Fire in Alzheimer's center claims two lives, blackout hits Prague

The fire injured 55 people including two in a serious condition. Plus: April unemployment in Czechia falls, and more.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 01.06.2022 16:39:00 (updated on 04.06.2022) Reading time: 6 minutes

June 2, 2022

Energy Power restored after massive outage

The almost hour-long power outage that hit parts of Prague this morning was caused by a technical defect on a substation. It affected thousands of households, public transport, some hospitals, schools, ministries, and offices. Hospitals have their reserve energy generators and none of them had to restrict operations. The blackout occurred at 08:48 am and lasted until 09:40 am, when the staff of energy company PRE staff corrected the defect at the substation in Chodov.

Due to the outage, tram operation collapsed in the city on the right bank of the Vltava and the metro's C line did not operate for nine minutes. It also caused minor outages of Internet networks in a part of Prague, but most operators cope with it thanks to their reserve generators. Some websites temporarily went offline.

Foreign affairs Czechia supports Sweden's NATO entry

The Czech Republic fully supports Sweden and Finland's bid for NATO membership, Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský told his Swedish counterpart Ann Linde during his visit to Stockholm today. His debate with Linde and with Swedish Minister for European Affairs Hans Dahlgren also touched on Turkey's negative position on the plan. They also discussed the reconstruction of Ukraine and the interest of some Balkan and Eastern European countries in joining the EU. The topics on the agenda also included the plans for the upcoming six-month Czech presidency of the Council of the EU, which will start on July 1. As of 2023, the rotating presidency will be taken up by Sweden.

Tragedy Fire in Alzheimer center outside of Prague claims two lives

A devastating fire in the Alzheimer center in Roztoky on Wednesday evening claimed two lives and injured 55 including two in serious condition, the regional rescue service said. The fire broke out on Wednesday evening but was not under control until 4 am Thursday morning. The cause of the fire is not known yet. Firefighters evacuated the seniors from the burning building on ladders. The entire building was consumed by flames and nobody could get out through the inside. The staff left the building before the rescuers arrived. Preliminary estimates suggest the fire caused CZK 70 million in damage. The Roztoky Alzheimer center has a capacity of 60 beds.

Energy Massive power outage hits Prague this morning

Prague has been hit by a massive power outage this morning from the failure of a substation in Chodov. The center of Prague and parts of Prague 4, 5, and 10 are affected. The reason for the outage is unknown. Trams have stopped in the city center and on the entire right bank of the Vltava. Prague firefighters tweeted that they are rescuing people trapped in elevators. Energy company PRE said it is trying to get electricity to the affected areas from other substations, such as Malešice, but does not yet know how many households and companies are without power. Up to a quarter of PRE’s 800,000 customers could be affected.

Jobs April unemployment in Czechia fell to 2.5 percent

The percentage of the unemployed in the labor force reached 2.4 percent in April 2022. It decreased by 1.0 percentage point year on year. The male unemployment rate reached 1.9 percent while for women it reached 3.0 percent, according to the Czech Statistical Office (ČSÚ). Of all people aged 15–64 years, some 75.6 were employed in April 2022. This was an increase of 2.5 percentage points compared to April 2021. The male employment rate was 82.3 percent and for women it was 68.5 percent. The employment rate of persons aged 15–29 years was 45.3 percent, in the age group of 30–49 years it was 87.6 percent, and in the age group of 50–64 years it was 80.0 percent.

Science Government approves budget for science in 2023

A total of CZK 39.32 billion will be set aside for science and research in 2023, some CZK 250 million more than now, according to the draft budget the government approved. The government Council for Research, Development, and Innovations agreed with the draft budget in April, Prime Minister Petr Fiala said. The proposal respected the turbulent situation and increased demands on the budget in connection with the Russian aggression in Ukraine, according to Science, Research and Innovations Minister Helena Langšádlová.

Politics Czech intelligence to have new boss

Former military intelligence analyst Petr Mlejnek will become the new head of the Office for Foreign Relations and Information (ÚZSI) on July 8, replacing Marek Šimandl who will leave at his own request one day before, the Czech Interior Ministry said in a press release. Šimandl was appointed to the head of the ÚZSI by former interior minister Jan Hamáček in September 2018. When he served in the Defense Ministry, Mlejnek was in charge of finances for military units, including those taking part in the NATO SFOR operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the KFOR in Kosovo.

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June 1, 2022

Prague Complaint lodged about Prague Astronomical Clock reconstruction

The Heritage Inspectorate of the Ministry of Culture will investigate a complaint about the appearance of part of the Old Town Clock after reconstruction. It has requested documents from the Prague City Hall, which owns the astronomical clock, and the National Heritage Institute. The complaint, filed last week by Milan Patka, a member of the For Old Prague Club, was brought to the attention by Deník N.

After the 2018 reconstruction of the Astronomical Clock, individual characters depicted on the clock had a total makeover as they appeared with different hairstyles, facial expressions, and clothes. According to experts, compared to the original, the changes are so significant that it seems to be done intentionally or even as a joke by the restorer. Meanwhile, the municipality ordered an exact copy of the work.

politics Czechs EU presidency to prioritize sustainability and Ukraine

The main topics of Czechia's six-month presidency of the Council of the EU, which starts as of July 1, will be European cooperation, sustainability, and also Ukraine, said the head of Czech Centers Ondřej Černý. He also said that sustainability, creativeness, and innovation are the main aspects interlinking the ten projects the Czech Centres have prepared on the occasion of the upcoming Czech EU presidency with the aim to boost Czechia's positive representation in the world.

economy State budget deficit rose CZK 189 billion

The state budget deficit rose to CZK 189.3 billion at the end of May from CZK 100.1 billion in April. Last year, at the end of May, the budget showed a deficit of 255 billion crowns. On the expenditure side, the year-on-year improvement in the balance by 65.7 billion was mainly due to smaller restrictions related to the course of the epidemic and the corresponding compensation compared to the beginning of last year. The revenue side was helped by 19 percent higher tax revenues. Influenced by the consequences of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the ministry expects a more pessimistic development for the rest of the year, reports iDnes.cz.

refugees Prague to close refugee assistance center

As of June 15, Prague will close the Regional Assistance Center for Ukrainian Refugees in Vysočany, stated Prague's Mayor Zdeněk Hřib. According to him, due to the lack of accommodation capacities, it does not make sense for other refugees to register in the metropolis. Negotiations between local governments and the Ministry of the Interior did not provide a solution for housing refugees in other regions.

aid MPs approve another merciful summer to help debtors

Debtors facing distraint will probably get another chance to repay their debt without interest or penalty fees, based on the government bill introducing another merciful summer, which the Chamber of Deputies passed in a summary procedure by the votes of 152 out of the 153 MPs present today. To take effect, it still needs to be passed by the Senate.

The three-month merciful summer will start as of September. It will enable people to get rid of the debts exacted from them by public institutions and state-run and state-controlled firms, including self-rule municipal and regional authorities, state funds, schools, municipal or state and semi-state firms, health insurers, Czech Radio and Czech Television.

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