Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček has called on the European Union
to take a common position on whether to recognise the Venezuelan opposition
leader as president of his country.
Juan Guaido proclaimed himself Venezuela’s “acting president” on Wednesday in front of tens of thousands of supporters who had gathered in the capital Caracas to protest against President Nicolas Maduro.
Venezuela has been embroiled in economic and political crisis for several years. Many citizens, including descendants of Czech immigrants, have left the country. An estimated 500 people with Czech citizenship or origins now live there.
Former Supreme Administrative Court chairman Josef Baxa told a hearing of
the lower house of Parliament justice subcommittee on Wednesday that
President Miloš Zeman had urged him in private meetings last spring to
arrange for certain decisions at his court.
Mr Baxa told MPs he considered the request inappropriate and that it felt as if the president were offering to appoint him as Constitutional Court chief justice in exchange for achieving certain judicial rulings. Minister of Justice Jan Kněžínek (ANO) said on Thursday that if true, that would amount to a criminal act or attempted criminal act.
The hearing on Wednesday was called over suspicions that the president’s chancellor, Vratislav Mynář, had repeatedly tried to influence the courts in cases relating to the Office of the President or ones in which President Zeman had a vested interest.
Mr Mynář said he and the president had merely acquainted Mr Baxa with their opinions on various matters. He admitted that he had “consulted” with Constitutional Court judges, including Vojtěch Šimíček, presenting the President’s objections regarding planned changes to the Labour Act.
Subcommittee chairman MP Pavel Blažek (Civic Democrats) said that the matter was serious enough to warrant a subcommittee resolution but not to launch a separate investigation.
The production of passenger cars in the Czech Republic increased by 1.7
percent last year to a new record of 1.437 million vehicles, the Automotive
Industry Association said Thursday. Production has now grown for a fifth
Exports of passenger cars rose 2 percent year on year while domestic purchases dropped 1.7 percent in 2018.
Leading carmaker and exporter Škoda Auto increased its production to 886,103 cars, up 3.3 percent in annual terms. The Volkswagen subsidiary said growth was due to the modernisation and expansion of its Czech manufacturing plants.
Hyundai Motor Manufacturing, on the other hand, recorded a 4.6 percent drop in production to 340,300 cars. TPCA, a joint venture of Toyota, Peugeot and Citroën, returned to production growth with a 6 percent increase to 210,993 vehicles.
Young working Czechs are the least at risk of falling into poverty in the
European Union, according to data from the bloc’s statistical arm,
Eurostat. Youth in Romania are most at risk, it said.
According to Eurostat, the percentage of employed people in the Czech Republic aged 18-24 who are at risk of poverty stood at just 1.5 percent in 2017. By comparison, the EU average was 11 percent.
A young person is at risk of poverty if their net income is less than 60 percent of the national average, according to the methodology of the EU statistical arm.
Apart from the average salary, the average size of families also factors into the calculations. In the Czech Republic, families typically have no more than two children.
Apart from the Czech Republic, only two other EU countries had rates below 5 percent: Slovakia (3.8 percent) and Finland (4.2 percent).
The highest proportion of young people aged 18-24 in work and at risk of poverty in 2017 was in Romania (28.2 percent), followed by Luxembourg (20.0 percent), Denmark (19.1 percent), Spain (19.0 percent) and Estonia (18.4 percent).
Overall confidence in the Czech economy has declined for a third
consecutive month, dropping by 0.6 points to 98 points, the Czech
Statistical Office (ČSU) announced on Thursday.
Compared to last January, overall confidence in the economy is down, with levels lower for both business and consumers year on year.
Overall confidence in the Czech economy last dipped below 98 points in July 2017, when it stood at 97.7 points.
However, while business confidence has fallen in monthly terms, that of consumers has not, holding steady at December’s level.
Czech tennis star Petra Kvitová has reached the Australian Open finals,
after defeating her unseeded American opponent Danielle Rose Collins by a
score of 7-6, 6-0.
It is the first time Kvitová has made the finals in Melbourne and her third overall appearance in a Grand Slam tournament.
Her compatriot Karolína Plíšková lost her own semi-final match in Melbourne on Thursday to Japan's Naomi Osaka in three sets, by a score of 2-6, 6-4 and 4-6.
The final between Kvitová and Osaka takes place on Saturday.
Six out of ten Czechs consider terrorism to be a “serious threat” to
the peace and security in the country, a new opinion survey by the Centre
for Public Opinion Research (CVVM) finds.
At 61 percent, that figure is down 10 percentage points from a 2016 survey and 20 percentage points from a survey the year before, when the European “refugee crisis” began.
However, after terrorism, respondents cited international organised crime and refugees as the next biggest possible threats to national security. Just over half (54 percent) said these were “serious threats”.
Less than one-quarter of those polled said they thought left- or right-wing extremism posed a “serious threat”.
The CVVM survey of 1,104 Czechs aged 15 or older took place from November 3 –15, 2018.
Armenia’s prosecutor general has asked the Czech Republic to extradite
the nephew of former president and prime minister Serzh Sargsyan to face
drug trafficking and other charges.
The politician’s nephew, Narek Sargsyan, was detained in Prague in early December. An international warrant for his arrest was issued in July 2018 for alleged drug trafficking and illegal possession of firearms and explosives.
Czech authorities have already begun a preliminary investigation in anticipation of an extradition request. The final decision will be made by the Minister of Justice.
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.
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Facemask requirement eased but new restrictions for area hit by spike in Covid-19 cases
Czech nation pays tribute to Milada Horáková on 70th anniversary of her judicial murder