international Pavel receives chairman of Ukrainian parliament
President Petr Pavel received the Chairman of the Supreme Council of Ukraine Ruslan Stefanchuk today at Prague Castle. Stefanchuk took part in the Crimean Platform summit, which was held earlier this week in Prague; its aim is to restore the territorial integrity of Ukraine and end the Russian occupation of Crimea.
During the meeting, they discussed tightening sanctions against Russia. Stefanchuk also met with Czech parliamentary representatives to discuss various matters, including the confiscation of frozen Russian assets. The heads of the Czech Senate and Ukrainian Parliament signed a memorandum on cooperation and support for Ukraine, with the Senate donating a van and a generator.
law Mikulov must return tomb to Dietrichstein family, court rules
A court in Breclav ruled that the South Moravian town of Mikulov must return the Dietrichstein family’s tomb to Mercedes Dietrichstein, the heir of the noble family. The tomb was lost by the Dietrichsteins after World War II and has been owned by Mikulov since the 1990s. The court’s decision is subject to appeal.
The restitution dispute has been ongoing for years, with Dietrichstein originally demanding the return of the tomb, as well as several other properties. The court concluded that the confiscation of the tomb violated fundamental human rights.
society Two million Czechs live just above poverty line
Around two million people in the Czech Republic live just above the poverty line, with approximately one million living below it, according to a report by the European Network Against Poverty and Social Exclusion (EAPN ČR).
The report, which draws on publicly available sources and surveys, highlights the need for improved debt-relief options, affordable housing, and adjustments to the benefits and wages system. The EAPN ČR report defines poverty in several ways, such as the inability to pay CZK 10,000 for a one-time expenditure, or to have three salaries saved.
survey Czechs spending up to CZK 10,000 on Christmas presents
A survey by transport company GLS reveals that 10 percent of Czechs plan to spend more than CZK 10,000 on Christmas presents this year. The majority, 52 percent, expect to spend up to CZK 5,000. Additionally, the survey found that 53 percent of respondents plan to buy most or all gifts online, with the younger generation being the most active online shoppers.
GLS director for the Czech Republic Pavel Včela commented that buying gifts online is more convenient and faster, leading to high shipping service demand. Jan Vetyška, director of the Association for Electronic Commerce, expects e-shop sales to increase by Christmas.
rally Ecological activists protest against Křetínský’s media business
Ecological activists from the organization Limity jsme my // We are the limits! protested this morning outside the Czech News Center headquarters in Prague against billionaire Daniel Křetínský’s media business, accusing him of promoting his own interests. Activists have set up an iron structure and chanted slogans in the presence of the police.
Křetínský’s spokesperson denies any influence on media content. The protesters blocked the passage of the yard and distributed satirical newspapers. The group also protested the involvement of Křetínský’s Energy and Industry Holding in fossil fuels and called for free media without oligarchs and coal barons.
law Court overturns the acquittal of teacher questioning Ukraine war
The Court of Appeal overturned the acquittal of teacher Martina Bednářová, who questioned Russian war crimes in Ukraine while teaching. The case will be further examined to determine if Bednářová denied the genocide. The elementary school where she taught dismissed her after the incident.
According to President of the Prague Municipal Court Hana Chaloupková, teachers have a higher level of responsibility for public statements. In her class, Bednářová tried to justify war crimes committed by Russia and claimed that Ukrainian Nazi groups were killing Russians. She denies guilt, stating that her statements were made during a media literacy class.
Diplomacy Czech PM to meet counterpart Netanyahu in Israel
Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala is set to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Isaac Herzog during a visit to Israel. The trip aims to express support for Israel and coordinate European Council efforts. Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer is also joining the visit to show solidarity with the Israeli people.
Israel has been engaged in a conflict with Hamas, with Western nations including France, Germany, and the U.S. expressing support for Israel’s actions, while others like Belgium, Ireland, and Spain have called for a humanitarian ceasefire. Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský had previously visited Israel, and Czech citizens were repatriated from the region.
Prague Old Town Square temporarily closed due to suspicious luggage
Police officers in Prague closed Old Town Square to the public yesterday afternoon around 4 p.m. after suspicious luggage was discovered near the Jan Hus statue at the center of the square. A pyrotechnics unit arrived on the scene shortly thereafter according to information posted by the police on X.
Pyrotechnicians on the scene ruled out an explosive device in baggage. In the course of the investigation, the intervening police officers also found two containers with an unknown liquid located by the Plague Column and called on chemists to head to the site. Police later tweeted that the square had been reopened.
Business Globa tech giant IBM acquires Czech startup
Czech startup Manta, specializing in data lineage, has been acquired by global tech giant IBM, reports Czech Crunch. While the financial terms of the deal have not been officially disclosed, considering Manta’s previous funding of over CZK 1.2 billion and an estimated valuation of CZK 8 billion, it’s expected to be a substantial transaction.
Manta’s innovative technology helps companies understand their data flow, providing visualization and management solutions, which has gained significance in recent years. The purchase is in line with a trend of billion-dollar exits involving Czech startups, further reflecting the country’s growing influence in the global tech landscape. Manta has offices in several locations, serving clients like T-Mobile, BMO, JB Hunt, and SCP Health.
Crime Hackers publish stolen data from Czech University of Defence
Hacker group Monti has published a portion of stolen data from the University of Defence in Brno, reports iRozhlas. The compromised information is related to the Faculty of Military Leadership and includes the personal data of teaching officers, meeting minutes, and study plans. The university had previously declined to pay a ransom demanded by the hackers. Monti is now threatening to release 750 GB of internal data, with other faculties expected to be targeted.
The breach is considered serious, as it could potentially provide hostile intelligence services with insights into the training of future military commanders. University officials are not commenting on the ongoing investigation.
nature Tree of the year awarded in Czechia
The “Tree of the Year 2023” title in the Czech Republic has been awarded to a pear tree situated in a vast field near Mrákotín, close to Skutč in the Iron Mountains. In an ecological poll organized by the Partnership Foundation, a linden near Nepomyšle in the Loun region secured second place, while a linden in the school garden in Sulíkov, Blanen region, claimed the bronze rank.
The winning pear tree, which received 6,433 votes out of 28,250, is known for its resilience and uniqueness. The survey, aimed at promoting tree care, will see the winning tree professionally treated and represent the country in the European Tree of the Year competition. Last year’s winner was also a pear tree, a three-hundred-year-old specimen from Drásov in the Příbram region.