New people smuggling gangs formed in Czechia, police say

Plus: Mayor survives removal attempt in City Hall, Police accuse two of cryptocurrency fraud, highly contagious Omicron subvariants prevailing. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 27.06.2022 17:39:00 (updated on 28.06.2022) Reading time: 5 minutes

June 28, 2022

Crime New international gangs of people smugglers formed

New international gangs focusing on illegal migration were formed in the Czech Republic last year. Czechs often worked as drivers or secured vehicles, the police organized crime squad (NCOZ) said in its annual report for 2021. Other gang members were from Ukraine, Syria, and Vietnam. The Czech Republic is a transit country for refugees from the third world, who are mainly headed to Germany. The most frequently detained illegal migrants in the Czech Republic are nationals of Afghanistan, Syria, and Morocco. The interest in the transport of persons from Vietnam also increased, according to the NCOZ.

Politics Attempt to oust Mayor Hřib unsuccessful

The Prague opposition unsuccessfully proposed the dismissal of Mayor Zdeněk Hřib (Pirates). Representative Patrik Nacher (ANO) justified his proposal by saying that Hřib led the municipality with his deputy Petr Hlubuček (formerly STAN), now accused in a corruption case. Seventeen out of 65 City Assembly members voted for the dismissal. Efforts to remove Deputy Mayor Adam Scheinherr also failed. The Assembly then approved that the city will conduct in-depth audits of IT contracts awarded since 2010 to companies owned by entrepreneurs Pavel Dovhomilja and Maroš Jančovič, also accused in the corruption case.

Covid Highly contagious Omicron subvariants prevailing

The more contagious subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 of the Omicron coronavirus made up 75 percent of the samples with a positive test in Czechia last week, while a week ago, it was just one-half, the National Institute of Public Health (SZÚ) said. The number of coronavirus cases has started increasing again in the Czech Republic. Last week, there were another 3,740 of them, one-half more than in the preceding week. The number of the COVID hospitalized has risen as well. Discriminatory testing has attributed the growth to the L452R mutation, which occurs in the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants. Read more in our Covid update.

Energy ČEZ signs contracts for nuclear fuel for Temelín from Western firms

Energy company ČEZ concluded contracts with the American company Westinghouse and the French company Framatome for the supply of fuel assemblies for the Temelín nuclear power plant. Both suppliers were selected in a tender in April this year. Deliveries of fuel for over 10 years will begin in 2024. The value of the contract is in the order of billions of crowns. ČEZ Group spokesman Ladislav Kříž said. Fuel from TVEL, which belongs to the Russian state holding company Rosatom, is now used. ČEZ said this was an important step toward strengthening the energy security of the Czech Republic.

Election Babiš probably won't announce candidacy until November

Czech senior opposition ANO chairman and former PM Andrej Babiš plans to announce his decision on his possible presidential candidacy “probably on Nov. 4,” he told reporters during his visit to the Karlovy Vary Region today. He denies that he is leading a presidential campaign now. He is touring the regions to meet voters as the chairman of the ANO movement ahead of the autumn Senate and local elections, he said. Senate chairman Miloš Vystrčil announced yesterday that the first round would be held on Jan. 13–14, 2023, and the possible second round on Jan. 27–28.

Crime Police accuse two of cryptocurrency trading fraud

The police have accused two persons of fraud with cryptocurrency causing damage worth hundreds of millions of crowns. The case concerns a group of companies involved in the Platon Life digital payment project, Czech Police organized crime squad (NCOZ) spokesman Jaroslav Ibehej said in a press release. Both suspects are in custody and face up to 10 years in prison if convicted. Platon Life released a statement on June 10 denying any wrongdoing. It called the speculation in media an apparent effort to harm the good name of the company.

NATO Zeman, Fiala see NATO entry of Finland, Sweden as important step

President Miloś Zeman and Prime Minister Petr Fiala consider it important to complete the efforts of Finland and Sweden to enter NATO, they agreed at their evening meeting in the presidential manor in Lány, Fiala told reporters afterward. Fiala is of the view that if Sweden and Finland enter NATO, this will strengthen security in Europe. Zeman and Fiala also debated the result of the talks of the European Council. Zeman expressed full support for the decision of the EU leaders, ensuing from the EU Council meeting, to grant the status of an EU candidate country to Ukraine, Fiala added.

June 27, 2022

ukraine Czechia sending CZK 25 million to displaced people in Ukraine

The Czech Republic will send CZK 25 million through the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to refugees who lost their homes in Ukraine, an Interior Ministry spokesperson said. Due to the war, some 7.7 million people have been forced out of their homes. Another 8 million Ukrainians are in a critical humanitarian situation caused by destroyed infrastructure, due to suspended supplies of water, electricity, and fuel as well as the inaccessibility of health care.

accident Tractor carrying a tank caught fire on Prague road

A tractor pulling a flatbed with a tank caught fire on Monday afternoon on the Prague ring road before the descent to Běchovice. The accident blocked traffic, with police and Prague firefighters intervening on the spot. According to photos posted by the emergency services, it is a Soviet T-54 or T-55 tank. It belongs to a private collector, reported.

economy Perception of economic situation fallen sharply

The assessment of the economic situation by households has deteriorated sharply over the last year, marking the biggest drop in people's perception since the establishment of the independent Czech Republic in 1993. Czechs now perceive the situation similarly to the previous crisis a decade ago, according to a STEM survey conducted for KPMG. Around 83 percent of respondents rate the economic situation in the country as bad, compared to 68 percent a year ago. A total of 85 percent of people view further developments with concern and uncertainty. Half mentioned a deterioration in their financial situation and say they have difficulty earning an income. 

history Czechia commemorates Horáková, other victims of communist regime

The crimes of communism must not be forgotten and a blind eye must not be turned to the impacts of the current Russian aggression in Ukraine, members of the cabinet, parliament, Prague, and church said at a meeting in remembrance of Milada Horáková and other communist regime victims held at the memorial to victims of totalitarianism at Újezd.

Horáková, a lawyer and a democratic politician, was accused by the communists of treason and executed at the age of 49 on June 27, 1950, after a show trial, along with three others: Jan Buchal, Dr. Oldřich Pecl, and Zaviš Kalandra.

weather Tropical temperatures and thunderstorms hit Czechia

Tropical temperatures will continue throughout the Czech Republic. In lower portions of the country they will exceed 31 degrees, in central and northwestern Bohemia they can reach up to 34 degrees. Strong thunderstorms will probably also occur at night on Wednesday and later during the day.

Due to the high temperatures, meteorologists advise avoiding alcohol and drinking unsweetened soft drinks as well as reducing physical activity in the afternoon. Meteorologists also warn against leaving children and animals in direct sunlight, especially in closed cars.

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