Today's headlines (Friday, Aug. 5, 2022): Meteorologists issue smog warning for Czechia

Plus: Thirteen migrants from Syria detained in Moravia, new graffiti appears on Charles Bridge, and more.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 04.08.2022 16:46:00 (updated on 06.08.2022) Reading time: 6 minutes

August 5, 2022

weather Meteorologists issue smog warning for Czechia

The Czech Hydrometeorological Institute issued a warning against a smog situation caused by high concentrations of ground-level ozone in Prague, Central Bohemia, the Ústí Region, and the Liberec Region. A combination of high temperatures that lasted for several days with the intensity of sunlight has triggered chemical reactions between primary air pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and oxygen, causing a chemical reaction that forms ozone.

celebration Today marks International Beer Day

First introduced in 2008, International Beer Day is celebrated every year on the first Friday in August — a great day to enjoy a pint. Residents of the Czech Republic sure know how to honor this occasion, and a recent survey by Euromonitor International proves it. According to the findings, Czechia marks the highest consumption of beer per capita in Eastern Europe at 143.9 liters. It is followed by Romania and Croatia at significantly lower indicators — 95.9 and 91.6 liters, respectively.

FINANCE Assets of Sberbank's creditors not subject to sanctions

According to the Financial Analytical Office (FAÚ), the assets of the Czech bank Sberbank CZ are not subject to anti-Russian sanctions. The spokesman of the Ministry of Finance, Tomáš Weiss, said earlier that the inclusion of the company on the EU sanctions lists effectively also means the freezing of the assets of controlled entities. According to FAÚ, however, the assets of Sberbank are not subject to freezing, because the Czech company is not controlled by the Russian Sberbank. 

police violence Police knelt on an autistic boy at a Babiš rally

The police officers knelt on the neck of an autistic schoolboy during an intervention in Borovany in the České Budějovice district of South Bohemia during the meeting of Babiš with voters. The General Inspectorate of the Security Forces (GIBS) are investigating the behavior of police officers, Czech Police President Martin Vondrášek announced.

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Prime Minister Petr Fiala also called on Interior Minister Vít Rakušan and GIBS director Radim Dragoun to investigate the behavior of police officers at Babiš's political rallies in South Bohemia.

From a report published on Thursday on news server Respekt, it appears that plainclothes police officers knocked down a schoolboy who took one of Babiš's loudspeakers. The officers took him to the police station. According to the server, they refused to take his mother with them, even though she told them that the boy was autistic.

elections Dozens of people whistled at Babiš during his campaign trip

Dozens of people protested on Thursday in Tábor at a meeting of MP and former Prime Minister Andrej Babiš for the municipal elections. After about 10 minutes, the police formed a semi-circle around Babiš's motorhome and separated the supporters and opponents, which Babiš urged the police to do right from the start. An anti-conflict team was also on the scene. 

Protesters whistled, blew horns, and rang bells at Babiš during his other campaign meetings. Babiš described the protesters as aggressors and desperate coalition voters. According to the media, Babiš faced loud protests from his opponents on Wednesday in Český Krumlov and also in nearby Frymburk, similar to the one in Třebon on Tuesday.

migration 13 migrants from Syria detained in Moravia

The police detained another 13 migrants in the South Moravia region on Wednesday. They were mostly Syrians who came to the Czech Republic illegally, a police spokesman told ČTK. In the neighboring Zlín region, the police detained further 50 migrants from the Middle East on Wednesday and Thursday.

The number of illegal migrants in the region has been increasing. In May, the police detained 84 in South Moravia, followed by 165 detained in June and another 383 in July. On Tuesday, three young Syrians were detained at the border crossing on the D2 motorway along with their suspected smuggler, a foreigner.

prague Police investigate new graffiti on Charles Bridge

New graffiti has appeared on Charles Bridge on one of the pillars of the bridge near Kampa. The graffiti consists of four illegible balloon letters with black outlines and a silver-white fill plus a smiley face and the number 22. It is not yet known who sprayed the monument and when. The graffiti was discovered on Thursday morning. Czech Police are now investigating the case. The perpetrator faces up to three years in prison.

August 4, 2022

Vrbětice Czech detectives cooperate with British police over Vrbětice case

In February, Czech detectives investigating the explosion of an ammunition warehouse in Vrbětice formed an investigative team with British police officers working on the case of the poisoning of former Russian agent Sergei Skripal. The National Center against Organized Crime (NCOZ) announced this today, describing the reason for the formation of the joint team as an exchange of information about suspects.

Czech criminal investigators suspect that members of the Russian secret service GRU were involved in the 2014 explosion of the ammunition site in Vrbětice. According to the photos and names from the passports of the men the Czech police are looking for, they are the same men who are suspected of poisoning former Russian secret agent Skripal and his daughter Yuliya in Salisbury, England, in 2018.

FINANCE ČNB's new leadership did not raise interest rates

The Banking Council of the Czech National Bank (ČNB) left the basic interest rate at seven percent. The banking board made the decision after a personnel change and for the first time under the leadership of the new governor Aleš Michl, who is an opponent of raising rates. It was the first rate hold after seven consecutive above-standard rate hikes of more than 0.25 percentage point. The Banking Council also decided that the ČNB will continue to prevent excessive fluctuations in the exchange rate of the crown.

survey Every fifth Czech has experienced domestic violence

More than a fifth of Czechs have personally experienced domestic violence — physical, sexual, psychological, or economic. This follows from a current survey by the Pod Svíčnem initiative and the Ipsos agency. Survey findings suggest that almost every third female respondent and every ninth male respondent have experienced with domestic violence. 

"Two-thirds of the victims encountered violence in a partner relationship, and more than 17 percent of the victims testified that they experienced abuse in childhood or adolescence," summed up a co-author of the initiative MP Barbora Urbanová.

economy Annual inflation predicted to be 16.5 percent

The Czech National Bank (ČNB) has increased its estimate of inflation, which it says will rise to an average of 16.5 percent this year. In May, it estimated growth at 13.1 percent. At the same time, the bank improved the estimate of the economic development for this year, while for next year, on the contrary, the prediction worsened. Gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to grow by 2.3 percent this year and 1.1 percent next year. In the previous May forecast, the bank expected growth of 0.8 percent this year and 3.6 percent next year. Last year, the economy grew by 3.3 percent.

weather Strong thunderstorms with torrential rain expected in Czechia

Severe thunderstorms accompanied by torrential rain, strong wind of around 70 km/h, and hail are expected on Friday afternoon and Saturday night, warns the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute (ČHMÚ). They will form from the west and will weaken during the night as they move towards Moravia. Temperatures will remain tropical throughout the Czech Republic on Friday, with temperatures exceeding 34 degrees Celcius in most of Bohemia and southern Moravia.

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