Weekend headlines: New Czech-American defense agreement drafted

Plus: Finland knocks Czechia out of contention at Sweden Hockey Games, dozens protest closure of Plzeň airport, and more headlines.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 11.02.2023 09:59:00 (updated on 12.02.2023) Reading time: 4 minutes

Military New Czech-American defense agreement drafted

A new defense agreement between the Czech Republic and United States designed to facilitate the possible stay of U.S. soldiers in the Czech Republic has been drafted by negotiators on both sides, Jan Jireš from the Czech Ministry of Defense tells Czech News Agency. The agreement will now be translated into Czech and sent to parliament for approval.

Jireš emphasized that the contract is only supposed to set the conditions for possible cooperation with U.S. armed forces in the territory of the Czech Republic, and will not directly lead to the establishment of a U.S. military base in the country. "It only addresses the fact that if the two sides agree on the presence of American soldiers on the territory of the Czech Republic at some point in the future, then the agreement will describe exactly what that means and what their legal status will be."

Sports Finland knocks Czechia out of contention at Sweden Hockey Games

The Czech national hockey team fell to Finland 6-1 Saturday afternoon at the Sweden Hockey Games, part of the Euro Hockey Tour. The Czech team will finish the tournament with a game against Switzerland today, but have been eliminated from competition and won't be able to defend their title from last year.

"We have to take it with humility and honestly admit what was wrong. We certainly don't feel good about the match and such a defeat," Czech coach Kari Jalonen told reporters after the loss to Finland, the reigning Olympic ice hockey champions. "However, we have one more game ahead of us against Switzerland, in which we will have a chance to show character."

Economy Dozens protest against closure of Czech airport

Around 50 people participated in a demonstration at Prague's Václav Havel airport on Saturday to protest the planned closure of the Líně airport outside of Plzeň, which could reportedly make way for a new Volkswagen factory. According to Czech Aviation Association head, Václav Vašek, another protest is scheduled to take place in April.

Volkswagen is currently deciding on locations for a new gigafactory to produce car batteries, with the Czech airport a possibility. According to Štefan Koprda, who operates a flight school at the airport, officials are planning to close the airport even if Volkswagen builds the factory elsewhere.

Weather Strong winds halt cable car on tallest Czech peak

For the second straight day, strong winds have halted operation of the cable car to the top of Sněžka, the Czech Republic's tallest mountain. Hurricane-force winds were recorded on Saturday morning, with less-strong but still severe winds on Sunday. The cable car up the lower portion of the mountain remains in operation.

This morning, winds with speeds exceeding 90 milometers per hour were recorded atop Sněžka; operation of the cable car is halted should winds exceed 60 kilometers per hour. Despite Sněžka's low altitude compared to other European peaks, the climate is arctic and alpine, and other much harsher than the rest of the Krkonoše Mountains.

Saturday, February 11, 2023

Foreign Prague-based journalist makes Russia's most wanted list

Russian journalist and anti-war activist Alexandra Garmazhapova, who currently lives in Prague according to her social media profiles, has been placed on Russia's list of most wanted agents. Garmazhapova helped create an organization that helps Russian soldiers leave the military and return to their homeland. She would face immediate imprisonment if she returned to Russia.

While Russia's Interior Ministry did not specify the exact charges that would be brought against Garmazhapova, the journalist suspects that she would be charged under the the law regarding spreading false information about the war in Ukraine, which was passed shortly after the invasion and carries a potential 15-year prison sentence.

Law Czech Republic aims to change its legal definition of rape

The Czech Republic plans to change its legal definition of rape to align with international standards, according to a document on human rights in the country shared by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHCR) on Friday. The stance comes as Czech officials respond to a review by the UNHCR last month.

The Czech Republic has been criticized in the past for its failure to ratify the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. Czech officials said that they would like to reopen public debate on the Istanbul Convention in the Czech Republic, and change the country's definition of rape to align with contemporary standards based consent and mutual respect.

Health Czech hospitals to lose millions in expired Covid medication

Czech hospitals will lose tens of millions of crowns spent on unused Covid drugs, spokespeople from hospitals around the country told Právo this weekend. While the Czech Health Ministry has allocated CZK 336 million to reimburse the hospitals, requests total CZK 426 million and the ministry does not plan to increase its subsidy.

Because the various strains of Covid mutated so quickly, hospitals were not able to make use of the drugs, which ultimately expired. "Paradoxically, the procurement of monoclonal antibodies was the biggest hit to the hospital's economy during the entire pandemic," a spokesperson for Znojmo Hospital, which requested CZK 21 million in reimbursements, told Právo.

MONEY Czech exporters could lose CZK 200 billion due to strong crown

If the Czech crown continues to hold its value against the euro and the dollar, local exporters would lose CZK 210 billion in 2023 compared to last year, Otto Daněk of the Czech Association of Exporters told Czech News Agency. Compared to 2021, there would be a loss of CZK 470 billion; last year, Czech exports topped CZK 4.47 trillion.

On Thursday, the Czech crown hit CZK 23.69/EUR, it's strongest value in the last 14.5 years. It currently stand at CZK 23.71/EUR and CZK 22.20/USD. The crown has been steadily strengthening against the euro and the dollar since the end of last year.

Would you like us to write about your business? Find out more