Benicio Del Toro and Geoffrey Rush headed to Karlovy Vary International Film Festival

Plus: Storm cuts power and downs trees, STAN to return gift from businessman, over half of new cases are Omicron subvariants.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 20.06.2022 16:40:00 (updated on 21.06.2022) Reading time: 5 minutes

June 21, 2022

Culture Benicio Del Toro, Geoffrey Rush headed to KVIFF

Actors Benicio Del Toro and Geoffrey Rush will visit this year’s Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. Del Toro will receive the KVIFF President’s Award, and his films “Traffic” and “The Usual Suspects” will be shown. Rush – who has already won the acting Triple Crown of an Oscar, Tony, and Emmy – will receive the Crystal Globe for Outstanding Artistic Contribution to World Cinema. The films “The Kings Speech,” “Quills,” and “Shine” will be screened. The festival runs from July 1 to 9 in Karlovy Vary in Western Bohemia.  

Weather Storm leaves thousands without power

After Monday's storms, about 4,800 households were without power this morning, mostly in the Pardubice and Central Bohemia regions. Energy firm ČEZ expects to restore power in the affected areas in the morning. The situation was at its worst at around 6 pm on Monday, when about 70,000 households were without power. Of these, 30,000 were in Central Bohemia, about 27,000 in the Pardubice region, and several hundred in the Hradec Králové Region. Monday's Strong thunderstorms were accompanied in some places by hail, strong winds, and torrential rainfall that caused significant property damage and downed trees.

Politics STAN to return gift from implicated businessman

Mayors and Independents (STAN), a member of the coalition government, will return the gift of CZK 350,000 associated with businessman Pavel Kos, who may be implicated in corruption in the Prague Public Transport Company (DPP). STAN received the gift in 2014, before the scandal. On Saturday, STAN announced it would return all the gifts connected with businessman and lobbyist Michal Redl, one of the trio that was remanded in custody over the corruption allegations. The police say that an organized group of 11 persons led by Redl systematically filled the key posts in DPP so they could influence tenders and collect bribes.

Covid Over half of new cases are Omicron subvariants

Over half of the Covid-19 cases (53 percent) that were revealed in Czechia last week are the Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5, the National Health Institute (SZÚ) said in a press release. In the week before, only 8 percent of the revealed Covid cases were the new Omicron subvariants. It can be expected that the increase in the number of new Covid cases that began three weeks ago will continue, the SZÚ said. It seems that especially BA.5 is behind the spread of the infection. Read more in our Covid update.

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Crime Businessman accused in DPP scandal dies

One of the 13 defendants in the Prague Public Transport Company (DPP) scandal, telecom businessman Petr Adam, has died, news server iDnes reported. He was accused of trying to bribe a member of the transport company's supervisory board, who drew attention to the dubious tender. Adam and another accused businessman allegedly tried to influence the contract for the supply of cameras for over CZK 500 million and the expansion of radio stations for another almost CZK 100 million.

international Czechia to spend nearly CZK 1 billion on foreign aid

The Czech Republic has allocated CZK 942.3 million for foreign development aid in next year’s budget, according to Foreign Ministry documents that the government recently approved. The same sum is expected to go for this aid from the Czech state budget in 2024 and 2025. In 2023, a further CZK 20.5 million will go from the European Union budget for Czech development aid. The aid will mostly go to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Georgia, Moldova, and Zambia. Moreover, a specific program of aid to Ukraine is to continue in 2023.  

Politics Březina has enough signatures to run for president

Entrepreneur Tomáš Březina has gathered 50,000 signatures as a condition for running in the direct presidential election due in early 2023, server Seznam Zprávy reported, citing Brezina's presidential campaign. The number and genuineness of the signatures still must be verified, which is why Březina continues to gather more of them. Březina, 65, announced his candidacy in mid-April. Since then, he has been touring the outlets of his former company, concrete maker Best, to debate with the employees.

June 20, 2022

finance Ministry of Finance proposes to increase ČEZ dividends

The Finance Ministry proposed that the semi-state energy company ČEZ pay shareholders a dividend of CZK 48 per share, ČTK reports. "We will make full use of the state's higher dividend income last year to compensate for high energy prices for citizens and additional financing of social assistance to the needy," Finance Minister Zbyněk Stanjura said.

However, the state and CEZ's minority shareholders should receive the money three months later than originally planned. The Finance Ministry is proposing to extend the deadline for the payment of dividends from Aug. 1 to Nov. 1, 2022. It wants to provide the company with a longer time to ensure sufficient liquidity.

SURVEY Czechs save on food, shoes, and culture

A survey for news station ČT24 revealed that as many as half of Czechs are limiting their food purchases. People are also spending less money on culture and sports. Many retailers expect a similar trend due to high inflation in the coming months. The responses show that 35 percent of respondents limit their purchases of electronics and household equipment, with 9 percent more curbing their purchases of clothing and footwear. 

technology Seznam outage leaves people without access to inboxes

Czech search engine Seznam suffered a login outage for several hours during the day as people were unable to access their email inboxes or other Seznam services. Company spokeswoman Aneta Kapuciánová told ČTK that the company's technicians were still investigating the cause of the outage, but could rule out a cyber attack. The outage occurred in the morning, logging in managed to be restored at around 2 pm.

EU Czech presidency to deal with climate adaptation, light pollution

The Environment Ministry has outlined its main goals in light of the Czech EU presidency. Among them are progress in the talks about the "Fit for 55" climate and energy package, adaptation to climate change, protection of biodiversity, circular economy, and light pollution, said the representatives.

art New mural appears in Plzeň dedicated to struggles of Roma families

A new mural by street artist Chemis has been unveiled on a house in Plzeň. The house itself inspired the artist as it "was used for housing low-income families, known as the Romani ghetto. Often, these buildings are the only possible place that provides people a home, a refuge, and safety. It’s harder to get rid of the stigma when you live in such a place," the artist said on his Twitter account. The mural is a part of the international street art festival WALLZ.

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