The lower house of Parliament on Wednesday approved a controversial
Communist proposal to tax churches on monies they receive in line with a
property restitution law enacted in 2012. The proposal will now go to the
Senate for further debate.
Opponents of the proposal argue that it is unjust to tax money paid in to the churches in compensation for properties confiscated by the Communist regime. They argue it is akin to punishing the victim of a theft and also unconstitutional, as in their view it violates earlier treaties.
The coalition government comprised of the ANO and Social Democrat parties backed the proposal by the Communists, who had threated to withdraw their tolerance of the minority government if they had rejected it.
According to the Communists, the state stands to recover about 380 million crowns annually from the roughly 2 billion crowns it now transfers to 16 churches under bilateral agreements.
In total, the churches should receive 75 billion crowns worth of land and property confiscated by the Communist regime and get 59 billion crowns worth of compensation money for the rest, to be paid out over a 30-year period.
The government is looking to introduce changes to the educational system to
place greater emphasis on apprenticeships, the daily Hospodářské noviny
The move is part of a long-term strategic plan to increase the Czech Republic’s overall competitiveness and bolster innovation.
Among those working on the plan are experts from the Confederation of Industry, Chamber of Commerce, Association of Small and Medium Enterprises and Tradesmen, and representatives of schools and the ministries of education and industry.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO), as chair of the government’s R&D council, will oversee implementation of the strategic plan, which identifies 10 key areas requiring fundamental change.
These include creating half a dozen development centres for making breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, laser technology and nanotechnology.
Plzeň’s main steelworks company has filed an insolvency petition and
accrued 5 billion crowns in debt, the daily E15 reports. Pilsen Steel saw
its funding from a Russian bank cut off last year.
The steelworks’ largest creditors are both majority controlled by Russian entities – VEB Kapital and Vemex – while ČEZ Prodej, part of the Czech state-controlled utility, is also a major creditor.
Pilsen Steel trade unions say they expect a significant number of the more than 1,000 employees to be laid off and fear salaries may go unpaid.
Air traffic over the Czech Republic set a new record in 2018.
The number of take-offs, landings, and flyover flights increased by 6.9 percent year on year, to 912,815 in total. An average of 2,500 aircraft used domestic airspace in a given day.
The busiest traffic was also at Václav Havel International Airport in Prague, where the number of take-offs and landings grew year on year by 4.8 percent to 155,216.
Total traffic at Czech airports rose by 3.5 percent in annual terms.
The average price of new homes sold in Prague reached 101,091 crowns per
square metre by the end of 2018, an increase of 18.6 percent year on year,
a group of developers said on Wednesday.
The number of residential dwellings sold dropped by 9 percent to 5,000 last year, the lowest since 2012, according to data compiled by the developers Trigema, Skanska Reality and Central Group.
The most expensive flats are traditionally in Prague 1 (currently at 198,000 crowns per sqm on average) and in Prague 2 (164,000 crowns per sqm). The most affordable apartments are in Prague 4 and Prague 10, where the average price is 89,000 crowns per sqm.
In terms of price per square metre, smaller flats are more expensive than larger ones, regardless of location, the developers said.
The western Bohemian spa towns of Karlovy Vary, Františkovy Lázně and
Mariánské Lázně have entered a wider joint bid for inclusion on the
Unesco World Heritage List.
In total 11 European towns known for their healing thermal waters have joined the bid, filed in Paris on Tuesday, under the heading the “Great Spas of Europe”.
The concept behind the joint Unesco application in part highlights the role of spa towns during the 18th century through the 1930s as intellectual hotbeds that helped spread the idea of a united, democratic Europe.
The other European locales are in Germany (Bad Ems, Baden-Baden and Bad Kissingen), Austria (Baden bei Wien), Italy (Montecatini Terme), France (Vichy), Belgium (Spa), and the United Kingdom (the City of Bath).
Campaigners are pushing the introduction of deposits on PET plastic bottles
in the Czech Republic. The group Zálohujme (Let’s Use Deposits) say
Czechs are presently recycling less than 60 percent of PET bottles. They
want to increase that figure to 90 percent.
Under the proposal, consumers would pay a deposit of CZK 3 on every plastic bottle. Zálohujme is comprised of representatives of the Institute of Circular Economy, the University of Chemistry and Technology’s Faculty of Environmental Technology and bottled water producers Karlovarských minerální vod.
Karolína Plíšková has reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open
for the first time. The Czech was losing 1-5 in the third set but saved
four match points to eventually overcome Serena Williams of the US 6-4 4-6
7-5. Plíšková will now face Naomi Osaka for a place in the final. She
has never won a Grand Slam tournament.
Wednesday’s result makes an all-Czech final in Melbourne possible as two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitová will face Danielle Rose Collins of the US in the other semi-final.
The police have proposed that two Dutch citizens who beat up a waiter in
Prague last year be tried on charges of attempted murder. The two, who are
brothers, could face up to 18 years if found guilty.
The police had originally charged them with grievous bodily harm but revised their position after court experts said that the attack was so brutal that the victim could have died.
The waiter was set upon after telling a group of seven Dutch citizens that they were not allowed to consume their own alcohol at the city centre outdoor restaurant where he worked.