Daily news summary Daily news summary

14-08-2019

Security experts: Czechia lags behind Nato allies in cyber defence

A group of former high-ranking state officials say a recent cyber-attack on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs underscores the need to bolster state security measures, which will require adopting new legislation.

Unlike other Nato allies, the Czech Republic has not done enough to build a cyber defence system, the group said in a statement on Wednesday. They warn that vital cyber-infrastructure, including in financial, energy, transport, healthcare sectors, is insufficiently protected.

Among the signatories to the statement are General Petr Pavel, who served as Chairman of the Nato Military Committee, former deputy defence minister Daniel Koštoval, and diplomat Petr Kolář, a former ambassador to Russia and the United States.

Prague plans overhaul, expansion of Výstaviště exhibition grounds

Prague City Hall has obtained a building permit for the long-planned reconstruction and modernisation of the 19th century-era Výstaviště Exhibition Grounds.

The city said in a press release on Wednesday that it hopes to contract a builder to start work in the second half of 2020. The overhaul is expected to cost about 1.25 billion crowns.

The Výstaviště grounds, which lie next to Stromovka Park, are used for trade fairs, exhibitions, concerts and other activities. The left wing of the centerpiece Industrial Palace was partly destroyed by fire in 2008.

Three Czechs accused of running modern slavery ring in England

Czech police have accused two men and one woman of modern slavery in a long-running operation targeting people from socially disadvantaged backgrounds.

Between 2009 and 2017, the suspects allegedly lured people from the Czech Republic and Slovakia to Manchester, England, with false promises of legitimate well-paid work.

Police said the victims were stripped of their travel documents. Under threat of violence, the victims were forced to work in car washes, factories, restaurants and elsewhere for a fraction of the going wages.

In several cases, women were also wed to non-EU citizens in an illegal marriage scam.

Czechia faces chronic lack of skilled craftsmen, SME association says

The Czech Republic is facing a chronic lack of skilled craftsmen, according to the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, which notes a steady drop of trainees in a number of fields in recent years.

The association said the biggest drop has been recorded in the masonry and painting. While in 2005 more than 700 masons were being trained in the Czech Republic, last year there were only 250. The corresponding number of carpenters is similar.

Schools are looking to attract more young people to such professions by introduction of a new school subject, called technical practice. Dozens of elementary schools plan to add it to their curriculum as of September.

Police arrest fake hauliers over theft of goods worth CZK 48 million

At the turn of the year the Czech police arrested an international gang of fake hauliers who attempted to make off with at least CZK 48 million in goods. In a posting on the police’s website on Tuesday, a spokesperson said the group had been hired to deliver electronics, tires, beer and other products but had instead driven them to secret stores with a view to selling them later. They did this after taking over established haulage firms.

The five foreigners arrested had been active in a number of ex-communist states. They now face up to 10 years in jail.

Major investment planned for Czech railway stations in coming years

The Railway Infrastructure Administration is set to invest almost CZK 10 billion in renovations of railways stations around the Czech Republic in the next five years, Czech Television reported. This year alone it is carrying out more than 50 major projects to spruce up stations.

The head of the Railway Infrastructure Administration, Jiří Svoboda, told Czech TV that his officials had selected 350 locations for renovation work between now and 2024. He said the organisation would spend around CZK 900 million this year alone on improving railway station buildings.

The Czech Republic has one of Europe’s densest rail networks.

Vyškov synagogue declared Czech national cultural monument

The former Vyškov synagogue on the main square of the southern Moravian town of the same name has been declared a national cultural monument.

The synagogue was built in the neo-Romanesque style in 1885. Services ended before 1929. It then served as the town’s museum until 1954 and a few years later became a Czechoslovak Hussite Church prayer room.

The Ministry of Culture said in a press release it had granted the former synagogue protected status in part because it stands directly on a central square whereas most Jewish temples were built in less central spots.

Letní Letná new circus fest begins with ‘sky walk’ over the Vltava

The annual Letní Letná festival in Prague begins on Wednesday evening with a ‘sky walk’ by tightrope walker Tatiana-Mosio Bongonga, who will attempt to cross the Vltava River at a height of 35 metres.

The 16th edition of the popular festival features some of the world’s best contemporary circus acts, along with puppet shows, cabaret acts and breath-taking acrobatic performances. It runs until September 1st.

Špilberk int'l music festival to feature Miloš Forman film scores

The 20th annual Špilberk International Music Festival gets underway on Wednesday evening with a ‘Romantic Carnival’ performed by the Brno Philharmonic. The open-air festival, held in the courtyard of the city’s iconic Špilberk Castle, lasts until August 22nd.

On Thursday, the acclaimed New York band The Klezmatics will be performing traditional Jewish folk music with a modern twist. Next Wednesday, the festival pays tribute to the late director Miloš Forman, featuring music from his films, including Valmont, Loves of a Blonde, Amadeus and Hair.

The Špilberk festival closes with a joint concert of the host Brno Philharmonic Orchestra and Janoska Ensemble of Slovak and Austrian musicians.

Nový Jičín gears up for ‘most original hat’ contest

This year’s Festival of Nový Jičín will feature a ‘most original hat’ contest’ to mark the 220th anniversary of the Moravian town’s hat factory. A town hall spokesperson said entries should be original, hand-made models.

Apart from the hat contest, this year's Nový Jičín celebrations, held on September 6th and 7th, will also focus on the anniversaries of local automotive industry factories and the 120-year-old Heinrichshof Café, today known as Hotel Praha.

Weather outlook

Light rain is in the forecast for western Bohemia on Thursday while in the rest of the country it should be cool and partly cloudy. Average daytime highs are expected to range from 18 to 22 degrees Celsius.

14-08-2019