Today's headlines: Daily news refresh for Czechia

The country's top news in brief for the week of Oct. 24-28, 2022. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 24.10.2022 09:21:00 (updated on 03.11.2022) Reading time: 18 minutes

Oct. 28, 2022

HISTORY Politicians commemorate Independence Day

At the Vitkov Memorial in the center of Prague this afternoon, Czechia’s most senior leaders Prime Minister Petr Fiala and President Miloš Zeman commemorated Czechoslovak Independence Day. 

It was the first full version of the traditional ceremony in two years because of Covid-19-related restrictions. The Vítkov Memorial was established in 1929-1938 in honor of Czechoslovak military members that contributed to the establishment of an independent Czechoslovakia in 1918.

Amid blue skies, four fighter aircraft and three helicopters flew over Prague after the laying of wreaths. As reported by ČTK, Prime Minister Fiala described the day of independence in 1918 as "the moment when the dreams of many generations of Czech people and the ambitions of Czech society came true."

An awards ceremony at Prague Castle is also taking place this afternoon to give awards to notable members of Czech society. Prime Minister Fiala will be in attendance, despite having previously mentioned unhappiness with Zeman’s exclusion of some guests. 

WEATHER Weather records broken around Czechia yesterday

Yesterday was an atypically warm day for late October in Czechia. In 12 of about 160 weather stations across the country, new records were set for the warmest Oct. 27 since measurements began, as reported by ČTK.

The warmest measurement was in Prague-Karlov, which came in at 22.1 degrees Celsius. 

The average high temperature in October around the country is about 13 degrees Celsius, according to Data from Meteostat also shows that the mean temperature in Prague during this month sits at about 11 degrees Celsius.

Records were also set earlier this year in what has been a strangely warm month for the whole country. The warmest Oct. 16 since records began was recorded in 19 of Czechia’s weather stations, with temperatures having hovered around 24 degrees Celsius.

A warm weekend is expected in Czechia, with temperatures forecast to reach up to 22 degrees Celsius in the capital on Sunday and up to about 20 degrees Celsius in Brno.

SOCIETY Anti-government protest to take place in Prague

A mass protest by the “Czech Republic First” group against the government of Prime Minister Petr Fiala is to take place this afternoon in the center of Prague.

The organization, which believes that the current leadership does not sufficiently prioritize the country in international affairs, also held large-scale protests in September that thousands of people attended.

The group believes that “the government of Petr Fiala has been taking long-term and systematic steps that seriously threaten the existence of the Czech Republic,” as stated on its website. The organization also implores the “Chamber of Deputies to vote its own dissolution without delay, paving the way for early elections.”

Czech Republic First calls for the establishment of gas contracts directly with Russia, and the Czech withdrawal from NATO, the EU, and the United Nations.

LGBTQ+ Czech member of parliament comes out as gay

Following a large protest for more LGBTQ+ rights in Wenceslas Square earlier this week, Jiří Navrátil, who sits in the Chamber of Deputies, has officially come out as gay in an interview with Seznam Zprávy.

In a Twitter post yesterday, the politician said that the first thing that occurred to him after the hate-motivated murders of two Slovak LGBTQ+ men on Oct. 12 was coming out. 

"I am gay. Although Slovakia is far from us, they don't even have a registered partnership there, but even our society is becoming very radicalized in certain cases and it is right to act openly," Navrátil said to Seznam Zprávy.

He has been campaigning for the legalization of partnerships for same-sex couples. Navrátil is part of the KDU-ČSL, a right-wing party that has previously issued doubts about legalizing same-sex marriage.

Very few Czech politicians have openly spoken about their sexuality in the past. Matěj Stropnický, the former leader of the Green party, announced he was gay in 2017.

Oct. 27, 2022

LAW Former President Václav Klaus’s mask fine canceled

A fine issued to former Czechia President Václav Klaus for failure to wear a mask when delivering a speech in October 2020 in Prague has been canceled, states. 

Almost exactly two years ago, Klaus gave a speech in front of Prague’s Municipal House criticizing the government’s lockdown measurements. He was accused of breaking lockdown restrictions and subsequently issued a fine of CZK 10,000, later reduced to CZK 8,000.

However, the decision to issue the fine was based on a law that had already been classed as illegal and annulled at the time, according to the Prague Municipal Court. There are thus no grounds on which to fine Klaus.

The former president stated today that “the bullying of political attitudes will continue in our country under various pretexts. We must not stop defending against it," as written in

ENERGY Lipavský discusses energy imports from Qatar

On a visit to Qatar to mark the opening of the Czech embassy in the country, Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský expressed interest in cooperation with obtaining energy from Qatar in the long term. However, he ascertained that it would be sourced from private firms in Czechia, rather than the state, ČTK reports.

Some criticize Czechia’s plans to switch its energy provider from Russia, a country accused of autocracy and authoritarianism to another in the same category. Lipavský, however, emphasized pragmatism, stating: "if we want to secure supplies of energy and also other materials, metals to Europe, we must buy them from those who are willing to sell them to us.”

IMMIGRATION Daily allowance for refugees’ accommodation increased by CZK 100

The government has approved today a rise in the allowance for refugees’ stays in temporary housing facilities. The rate of this welfare benefit will therefore increase from CZK 200 per day to CZK 300, as written in ČTK. It will be sent directly to the regional facility housing the refugees.

Recent surging inflation and an increase in energy prices has prompted the move. Electricity increased by almost 38 percent annually in September, according to the Czech Statistical Office.

Czechia issued 450,000 temporary protection visas to Ukrainian refugees since the beginning of the war in February; about 35 percent of all arrivals are under the age of 18. 

SOCIETY Thousands of people gather in Prague for LGBTQ+ protest

A three-hour rally was held in Wenceslas Square yesterday evening to campaign for better LGBTQ+ rights and protection in the country. The protest comes after the tragic murder of two LGBTQ+ men in Bratislava on Oct. 12. Police say that turnout yesterday was in the “low thousands,” according to ČTK.

Over 20 pro-LGBTQ+ organizations helped organize the rally, which is part of the "Together Against Hate" (“Společně proti nenávisti”) movement. They also created a petition calling for the government to adopt legislation that better protects the LGBTQ+ community; over 18,000 people have signed it.

"We must together stop the spread of prejudices that feed hatred. The terrorist's motivation was fed by the public statements of public figures, including politicians," said Czeslav Walek, a representative from the Jsme fér initiative.

According to a 2021 study by Rainbow Europe, a pro-LGBTQ+ research firm, Czechia ranks 32nd out of 49 European countries in safeguarding LGBTQ+ human rights.

IMMIGRATION Government to discuss extending controls on Slovakian border

A government meeting is being held today to consider extending border controls with Slovakia to stem the flow of illegal immigrants crossing into Czechia, ČTK reports.

Border checks had been introduced at the end of September, and then were extended twice, until Oct. 28. The government will meet today to decide on whether to extend checks until Nov. 12.

Without the authorization of the EU, Czechia can introduce controls for a maximum of two months. Any extension beyond Nov. 28 would require the European Commission’s approval.

"We have to take this preventive measure to discourage migrants from using this route," Prime Minister Petr Fiala had said when referring to the situation.

ACCIDENT Train hits three men in Moravia, one dead

On Wednesday night three foreigners were hit by a train in Brumov-Bylnice, Zlín. One died and the two others were taken to hospital in a critical condition, according to Czech police. No train passengers were harmed as reported by ČTK.

The location of the incident took place next to the border with Slovakia, and it is assumed the men were immigrants.

“The men were lying in the immediate vicinity of the railroad tracks. Despite the immediate reaction, the train driver was unable to prevent the collision," police spokeswoman Monika Kozumplíková stated earlier today, in

Oct. 26, 2022

BREAKING Plane on fire, one dead close to Prague

A plane and hall at Osičiny airport in Doubravčice, about 30 kilometers from Prague, were reported to be on fire today at about 3.30 p.m., according to A third-degree level of alarm was raised in the area. This is the second-highest level possible. 

There has been one confirmed fatality and an unknown total number of injuries.

"Unfortunately, the firefighters took one human torso out of the hall, the coroner is heading to the scene," said Monika Nováková, a spokeswoman for Central Bohemian authorities.

The cause of the fire is unknown. Some of the 18 fire trucks that arrived at the airport are still controlling the incident.

Barbora Schneeweissová, spokeswoman for the Central Bohemian Police, told that "we have some information from witnesses, but at the moment we don't know if there was a crash or if the plane caught fire in the hangar."

ECONOMY Average doctors' salaries rise by 13 percent, gender pay gap exists

Doctors’ salaries in Czechia increased by 13 percent year on year (in nominal terms) in 2021, according to data released by the Czech Statistical Office as cited by ČTK. This compares with a 5 percent rise in the average national wage.

When including all additional payments, bonuses, and overtime, doctors earned an average of almost CZK 84,000 gross per month (the current average salary in Czechia is around the CZK 40,000 region). On a year-on-year basis, doctors’ wages increased by almost CZK 10,000 gross in 2021.

Gender disparity also exists in terms of salary amounts, with male doctors earning an average CZK 20,000 more than their female counterparts per month, according to the newest data.

The average monthly salary of paramedics in 2021 was close to CZK 70,000, and for junior nurses it was just CZK 37,000.  

SOCIETY Kladno court sentences men who committed anti-Ukraine hate speech

Earlier today a court in Kladno sentenced two men, Tomáš Čermák and Patrik Tušl, for “defamation” of Ukraine and “incitement to hatred”, ČTK reports.

The men live-streamed videos in August in which they verbally disparaged Ukrainians. In one of the videos, Cermák said "Ukrainians are starting to multiply here…we must start acting immediately, otherwise we will go to hell." Tušl also encouraged a counterdemonstration against Ukrainian refugees.

The public prosecutor has charged them “with inciting hatred against a group of persons” and encouraging violence.

Čermák admitted to making a mistake, also asserting that he did not believe in the statements that he was making on video, instead claiming that he said them to increase viewership and satisfy his audience. Tušl noted that between CZK 10,000 and CZK 20,000 in donations were received during the making of the videos.

Čermák was sentenced to six months in prison, Tušl to ten. Čermák’s shorter sentence is explained by higher levels of self-reflection, according to the public prosecutor. The judgment is not yet final.

IT Czech companies affected by global data breach

Some organizations and government ministries in Czechia were victims of a worldwide data attack yesterday, ČTK reports. 

Anti-virus companies SOCRader and Xevos informed the public yesterday of a coordinated hacking attack in which data from 65,000 firms globally was compromised.

The data includes – among other things – passwords, e-mails, and intellectual-property documents.

The Ministry of Finance said that some data had been leaked in the attack, but it was non-sensitive and outdated data.

Czech company T-Mobile (which suffered an unexpected outage yesterday) and public health insurer VZP confirmed that there has been no leak of clients’ data. Česká spořitelna, Czechia's largest bank by client numbers, also confirmed that all data had been kept secure during the attack. Read more about the attack here.

POLITICS Key ministers to be absent from president's Friday ceremony

Several high-status ministers will not be in attendance at President Milos Zeman's award-giving ceremony at Prague Castle to mark Czechoslovak Independence Day, either because they were not invited, have other commitments, or chose not to go, writes ČTK.

Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský, with whom Zeman has had long-standing issues (and vice versa), did not receive an invitation. 

Other senior state officials, such as Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies Markéta Adamová and Senate President Miloš Vystrčil, were also omitted from the guest list.

Although Health Minister Vlastimil Válek received an invite, he snubbed the invitation in protest: "we are again witnessing how the president is selecting in an undignified manner whom of the elected officials he will invite and whom not to the Castle where he is a temporary tenant. I do not intend to participate in this," Valek said.

Chamber of Deputies to approve CZK 295 billion deficit for state budget

Czechia’s lower house of parliament will today start the process of approving the draft state budget for 2023, reports. A higher-than-expected budget deficit of CZK 295 billion is planned.

According to the government's proposal, revenues should total CZK 1.93 trillion crowns and expenses to CZK 2.22 trillion.

"The deficit is higher than I myself would have wished and imagined," Prime Minister Petr Fialsaid at the end of September when his government had been planning the budget.

A notable change in the budget will be to one of the mobility allowances, or welfare benefits, for people with disabilities. This will see a notable increase – from CZK 550 monthly to CZK 900.

Oct. 25, 2022

SOCIETY Almost 8 in 10 Roma at risk of poverty in Czechia

A sizable 77 percent of Roma people in the Czech Republic were at risk of falling into poverty in 2021, an increase from 58 percent in 2016, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) said in its latest report on Roma people living in Europe, cited by ČTK.

The study found that 20 percent of Roma in Czechia live in severe poverty. According to the RFA, almost half (48 percent) of the Roma community in Czechia complained about discrimination in the country.

According to the FRA report, over 50 percent of Roma live in apartments without adequate sanitary facilities and 22 percent do not have running water.

The EU has set out to better facilitate the Roma community’s integration into society, but the report highlights that progress so far is insufficient. 

There are an estimated 12 million Roma living in Europe currently, according to the European Commission.

NATURE Partial solar eclipse to be visible in Czechia around 11:15 a.m.

A partial solar eclipse will be visible from different parts of the country at just after 11 a.m. today. It will last for approximately one hour.

The Moon will begin to cover the Sun today at around 11:15 a.m. At the peak of the eclipse, almost one-third of the Sun will be blocked by the Moon, the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute reports.

The times of when the solar eclipse will be visible around Czechia.
The times of when the solar eclipse will be visible around Czechia. Seznam Zprávy

A partial solar eclipse – when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth – also occurred in 2021, but was not as big as 17% of the sun’s diameter was covered by the Moon. 


“The last time we could see dimness and a drop in temperature was during a partial eclipse in 2015, when the eclipse was up to 75%. Whether we will see something similar on Tuesday is not certain. I don't dare to estimate it exactly," Pavel Suchan from the Astronomical Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic said.

COVID-19 Health minister: flu cases will rise this winter, be cautious

Minister of Health Vlastimil Válk is this morning giving a conference on influenza this winter and Czechia’s campaign of vaccination against Covid-19, ČTK reports.

There will be an increase in hospitalizations due to rising cases of winter influenza, according to Válk. In his campaign of promoting the Covid-19 vaccine, named “Let’s get vaccinated for life without fear”, he said: "all the data is in favor of vaccination, yet vaccination is met with contempt. We can joke and spread misinformation that it has chips, that it will turn us into a yeti, but the truth is elsewhere. Vaccination saves hundreds of millions of human lives and it has been repeatedly confirmed.”

The number of people currently hospitalized as a result of Covid-19 stands at over 1,000. This figure was at close to 100 in mid-June, according to data from the Ministry of Health.

ENVRIONMENT Czech environmentalists show anger over Turów mine deal

Environmental organizations Greenpeace, Bund Sachsen and Sousedský spolek Uhelná have filed a complaint with the European Commission regarding a Czech-Polish agreement on the Turów mine, which supplies a neighboring power plant with coal. 

After previous disagreements between Poland and Czechia about the operations of the mine, an agreement was signed in early February that saw Poland pay CZK 1.1 billion in compensation to Czechia for damages caused by the mining. However, it allowed Poland to continue running the Turów mine, which environmentalists say is damaging to the surrounding nature.

The PGE Group, which owns the mine and the power plant, plans to mine there until 2044. Plans exist to expand the mine by 30 square kilometers. Residents on the Czech side of the border have raised concern about elevated noise levels and increased dust, as well as the loss of groundwater, ČTK reports.

Oct. 24, 2022

POLICE Foreigner shot by police force in Prague

A foreign male was shot in the Střížkov district in the northeast of Prague by police this morning. The incident occurred as part of a response to an emergency by Czechia’s Rapid Response Unit (URNA), a spokesperson of Czechia’s police force, David Schon, told ČTK today. The man was a suspect to Czech police.

The injured man is currently in a “serious condition”, according to Jana Poštová, a spokesperson of Prague’s rescue service. 

Poštová said that paramedics treated a 25-year-old man with a gunshot wound. They then induced him into a coma, secured his air passage, and transferred him to the Vinohrady hospital in a serious condition, as written in ČTK.

No details of what the man has been suspected of have been divulged by state police.

URNA is a special unit that combats terrorists and kidnappers, as well as dangerous perpetrators of organized crime.

POLITICS Zeman snubs senior politicians for ceremony at Prague Castle

President Milos Zeman has controversially omitted a number of senior figures for the presentation of state awards at Prague Castle, due to take place on Oct. 28 (Czechoslovak Independence Day). 

Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies Markéta Adamová, President of the Senate Miloš Vystrčil, and the President of the Constitutional Court Pavel Rychetský all did not receive invitations. 

"I did not receive an invitation to Prague Castle, which I greatly appreciate from Mr. Zeman," wrote Adamová on Twitter. She has had a long-standing issue with Zeman’s pro-Russia standpoints during her tenure in government.

Prime Minister Petr Fiala has received calls to snub the event in response, writes Deník N. He plans to go, however, saying on his Facebook page that “it is not a private celebration of Milos Zeman, but a traditional event commemorating the anniversary” of the country.

COVID-19 Almost 600,000 have received fourth Covid-19 dose

Nearly 600,000 people in Czechia have received the fourth dose of the vaccine against Covid-19, Health Minister Vlastimil Válek said today during his visit to the Brno University Hospital where he presented a campaign promoting the latest vaccination drive.

Although encouraging Covid-19 vaccination, he asserted that it remains a free choice. "We won't sanction those who don't want to get vaccinated," noted Válek, while also criticizing the decision of Austria to have made vaccinations mandatory.

More than 18.3 million vaccine doses have been applied to people in Czechia since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the website of the Ministry of Health.

Although cases are currently declining week on week, the minister warned that the number of hospitalized patients with the virus in Czechia is expected to rise, owing to a simultaneous rise in seasonal influenza infections.

NETWORKS UPDATE: T-Mobile outage may have been caused by hackers

This morning, mobile operator T-Mobile reported a huge outage of calls and internet data across the entire country. People had not been able to calls, text or surf the Internet.

Despite continued confusion as to the cause, speculation exists that the outage was caused by hackers. "One possible cause is a hacker DDoS [a form of cyber malice] attack," ČT24 tweeted earlier today.

After over two hours of disruption, T-Mobile informed the public that services were back in operation in most areas of the country. The firm is the largest mobile operator on the market and its fifth-generation network covers 21 percent of the national population.

Four months ago, the company faced a large-scale service outage following a hacker attack. This rendered them unable to make calls or to properly use the Internet, too. 

MIGRATION Ministers from 50 countries meet in Prague for migration meeting

A two-day conference on migration featuring 50 countries (including EU states, the Western Balkans, Central Asia and Turkey, among others) will take place this afternoon as part of the “Prague Process,” ČTK reports. Russia and Belarus will not partake, owing to the war in Ukraine.

The main topics of the meeting include the prevention of – and fight against – illegal migration, regular labor migration, and civilian integration. 

According to Minister of the Interior Vít Rakušan, it is imperative for the discussion to be viewed through a wider lens that includes non-EU countries, as these are the “corridor nations” through which immigrants pass on their way to the EU (such as the Western Balkans). One of the aims of the meeting is harmonization with such countries to reduce the inflow of illegal immigrants.

MUSIC Renowned Czech conductor Libor Pešek dies aged 89

Czech conductor Libor Pešek, who was the music director and chief conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (RLPO) in England from 1987 to 1998, died on Sunday, the Czech National Symphony Orchestra (CNSO) confirmed last night. He was 89 years old.

In 2013, the Supraphon recording company presented him with a diamond record for selling 635,000 records.

Pesek received the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 1996, during British Queen Elizabeth II's visit to Czechia. One year later, he was given a First Grade Medal of Merit from then-Czech president, Vaclav Havel.

He shortly led the Slovak Philharmonic in the 1980s. During the same decade, he was a regular guest conductor of the Czech Philharmonic and then he became the chief guest conductor of the Prague Symphony Orchestra. Before he ended his active work, he occupied the post of chief conductor of the CNSO.

WEATHER Czechia to post unusually warm temperatures this week

According to meteorologists from the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute (ČHMÚ), the currently unusually warm weather in end-October, when children in the country have their autumn vacation from school, will last the whole week. 

Afternoon temperatures will reach up to 20 degrees Celsius and the mornings will also be relatively warm, with the average lowest night temperatures rarely dipping below 8 degrees Celsius. Fog will form in some areas around Czechia in the morning, ČTK reports.

Maximum temperatures through to Thursday will be in the higher teens. Friday will post the highest temperatures, reaching highs of up to 20 degrees Celsius, with similar temperature levels on the weekend. Temperatures in Moravia will be, on average, 2 to 3 degrees Celsius cooler.

The country is experiencing an unusually warm October – just last weekend, records were broken around the country as the warmest Oct. 16 since official measuring began was recorded at 19 out of the 160 weather stations in Czechia.

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