14:20 Czech skater Sáblíková wins bronze in Beijing
Speed skater Martina Sáblíková won a bronze medal at the Beijing Winter Olympics today, finishing third in the five-kilometre race. The medal was Sáblíková’s seventh Olympic medal and the Czech Republic’s second at the Beijing Games so far. Sáblíková won gold at the 2010 and 2014 Olympics, while at the 2018 Games she won a silver medal. The five-kilometre race was the only individual event in which Sáblíková competed for the 2022 Games.
14:00 14-year-old boy killed by train in Prague
A train hit and killed a fourteen-year-old boy in Prague this morning. The incident happened about two kilometers from Holešovice station. Rail operations halted for about two hours in the morning. The boy’s death was the second time this week that a youngster in Prague has died after being hit by a train; On Monday, a fifteen-year-old girl died after being hit by a train at Smíchov station.
13:00 Bavarian leader wants closer ties with Czechia
Bavarian Minister-President Markus Söder wants improved relations with the Czech Republic and wants to meet the new Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala soon, he said in a letter to Fiala. Söder also called for regular intergovernmental consultations and suggested projects to strengthen bilateral cooperation in transportation, modern technologies and education. On the other hand, Söder expressed his dissatisfaction with Czech plans to dispose of nuclear waste near the Czech-German border.
12:35 Plans underway for an “O” metro line in Prague
The Prague Sobě Group, which is part of the city’s ruling administration, propose the creation of a new “O” metro line around the city. The group wants to study the creation of a “rotating” metro line to eliminate the need to travel through the city center for trips to the outskirts. Proponents of the project argue that the new line would reduce congestion on current subway lines. MP Adam Scheinherr said he will submit a feasibility study for the project to city council this year. The new line would depart from Podbaba station via Dejvice, Smíchov, Dvorce, Budějovická, Vršovice, Žižkov, Vysočany, Čakovice and then return to Podbaba. The completed line would measure approximately 36 kilometers with 23 stops.
12:12 EU expects Czech economy to grow faster
The European Commission has predicted greater growth for the Czech economy this year, unlike most other EU states. The Commission expects Czech GDP to grow by 4.4% in 2022, following growth of 3.3% in 2021. Next year, the EC forecasts growth of 3.9%, remaining above the average estimated at through the block. The main driver of GDP growth this year is believed to be rising household consumption, supported by the Czech Republic‘s high level of employment.
12:14 Blesk tops Czech newspaper charts for second half of 2021
Tabloid Blesk was the most read newspaper in the Czech Republic in the second half of 2022, with an average of 685,000 readers per issue. Blesk nonetheless saw a decline of around 6,000 readers per issue. The second most popular newspaper was Mladá fronta Dnes, with 440,000 readers. Third place goes to the daily Sport, with 196,000 readers. Readership fell for all titles compared to the previous reporting period, according to a report released today by the Publishers Union. The largest newspaper group was MAFRA, with a 25% market share, closely followed by the Czech News Center.
Music Musical instrument sellers explore drone delivery
The musical instrument seller Kytary.cz yesterday tested the possibility of delivering orders by drone. At its premises in Modřany, Prague, the company attempted to send a package containing ukulele picks, also testing a customer’s acceptance of such a shipment. The company said drone delivery could be a more cost-effective delivery method for short distances. Czech legislation still makes it difficult for the widespread commercial use of drone delivery, which means it is not commonly used.
Politics Interior Ministry launches investigation into Prague Castle
The Interior Ministry will launch a ten-day inspection on Monday to check the administration of documents and records at the office of the President of the Czech Republic in Prague Castle. The inspection was recommended last week by the House Security Committee.
The Security Committee is concerned about the handling of sensitive documents, due to the alleged shredding of a secret report on the involvement of Russian secret service agents in the explosions at the Vrbětice arms depot in 2014. The verification will examine how classified information has been protected at the Château since the beginning of last year.
Human rights Roma leader demands dismissal of Czech mediator
The president of the Roma affairs NGO Romodrom, Nikola Taragoš, is demanding the dismissal of mediator Stanislav Křeček following comments he made that people from socially excluded localities, often Roma, are responsible for their own situation. Křeček also claimed that people in such situations do little or nothing to improve their situation, simply devaluing and damaging one house after another.
Křeček’s comments were a response to the findings of the Agency for Social Integration on the poor living conditions of socially excluded groups. The Office for Public Defense of Rights responded to Taragoš’s request for the removal of the ombudsman by saying that he cannot be fired and that his mandate lasts six years.
Pandemic Two anti-Covid protesters charged with terrorism
Police from the National Center Against Organized Crime (NCOZ) have accused two Czech men of supporting terrorism. The men have incited violence against politicians in videos posted on social media opposing government measures against Covid-19. If found guilty, the men can be sentenced to between five and fifteen years in prison.
The cases are separate; the first is being examined by the general public prosecutor’s office in Prague, and the second comes under the jurisdiction of the public prosecutor’s office in Olomouc. The accused have not been arrested. The Penal Code describes support for terrorism as public incitement to a criminal terrorist act, with heavier penalties for support expressed in the press or in a film, television, radio or online network.
Communism Court acquits former StB members
A Czech court has acquitted former communist StB secret service members Milan Kopinec, Vladimír Novotný and Karel Vykypěl for abuse of power. The charges related to the case of the Hybler family, which was forced to emigrate under the communist regime. According to the indictment, Martin Hybler was repeatedly summoned for questioning by StB officers where he was humiliated and threatened with imprisonment or an “accident” if he remained in Czechoslovakia.
The court decided that it could not be proven that the men had caused harm to the family. The trio denied all charges. There was no concrete evidence that Kopinec, Novotný and Vykypěl were the StB agents who harassed the Hybler family, and the court said the “collective guilt of all StB members” was not sufficient reason to punish men individually. The charges relate to the StB’s Operation Asanace in the late 1970s, which attempted to force political dissidents out of the country.
Business KB reports strong earnings in 2021
Komerční banka, the Czech Republic’s third-largest bank by asset value, reported net profits of CZK 12.7 billion for 2021, a 56% increase from 2020. The board of directors of the bank therefore proposes dividends of 43.80 CZK per share, for a total amount of 8.3 billion Czech crowns.
The bank, majority-owned by France’s Societe Generale, today announced its financial results for the past year. It recorded strong customer growth, with customer loans increasing by 6.9% to CZK 738.9 billion. In this figure, the volume of housing loans increased by 9.5%. Other banks, including Moneta Money Bank and Raiffeisenbank, also saw significant increases in profits in 2021.