Czech news round-up: Thursday, January 6, 2022

16:10 Ski conditions improve after cooling down

Skiing conditions in the Czech mountains are improving after a significant cooling in recent days. Earlier this week, ski operators reported problems caused by a lack of snow, as well as heavy rain. Snow has now returned to the mountains, allowing most ski resorts to resume operations, although many cross-country ski trails remain out of use. About ten centimeters of snow fell on the slopes of the Krkonoše mountains on Wednesday and ski slopes across the country reopened.

14:50 Government wants Czechia to join the world’s most advanced countries

New Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala said that the Czech Republic should be among the most advanced countries in the world and that it should be an effective competitor on the international stage. He made the comments in reference to the government policy statement that was unanimously adopted today and will be released on Friday. Fiala said the policy statement included tight deadlines deliberately set as a “boost” to spur the new administration to act.

14:00 Legislative emergency declared to speed up urgent bills

The Speaker of the Lower House of the Czech Parliament Marketa Pekarová Adamová declared a state of legislative emergency at the request of the cabinet. This decision will allow MPs to quickly debate government bills on housing allowances and the freezing of salaries for politicians and judges. The government wants to quickly help those hard hit by the current energy crisis by opening up housing allowance to a larger number of potential applicants.

12:20 Czech Foreign Ministry calls for end to violence in Kazakhstan

The Czech Foreign Ministry called on all parties involved in the unrest in Kazakhstan to end the violence in the country and to act with respect for the law and human rights. The ministry indicates that around 30 Czech nationals are currently in Kazakhstan. The Czech Embassy in Nur-Sultan does not know if they are in danger. Unrest erupted in the Kazakh city of Zhanaozen on Sunday, a day after the government lifted the price cap on liquefied petroleum gas. The protests quickly spread to other cities, including the larger metropolis of Almaty.

11:00 Salvation Army opens general surgery for homeless people in Prague

The Salvation Army has opened a general practitioner practice serving the homeless, the poor and the underprivileged in Prague. The GP’s office will provide medical treatment even to people without identity documents or health insurance, according to the Salvation Army. The surgery will be located at the Prague 7 District Social Service Center. Doctors will be on site on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, while nurses will be available at the clinic every day of the week. The surgery will have contracts with health insurers but will also take care of uninsured people.

10:50 Czech ambassadors to EU states will meet next week

The Czech Foreign Ministry will organize a meeting of Czech ambassadors in EU countries on Monday and Tuesday next week. The main topic of the meeting will be the preparations for the Czech EU Presidency in the second half of this year. The meeting will include a speech by the new Minister of Foreign Affairs Jan Lipavský, while the new Minister of European Affairs Mikuláš Bek will also speak. This will be the first meeting of Czech ambassadors since last August. The Czech EU Presidency is seen as a chance to demonstrate the country’s credentials to moderate the debate and find a compromise between EU partners.

criminality Man arrested for bomb threat at Prague Castle

Prague Castle closed early Tuesday afternoon due to an anonymous bomb threat, it has been learned. Police arrested a 37-year-old man from Jablonec on suspicion of making the threat. The man can be sent to prison for up to three years for making the threat. Police have requested that the man be kept in custody as he planned to make more threats, a spokesperson said.

In the threat by phone call, the man claimed to be the “king of the world”, promising to detonate a bomb on the premises of Prague Castle. The castle is a major tourist attraction, as well as the official residence of the Czech President.

Energy crisis Mortgage lenders can apply for an emergency energy benefit

People who are paying off a mortgage can apply for extraordinary immediate new help to cover their energy bills. Employment agencies will now take mortgage payments into account when assessing the income and expenses of emergency aid seekers, the labor ministry said.

Extraordinary energy assistance is a benefit of material needs, to which only people in great distress can claim. The official offices assess not only the income and assets of the applicant, but also that of all other family members, to determine if they really have no other recourse for help. The changes to the rules for opening aid to mortgage owners come into force immediately.

Economy Investor Index reveals Czech fund returns in 2021

the Czech Investor Index published by Swiss Life Select and Thomson Reuters revealed the average returns of Czech investment funds in 2021. The average Czech mutual fund investor enjoyed a return of more than seven percent. Equity funds performed better, while bond funds lost more than 2% on average.

The index measures the returns of 750 investment funds in the Czech market. The authors say last year’s ranking was dominated by energy-focused funds, particularly oil and gas, offering returns of over 30 percent. The worst performance came from funds focusing on Asian equities, especially Chinese, as well as those from Latin America, with losses of more than 20 percent.

Row of racism Slavia Prague rekindles row against Ranger racism in documentary

The bitter row between Slavia Prague and Scotland’s Glasgow Rangers football team has been rekindled in a documentary produced by the Czech team. In the documentary, Slavia players describe Rangers as having used aggressive tactics during the game where Slavia defender Ondřej Kúdela was accused of abusing Rangers player Glen Kamara.

Slavia goalkeeper Ondřej Kolář described a horror tackle from Rangers player Kemar Roofe, claiming medics told him he was inches away from dying on the pitch following a challenge that caused him a fractured skull. The documentary does not address the allegations against Kúdela, however, as he is still waiting to see whether he will face criminal charges in Scotland for aggravated racial conduct.

Transport Lítačka mistake causes customers to buy a subscription twice

An error in the electronic system of public transport in Prague for the Lítačka the subscription resulted in passengers buying tickets twice. The response to the request took too long, which means that the public bought the subscription again in error. The problem arose on Monday and Tuesday.

Passengers who suffered from the technical incident will be reimbursed for the second ticket purchased, according to a spokesperson. The system is now repaired and is functioning normally.

Berta D. Wells