News in brief for Sept. 16: Top headlines for Czechia on Saturday

Majority of Czechs unhappy about economy, Fridays for Future protests return, and more headlines for Sept. 16, 2023.

Expats.cz Staff ČTK

Written by Expats.cz StaffČTK Published on 16.09.2023 08:30:00 (updated on 18.09.2023) Reading time: 6 minutes

PRAGUE Thousands of protesters march through capital

Thousands of protesters gathered in Prague's Wenceslas Square, for a rally organized by the non-parliamentary party PRO, demanding government resignation and withdrawal from the U.S. defense treaty. PRO's chairman, Jindřich Rajchl, criticized the Czech government's policies, particularly Prime Minister Petr Fiala, blaming them for high energy prices and economic setbacks post-Covid.

The crowd marched through the city center to the Ministry of the Interior. PM Fiala downplayed the rally, focusing on support for Czech NATO membership at the NATO Days event. The protest, marked by chants and road closures, reflects growing discontent with the government's leadership and international alliances.

Culture NATO Days in Ostrava kick off with Polish aerobatics

NATO Days in Ostrava commenced today with a spectacular performance by the Polish aerobatic group Żelazny at the Mošnov airport in Ostrava. Three pilots showcased a thrilling twenty-minute aerial demonstration. The event promises over eight hours of captivating programming over the weekend.

Poland is this year's partner country during NATO Days, and is showcasing its latest military equipment including Korean FA-50 fighter jets, the HIMARS system, state-of-the-art K2 tanks, and the renowned Bayraktar unmanned aerial vehicle. With 18 foreign participants, including Portugal and Luxembourg, this year's event boasts one of the largest gatherings of military equipment in its history.

Sports Czech women's volleyball team wins to kick off Olympic qualifiers

The Czech Republic's women's volleyball team secured a thrilling victory against the Dominican Republic in the opening match of the Olympic qualification tournament. With a 3-2 set score in Group A in China, the Czechs overcame their 10th-ranked opponents. Coach Jannis Athanasopulos praised their mental strength and strategy.

Key players Michaela Mlejnková and Helena Havelková each contributed 21 points in attack, supported by Gabriela Orvošová with 18 points. This win against a higher-ranked team may prove crucial for Olympic qualification. The Czechs will face China in their next match as they vie for one of two coveted spots from their eight-team group at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Culture Pottery fair in Kunštát attracts thousands of visitors

The 31st annual pottery fair in Kunštát has drawn thousands of visitors this weekend. The event, one of the country's largest, features 150 vendors showcasing utilitarian, decorative, and garden ceramics of their own creation. Visitors can watch firing demonstrations, try their hand at the potter's wheel, and participate in a competition for the best ceramic product.

Winners secure a spot in next year's event. Quality craftsmanship and artisan signatures are emphasized. Despite challenges from mass-produced retail chains, handcrafted ceramics remain valued. The fair also aims to inspire younger generation to carry on the tradition.

Sports Krejčíková to play for singles and doubles titles in San Diego

Czech tennis star Barbora Krejčíková is set to compete for both singles and doubles titles at the 2023 San Diego Open. She secured her spot in the singles final by defeating Danielle Collins 3-6, 7-5, 6-2 on Friday. Krejčíková, along with partner Kateřina Siniaková, will also vie for the doubles title after defeating the Japanese-Indonesian pair Miyu Kato and Aldila Sutjiadi 6-4 and 7-5 in the semifinals.

Krejčíková faced an initial setback but made a strong comeback on Friday. The winner of the 2021 French Open has claimed six WTA titles during her career. In the doubles final, the Czech pair will face the US team of Collins and Coco Vandewegh.

Protest Anti-government protest to take place in Prague today

The non-parliamentary party PRO (Právo Respekt Odbornost) is set to stage a protest against the government today at Prague's Wenceslas Square, under the banner "Czech Republic against the government." Led by Jindřich Rajchl, the party's chairman, citizens expressing dissatisfaction with the government are encouraged to gather at the traditional protest location at 2 p.m. before marching towards the Ministry of the Interior.

Rajchl cites widespread discontent with the government, attributing it to what he perceives as inadequate measures by PM Petr Fiala's cabinet in addressing issues such as inflation, tax reforms, and pension adjustments. He emphasizes the importance of trade union involvement in intensifying pressure on the government, as they have the capacity to declare strikes.

Sports Czech men's tennis team advances to Davis Cup quarterfinals

Czech tennis players have secured a spot in the Davis Cup quarterfinals. Captain Jaroslav Navrátil's team clinched the advancement after Serbian player Lasl Djere defeated Spaniard Albert Ramos 6-4, 6-4. Novak Djokovic added a second point, clinching Serbia's advancement.

Serbia's wins also grant the Czech team a guaranteed spot in the quarterfinals, after defeating both Spain and South Korea. This marks the Czech team's first quarterfinal in the new Davis Cup format. The next phase of the tournament will take place in Málaga from November 21 to 26.

Business Ford celebrates 30 years in Czechia

Ford Motor Company celebrated 30 years in the Czech market with a gala at the U.S. ambassador's residence in Prague. Since opening a representative office in 1993, Ford has sold over 360,000 vehicles in the country. Country Manager Libor Benes said Ford has become the top new car importer several times and best commercial vehicle seller for 30 years.

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CEO Andrea Laky thanked customers and partners for their role in Ford's long-term success. The automaker displayed its new all-electric Explorer SUV, which will launch in the Czech market this fall after production begins in Germany in 2024.

Economy Employees could see CZK 20K+ in tax-free benefits

Employees will likely have up to CZK 21,983 crowns in tax-free benefits next year. When calculating, they could have additional non-cash bonuses of up to CZK 1,832 crowns per month exemption. Benefits and subsidies over these amounts would be taxed.

This follows a coalition proposal to keep tax breaks on up to half the average wage, set at CZK 43,966 crowns next year. Unions had negotiated to retain exemptions from the government's original plan to end them. The package is awaiting parliament approval after the regulation's approval Wednesday.

Environment Fridays for Future protest at Ministry of Environment

Students from Fridays For Future protested in front of the Ministry of the Environment against extending coal mining at the Bílina brown coal mine. With a performance called To Live or to Mine? they urged Minister Petr Hladík to oppose further mining and support ending coal use by 2033.

Ministry spokeswoman Lucie Ješátková said Bílina is part of carbon reduction but permitting cannot be illegal. She noted mining approval came from authorities in 2019 and 2020 and is being challenged in court, with the ministry awaiting a request to revise its environmental review.

society Majority of Czechs unhappy about economy

According to a survey by the Center for Public Opinion Research, 57 percent of people in the Czech Republic perceive the economic situation as bad, while 16 percent perceive it as good, and 16 percent of people consider it very bad. The study took place from May 16 to July 24.

The assessment of the standard of living of one's own household is more positive, with 15 percent describing it as very good and 44 percent as rather good. The survey also found that education level, political orientation, gender, and age influence people's assessment of the economic situation.

history New plaque unveiled in Prague honors RAF pilot

World War II military pilot and Royal Air Force general Josef Duda has a new memorial plaque in Prague 2. The plaque was unveiled on Friday in a ceremony attended by representatives of Prague 2, the British Embassy, the army, and the pilot's family. Duda took part in the battles of Britain and France as an RAF pilot.

The plaque is located on the Churchill building by the Central Station, which has also been named after him for two years. The unveiling of the plaque was scheduled for Sept. 15 to commemorate the Battle of Britain.

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