Top headlines for Aug. 19: U.S. to give Czechia eight military helicopters for free

Plus: President Zeman discharged from hospital, leaves for Lány, Czech scientists come up with new combination of leukemia drugs, and more.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 18.08.2022 17:30:00 (updated on 19.08.2022) Reading time: 7 minutes

Military Czechia gets eight helicopters from US for free

The Czech Republic will gain six combat and two transport helicopters from the United States for free, Defense Minister Jana Černochová told public broadcaster Czech TV. The Czech defense previously ordered 12 Viper and Venom helicopters from the US Bell company CZK for 14.6 billion. The Defense Ministry recently received a letter, stating that the US would donate six combat and two transport helicopters to the Czech Republic, Černochová said. In total, the Czech military will gain 20 American helicopters 10 combat ones and another 10 for transport purposes. They will replace the Mi-35/24 Russian-made helicopters.

Weather Strong thunderstorm warning in effect

Very strong storms will occur in Bohemia this afternoon with repeated rainfall totals of up to 70 millimeters, hail up to three centimeters in size, and wind gusts of around 70 kilometers per hour. According to meteorologists, property damage, power outages and traffic problems can be expected. Thunderstorms will arrive in Moravia and Silesia only in the evening, and the precipitation totals should be smaller, according to the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute (ČHMÚ).

A warning against very strong thunderstorms with a high degree of danger is valid from 2 p.m. until Saturday 2 a.m. for Prague, Central Bohemia, the Plzeň region, Southern Bohemia, and part of Vysočina. Torrential rain can flood small streams, flood underpasses, or muddy roads. A flood alert is also in effect in Plzeň and part of the South Bohemian region from 3:00 p.m. until noon on Saturday. It means the risk of rising water levels, but the water is not yet overflowing from the banks.

Energy Czechia has enough gas to last until next August

If the flow of gas from Russia to Europe stops, the Czech Republic, with the gas capacities that it has secured, is able to cover the operation of households and companies without any problems for about 11 months, or until August next year, at normal average temperatures. At the same time, the required gas consumption savings of 15 percent are expected, according to the Director of the Department of Economic Policy of the Ministry of Finance David Prušvic and the Minister of Finance Zbyněk Stanjura.

All secured gas capacities would be used. These include filled gas storage tanks directly in the Czech Republic, as well as secured capacity for liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the Netherlands, which should cover up to a third of the annual gas consumption in the Czech Republic. It is also possible to use gas from state material reserves.  

Politics President Zeman discharged from hospital, leaves for Lány

President Miloš Zeman was discharged from Prague's Central Military Hospital (ÚVN), where he stayed from Thursday for a planned check-up of his feeding tube, shortly after 10 a.m. today and he left for his presidential manor in Lány, his spokesman Jiří Ovčáček has told ČTK. All medical tests the president underwent in the hospital gave satisfactory results, Ovčáček said, adding that Zeman has a working program next week. Last autumn, Zeman spent 48 days at ÚVN, staying at the intensive medicine unit. Doubts emerged then whether the president was able to execute his work duties.

Health Czech scientists come up with new combination of leukemia drugs

A team of Czech scientists from the Biocev centre, the First Faculty of Medicine of the Charles University, and General University Hospital in Prague (VFN) have come up with a combination of drugs that could prolong the lives of patients with acute myeloid leukemia, the First Faculty of Medicine wrote in its press release. Patients have been treated with a medicine developed by the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences in the 1970s. Scientists now suggest combining the medicine with another substance, which leads to prolonging the patients' lives by several months.  

Sports Ondřej Palát wins Czech hockey Golden Stick poll

Forward Ondřej Palát from Tampa Bay Lightning has won the Golden Stick award for the best Czech hockey player of the past season for the first time, closely followed by David Pastrňák from Boston Bruins, the poll winner in the past five years, the organizers announced on TV. In the history of the poll, the legendary forward Jaromír Jágr, 50, who still plays professional hockey, has been the most successful player, winning it 12 times, followed by goaltender Dominik Hašek, 57, with five victories, and Pastrňák, 26, with five in a row from 2017.

Aug. 18, 2022

Economy Czechia still has the fourth highest inflation rate in EU

According to the final report of the European statistical office Eurostat, inflation accelerated to 9.8 percent in July from 9.6 percent in June. The growth of consumer prices in the eurozone accelerated to a record 8.9 percent in July from the June figure of 8.6 percent. Estonia (23.2 percent), followed by Latvia (21.3 percent), and Lithuania (20.9 percent) reported the highest inflation within the eurozone in July.

According to Eurostat, the Czech Republic has the fourth highest inflation in the EU at 17.3 percent. Prices grew the slowest in Malta and France, where inflation was 6.8 percent.

Remembrance PM commemorates transport of Czech Roma to Auschwitz

The sad fate of Bohemian and Moravian Roma remains not only a tragedy but also a hidden chapter of Czech history, Czech prime minister Petr Fiala said at the Memorial to the Holocaust of Roma and Sinti in Moravia Thursday. The PM commemorated the 79th anniversary of the mass transport of 749 Roma to the Auschwitz concentration camp, including men, women, and children; the youngest child was a four-month-old girl.

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Fiala said that during the Holocaust, the hatred had transformed into a murdering system, which grew to colossal dimensions. He pointed out that there had been two concentration camps for the Roma in the Czech Lands, in Hodonín, south Moravia, and Lety, South Bohemia.

"If history has anything to teach us, it is important that we do not see tragic events as mere sentences in the textbooks, but we are able to connect them with particular places and fates," the PM said.

Politics Diplomat Agor to head US embassy until new ambassador's arrival

Diplomat Christy Agor will head the U.S. Embassy in Prague until the new ambassador is approved, the embassy said on Twitter today. So far, the diplomatic mission was headed by charge d'affaires Michael Dodman. U.S. President Joe Biden has proposed investor Bijan Sabet as a new ambassador to the Czech Republic.

The nomination must still be approved by the U.S. Senate. Dodman tweeted it was a great honor to him that his last diplomatic task was to head the embassy in Prague. Now the embassy will be headed by experienced diplomat Agor until the new ambassador assumes the post, he added.

Agor, the charge d'affaires at the embassy in Prague, previously served as the Economic Counselor at U.S. Embassy in Madrid and the Deputy Principal Officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul. She also worked at diplomatic missions in Pakistan, Jerusalem, and Botswana. The latest ambassador to Prague was Stephen King. At the end of 2020, he announced that he would give up the post when Biden became the new American president. The post of ambassador to Prague has been vacant since then.

Borders Czechia supports Romanian entry in to the Schengen area

Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky confirmed the Czech Republic's support for Romania's entry into the Schengen area at a meeting with his Romanian counterpart Bogdan Aurescu in Prague today, Lipavsky has said at a press conference. Romania has met all Schengen criteria for including, according to Aurescu.

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala (ODS) said in July that during its current six-month EU presidency, the Czech Republic would do its utmost for a decision to be made on the entry of Croatia into the Schengen Area.

The fact that Romania has admitted a high number of refugees from Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion shows that the country applies standards for Schengen entry, Aurescu said. He added that he hoped progress would be reached on this agenda during the Czech EU presidency.

Romania is among the countries with the highest number of Ukrainian refugees fleeing from their homeland attacked by Russia. Almost one million of them have fled to Romania, which is the highest number after Poland, Russia, and Hungary, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

President Zeman admitted to the hospital again

Czech President Miloš Zeman is staying in Prague's Central Military Hospital (UVN) due to a scheduled observation of his feeding tube, and will be released from the hospital afterward, Prague Castle told ČTK. The removal of the tube, which doctors inserted in Zeman's stomach after his health issues last autumn, could take place at the end of the year at the earliest.

Zeman's spokesman Jiří Ovčáček confirmed the information about Zeman's hospitalization without specifying how long it may be. UVN spokesperson said the hospitalization would be short. Zeman, 77, arrived at UVN Thursday morning.

On October 10, 2021, a day after the general election, Zeman was transferred to UVN's intensive care unit where he spent 48 days. Doctors then said that complications accompanying chronic illness were the reason for his hospitalization.

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