Morning headlines: Temperatures to hit 30°C in Czechia this weekend

Plus: Hackers demand payment from Czech road authority in bitcoin and govt. to discuss energy discounts. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 09.06.2022 16:49:00 (updated on 10.06.2022) Reading time: 5 minutes

June 10, 2022

CRIME Hackers demand millions from road directorate for access to data

Hackers are demanding tens of millions of crowns for unblocking the access to the Road and Motorway Directorate's systems and storage, RSD head Radek Mátl told news server Hospodářské noviny Thursday. The RSD was hit by a cyber attack on May 17, but has not yet managed to restore its data. Matl said the restoration would take at least five months.

Declaration of road construction tenders have been suspended and Matl said he is considering paying the hackers, though no negotiations have been held so far. Both the RSD and IT experts have called the attack sophisticated and deep. Ransomware attacked the RSD computer systems, encrypted the data, and demanded ransom for their unblocking. The attackers want payment in bitcoins.

Energy crisis Govt. to hold upcoming talks on energy-saving tariff

The Czech government will discuss the energy-saving tariff for households later this month. The state should provide people with a 15–20 percent discount on energy consumption. The tariff should apply for the entire upcoming heating season or possibly longer, Minister of Industry and Trade Jozef Síkela tweeted Thursday. The Minister previously stated that the discount will apply to both electricity and gas. He estimated the cost of the state budget for this assistance to be between CZK 16–24 billion.

Ukraine New daily train connection from Prague–Kyiv

RegioJet and Ukrainian Railways will introduce a new train connection between Prague- Przemysl-Lviv-Kyiv. The train will run daily from this weekend according to The RegioJet line follows the humanitarian route from Prague-Przemyśl, established at the beginning of March. RegioJet has since transported more than 30,000 Ukrainian citizens west, mostly mothers with children, and says now there is a g great demand for families who want to return to Ukraine. However, the company says it plans to operate the connection indefinitely.

Weather Weekend temperatures in Czechia could hit 30°C

Weekend temps should be warm with clear skies although showers could appear on Friday. Despite partial clouds, temperatures are expected to rise to around 20°C to 25°C with Sunday possibly reaching a high of 30°C. With the weekend weather forecast to be sunny people are expected to head to natural swimming areas to cool off. Public health officials say that reservoirs and natural swimming areas in Prague and Central Bohemia show that water in all places where water quality is measured is suitable for swimming. Areas outside of this region could host cyanobacteria and chlorophyll experts say it's best to take precautions.

June 9, 2022

Politics PM Fiala calls meeting Pope Francis a ‘beautiful experience’

Prime Minister Petr Fiala met with Pope Francis for one hour in the Vatican. The pope expressed strong support for the Ukrainian people and their current fight, Fiala said. On Twitter, Fiala called the meeting a beautiful experience. “I very much appreciate the pope's moral attitude and support for human rights, freedom of religion, and support for the oppressed. I talked to him about the Czech Republic's position on Ukraine and how we must not give in to evil.” Fiala tweeted. Fiala later said there were no discrepancies between them in the view of the situation in Ukraine. Fiala invited Pope Francis to the Czech Republic. Fiala also met Vatican diplomacy head Cardinal Pietro Parolin to discuss bilateral relations.

Crime Czechia sees drop in hate crimes

The Czech Police prosecuted 99 people for suspected hate crimes in 2021 and dealt with a total of 108 such crimes, which is 26 fewer than in the preceding year, according to the annual report on extremism from the Interior Ministry. Out of all registered hate crimes, 37 had an anti-Semitic subtext in 2021, which was 10 more than the previous year. The number of hate crimes targeting Roma people rose from 19 to 33 year on year. Hatred toward the LGBT+ community accounted for 11 crimes. In total, hate crimes made up 0.07 percent of all reported crimes. Sixty-seven people were convicted of a crime with racial subtext last year, which is seven fewer than in 2020.  

Election Senate head to set presidential election date in summer

Czech Senate chairman Miloš Vystrčil will set the date of the presidential elections in the summer, probably in August, he told news server Seznam Zprávy. The second and last possible five-year mandate of incumbent President Miloš Zeman ends in early March 2023. A direct presidential election to pick his successor is expected to take place at the beginning of next year. After the election date is set, the official campaign starts. Spending by each of the presidential candidates must not exceed CZK 40 million before the first election round. Over 20 candidates intend to run in the presidential contest.

Economy PM, education minister criticize strike alert

The declaration of a strike alert by the school workers' union is an unnecessary political gesture, Czech Education Minister Petr Gazdík said today on the Education Ministry website. The cabinet approaches unions as its partner for discussion, and threats are inappropriate, he added. The strike alert was launched in the education and other branches of the public sector today. Prime Minister Petr Fiala yesterday said that the unions' strike alert made no sense. He said the cabinet is prepared to debate a pay increase, which, nevertheless, would not fully compensate for inflation. The cabinet has to behave responsibly in order not to harm all people by triggering an inflation spiral, he pointed out.

Culture Book World starts in Prague with opening of Ukrainian stand

The annual Book World festival started in Prague's Výstaviště today with the opening of Ukraine's stand, which is selling books from 19 Ukrainian publishers. Refugees who have fled to Czechia from the Russian invasion of Ukraine have free entry to the festival. Organizers said one goal of the festival is to highlight that Ukrainian culture is not a branch of Russian culture. Ukrainian Ambassador Yevhen Perebyinis said that Ukraine has mainly to fight against the Russian aggression, but he would be happy if his homeland were widely spoken about and if people knew its story, history, and culture including literature. Book World runs through Sunday, with Italy as the honorary guest this year.  

Investing Entrepreneur sentenced for deceiving thousands of clients

A court sentenced entrepreneur Jiří Kubíček to eight years in prison, a fine of CZK 9 million, and a 10-year ban on working in the management of companies. He was convicted of deceiving almost 8,000 investors. According to the verdict, which can be appealed, he caused CZK 2.25 billion in damage. From 2012 to ’17, Kubíček ran companies offering licenses for a robot program that was supposed to evaluate business opportunities for clients. The court maintains that the robots did not exist and that Kubíček also lacked permission from the Czech National Bank to operate an investment company. Kubíček denies the allegations.

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