Overview of Czech news: Thursday, March 10, 2022

16:02 1,000 refugee work permits issued

Czech labor offices have issued some 1,000 work permits to Ukrainian refugees and employers are offering nearly 17,000 vacancies to new arrivals, the spokeswoman for the general directorate of the labor office told reporters today. A bill under which refugees could enter the labor market without work permits will be debated in the Czech parliament on Friday.

15:19 Ukrainian radio station starts broadcasting in Czechia

Ukrainskie Radio (Ukrainian Radio) began broadcasting to hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians in the Czech Republic. The channel will provide the Ukrainian community with the latest updates on developments in Ukraine amid its war with Russia. The station is a foreign branch of Ukrainian Public Radio, broadcasting entirely in Ukrainian and staffed by Ukrainians. It can be listened to free of charge throughout the Czech Republic on the national DVB-T2 television and radio network and via Czech Radio’s DAB+ digital radio broadcast on channels 12C and 12D.

14:51 The 2022 state budget adopted by Parliament

The Czech coalition government has passed its draft budget for 2022 with a deficit of CZK 280 billion. The budget includes a significant reduction in the deficit compared to the proposal of the previous ANO government with a deficit of CZK 377 billion. Last week, Prime Minister Petr Fiala said the budget may need to be revised following the Russian invasion of Ukraine and associated economic impacts. Finance Minister Zbyněk Stanjura said today it was still too early to make an informed decision on the budget review.

14:25 Czech NGOs raise at least CZK 1.7 billion for Ukraine

Czech humanitarian NGOs supporting Ukrainian refugees have so far raised more than 1.7 billion crowns through contributions from individuals, companies, associations, municipalities and regions. Tens of millions of crowns flow daily into accounts set up to help refugees and the Ukrainian war effort. Besides, the Ukrainian Embassy in Prague collected 568 million CZK to support the Ukrainian army with new equipment. The combined sum of over CZK 2 billion raised for Ukraine is the highest fundraising result ever for a humanitarian campaign in Czechia.

Health Covid pandemic makes Czech children more depressed and anxious

Director of the National Institute of Mental Health Petr Winkler told reporters that cases of depression and anxiety have become more common among Czech children and teenagers at school as a result of the Covid pandemic. He described more cases of self-harm, although the number of suicides did not increase. Winkler said online learning meant children lacked contact with peers, teachers and other people, leading to an unhealthy level of isolation.

12:54 The Senate joins the international Flag for Tibet campaign

The Czech Senate has joined the international Flag for Tibet campaign marking the violent suppression of the Tibetan national uprising by the Chinese communist regime 63 years ago. Senate leaders drew a parallel between Tibet’s oppression and Russia’s continued invasion of Ukraine. “In both cases, it was an unprovoked and barbaric act in which innocent people died,” said Senate President Miloš Vystrčil.

12:16 No issues encountered with Castle’s handling of Vrbětice documents

The National Security Bureau found no shortcomings in the handling of a secret report on the involvement of Russian intelligence agents in the explosion of the Vrbětice ammunition depot in 2014. An investigation into the handling of the report by the presidential office followed a recommendation from the lower house. security committee due to allegations that the report was illegally shredded. The allegation first circulated on Czech Radio and the Respekt.cz server; while the shredding of the document was ultimately confirmed, investigators found that the castle had not violated the law.

Ukrainian War Airstrike on Russian hospital a war crime, says Fiala

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala has called a Russian airstrike on a children’s hospital in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol a war crime. Fiala accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of killing innocent women and children. Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský echoed Putin’s description of Fiala as a war criminal in talks with his US counterpart Antony Blinken.

Reports suggest Russian airstrikes targeted children’s hospital and maternity hospital in Mariupol; so far, local authorities have confirmed at least 17 injuries. Fiala said the act “must lead to deeper international isolation for Russia.” Lipavský described “incredible atrocities committed by Russian soldiers against Ukrainian civilians, including women and children”.

Refugees Government approves aid of CZK 5,000 for each refugee

The Czech government will distribute 5,000 CZK to each refugee from Ukraine to help cover their basic needs, and those in particular need may receive this amount repeatedly. The proposal was approved by the government today, according to Labor Minister Marian Jurečka, and will now be submitted to parliament for debate.

“The stipend is for people seeking shelter here, and it should help them pay for basic necessities. At least in the first months, we have to help those who need it the most,” Jurečka said. All refugees should be automatically entitled to the boost, while those who have no money or goods will be able to receive it on several occasions by applying at an employment office. Once refugees have found work, they will no longer be eligible for the benefit.

Economy Inflation is expected to reach double digits

The Czech Statistical Office will release inflation data for February today. Economists predict a year-on-year inflation increase of between 10.3 and 10.6 percent, from 9.9 percent in January. Prices rose in almost every area of ​​the economy, with particularly large increases in the costs of fuel, food and housing, including energy.

Inflation is expected to continue to rise for months; some economists predict inflation of over 11% this year. The last time Czech inflation hit double digits was in 1998. It is also warned that other factors leading to higher inflation, including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, will not be not taken into account in the figures published today.

EU Czechia supports residence permit program for refugees

The Czech government will support calls for Ukrainian refugees to automatically receive EU residence permits, the cabinet decided yesterday. EU interior ministers previously decided to grant temporary extraordinary protection to refugees, allowing them almost immediate access to work, education and social care.

The proposal is expected to be quickly adopted by the Czech parliament tomorrow. Interior Minister Vít Rakušan said existing Czech legislation for the protection of foreigners is insufficient to deal with the current crisis, while the proposed change “is applicable throughout the territory of the EU. “. The EU’s ability to grant emergency residence permits has never been used after its creation in 2001 in response to an influx of migrants from the former Yugoslavia.

Time Sunny and frosty weather forecast for the rest of the week

The rest of the week will be mostly sunny, although the mornings will remain frosty, according to the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute. Wide variations in temperatures can be expected, with daily minimum and maximum temperatures differing by up to 15 degrees Celsius. Such variation is usual for this time of year.

Warmer weather will begin to arrive on Saturday, although overnight temperatures will remain below zero. Next week will see warmer temperatures of up to 15 degrees Celsius and a gradual reduction in overnight frost as spring begins to arrive.

Berta D. Wells