22:15 Gunman tries to attack Czech prime minister
Outgoing Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said today that an armed man tried to attack him on Wednesday, but the assailant, who had a gun and a knife, was arrested at the entrance to the office of the government. Babiš reported the attack through his Facebook profile. Police are aware of the incident and are investigating it, the Prague police chief said. Babiš said he was facing threats due to the anti-Covid measures. This is not the first time that PM has been threatened; At the end of February, he told CNN Prima News that he had received death threats.
21:49 Senate Speaker Vystrčil will not run for President
Czech Senate President Miloš Vystrčil has ruled out a candidacy for the Czech presidency and will not seek re-election as Vice-President of the Civic Democratic Party, he told Czech media today. Vystrčil has stated that he wants to concentrate fully on his work in the upper chamber and have more time for his family. Vystrčil said he would not seek re-election to the party’s board as he wanted to focus on the Senate, the work of its chairman and that of the senator from the Jihlava region.
9:00 p.m. Czech men convicted of assaulting transgender woman
A Paris court sentenced three Czechs for assaulting Thai political refugee Aun Neko, a dissident and transgender woman, in a Parisian cafe in November 2019, Le Monde writes today about a verdict delivered a week ago . French police arrested two Czechs immediately after the attack. They were sentenced to 26 months in prison, but they have already served most of it. The court sentenced the third man to 30 months in absentia and issued an arrest warrant for him.
Police said Petr Donatek, the founder of a martial arts school, organized the trip for the two convicted men Jakub Hosek, 26, and Daniel Vokal, 28. Hosek confessed to having received 50,000 CZK. He said Donatek was to film the attack as evidence, Le Monde said. Neko said the attack was ordered directly by Bangkok for its criticism of the king and the military.
16:10 Fuel prices drop in the Czech Republic
A long-term increase in fuel prices in the Czech Republic has finally ended in lower prices this week compared to last week. A liter of gasoline is currently sold for an average of 37.03 CZK, 0.17 CZK less than a week ago. Diesel became cheaper by CZK 0.26, falling to CZK 35.79 per liter. Economists predict that prices will continue to fall as excess oil emerges in the market. In November, gasoline hit its highest price since 2012, while diesel was at its most expensive since 2014.
3:30 p.m. Germany sets up containment for the unvaccinated
The Czech Republic’s neighbor with West Germany followed the example previously set by Austria and Slovakia by deciding to introduce strict containment for the unvaccinated. People not vaccinated against Covid will no longer be allowed to enter recreational facilities such as cinemas and theaters, and they will also be barred from non-essential services other than supermarkets and pharmacies. The move was announced today by outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel after talks with regional leaders. Leaders also tentatively agreed to a proposal to make vaccination compulsory from February, although MPs will have the final say on this by the end of the year.
14:25 Zeman discusses education with new minister
Czech President Miloš Zeman spoke with the candidate of the new coalition for the post of Minister of Education Petr Gazdík of the STAN Group. Gazdík and Zeman discussed the Covid situation in schools and the coalition’s vision for the future of education in the Czech Republic over the next four years. Gazdík said he and Zeman were in agreement on most matters, with the president interested in possible changes to high school leaving exams and curricula that would be encouraged by the state. The themes of funding and inclusion in Czech schools were not, however, addressed; Gazdík noted that he was not impressed by current attempts to promote inclusion in Czech schools.
12:10 Czech globetrotter Miroslav Zikmund has died aged 102
Legendary Czech globetrotter Miroslav Zikmund, known for his trips around the world in tandem with Jiří Hanzelka, died on Wednesday evening at the age of 102, a representative for Zikmund’s family confirmed today to CTK. The Museum of Southeast Moravia in Zlín also reported on his death. “On December 1, 2021, the legendary Czech traveler, writer, photographer and filmmaker Miroslav Zikmund embarked on his last trip,” the museum wrote. Zikmund lived in Zlín and spent the last years of his life with his life partner Marie Macalíková.
11:05 Albright: It’s not easy to defend democracy
Citizens’ trust in state administration demands that politicians obey the law, former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said in her opening speech at the online conference Where Are You Marching, Czechia / Europe 2021 organized today by the Aspen Institute Central Europe. Hailing from Prague, Albright, a former US ambassador to the UN, said good leaders need to know how the social contract works. Albright mentioned that democracy in Central Europe and elsewhere in the world faces pressures. She said Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had been in power for too long to avoid being responsible for the state of their country.
Gay kiss cut from ‘Popelka’ remake for Czech audiences
A Norwegian remake of the fairy tale “Three Wishes for Cinderella”, in Czech “Tři oříšky pro Popelku”, is due in Czech theaters on 23 December. But controversy has already erupted over the cutting of a scene in which two men kiss from the version of the film which will be screened in the Czech Republic.
The Czech distributor denies being responsible for the edit, saying the switch was made in Norway on the basis of “fear that viewers outside Norway will not accept such a moment.” They have since claimed that they will try to bring the unedited original to Czech cinemas. The original version of “Popelka”, released in 1973 in a joint Czechoslovak and East German production, is a Christmas classic in Norway. The new remake has so far garnered mixed reviews from the public and the press nationwide.
Living expatriate Survey names Prague the seventh best expat city in the world
The annual Expats Insider survey published by Internations named Prague the seventh best city in the world for expat life. In addition, the Czech capital was the second highest ranked European city, behind Malaga in Spain for the quality of life of expats.
Prague impressed across a number of factors spanning working life, standard of living, finances and housing, and cost of living, although it scored lower for housing affordability and friendliness of local residents. The quality of life in the city was however highly appreciated, thanks to solid career opportunities, a good work-life balance and good infrastructure. The highest ranked city in the report was Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. Surprisingly, some of the world’s most famous cities were in the bottom 10, including New York, Moscow, Paris, Tokyo, Milan, and Rome.
TEAR Communist-era dissident Petr Uhl has died aged 80
Czech journalist, Communist-era dissident and human rights activist Petr Uhl has died aged 80. Uhl was one of the leading figures in the resistance movement after the then Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1968.
Uhl was first arrested in 1969 as a member of the Revolutionary Youth Movement opposed to the hardline Communist regime. He was later among the organizers of the Charter 77 manifesto inspired by Václav Havel and other prominent dissidents. Uhl meanwhile co-founded the Committee for the Defense of Unjustly Persecuted People, which published information on the cruelty perpetrated by the Communist regime. Uhl was sentenced to five years in prison along with other prominent dissidents in 1979, and was also jailed during the Velvet Revolution in 1989. After the fall of communism, he took over as head of the News Agency Czech Republic, while focusing on promoting the rights of disadvantaged groups across the country.
Entrepreneurs Czech government submits request for VAT exemption to EU
The tax burden of many entrepreneurs is about to lighten considerably thanks to a proposal submitted by the Minister of Finance Alena Schillerová to the European Commission, calling for the turnover limit for the VAT exemption in the Republic Czech Republic drops from CZK 1 million to CZK 2 million. Although the process was started by the outgoing minister, the new Czech government led by Petr Fiala is known to strongly support this initiative.
The Ministry of Finance is confident that the EU will approve the request, as the limit of CZK 1 million has remained the same since the Czech Republic joined the EU in 2004, without changing based on inflation and price trends over the past seventeen years. Experts warn that despite broad political support, the change could still take some time, as a special exception to the current limits must be obtained from Brussels. It is believed that once approved, the change will affect around 105,000 business entities in the Czech Republic.
Business Pandemic causes severe staff shortages at Škoda
Škoda Auto, the Czech Republic’s largest automaker, is suffering from a staff shortage due to the worsening Covid pandemic, a board member told reporters on Tuesday. The company currently lacks around 800 workers every day and is only operating at 75 or 80 percent of its capacity. About 70% of the company’s staff are vaccinated against Covid.
Staff shortages compound the supply chain problems that have made 2021 a difficult year for Škoda. Particularly problematic has been the lack of semiconductor chips vital for the completion of new vehicles; earlier this fall, the automaker put in storage thousands of near-finished cars.