President Donald Trump held the seventh position, trusted by 22 percent of respondents. The survey, conducted in August on 1,009 respondents, revealed variations in trust levels among different political party voters.

Politics Jurečka expects to table pension reform bill in early October

Czech Labour and Social Affairs Minister Marian Jurečka is set to introduce a pension reform bill in early October, as announced during a Czech Television debate program Sunday. Jurečka expressed confidence that the government's approved changes to the pension system, contested by the ANO opposition party, would succeed at the Constitutional Court.

resident Petr Pavel signed the amendment, which will tighten the rules for early retirement and slow down the regular January pension indexation, on Sept. 1. The current extraordinary indexation of pensions in case of a higher price rise will be replaced by a temporary pension bonus, under the amendment.

Wine Hundreds of thousands attend wine festivals this weekend

Over 120,000 people attended the two largest wine events in southern Moravia over the weekend, with both the Znojmo historical vintage and the Pálav vintage in Mikulov occurring simultaneously this year.

While attendance was slightly lower than the previous year when the festivals also coincided, with a total of 132,000 attendees, this year saw 76,081 people at the Znojmo event (compared to 84,887 last year) and 44,000 visitors at the Pálava vintage (4,000 less than the prior year).

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