Record low temperatures were registered in many part of the Czech Republic
on Thursday morning. Around ten out of 147 weather stations keeping records
for 30 years or more recorded new lows.
The coldest place was Rokytská Slať in the Šumava mountains in South Bohemia, where minus 22.6 degrees Celsius was recorded.
Financial Administration officials have carried out over 160,000 checks
since the introduction of electronic cash registers, a measure introduced
by former Finance Minister Andrej Babiš to counter the grey economy and
The authorities have issued nearly 13,000 fines to the tune of 128 million crowns. Twenty-eight businesses were forced to close down for failing to follow the rules.
The first phase of the four-stage electronic cash registers system was introduced in December 2017. There are currently around 177,000 businesses using the registers.
The Prague City Council plans to raise rents on flats now leased out by the
municipality or city administration at below market rates, councillor Adam
Zábranský (Pirates) told the ČTK news agency in an interview.
Zábranský said the council plans to review the contracts of up to 10,000 flats, many of which are rented out at one-third the going rate “for no apparent reason”.
According to the developer Trigema, as cited by ČTK, tenants of city dwellings usually pay 60 to 120 crowns per square metre, so between 4,680 to 9360 crowns for a standard 78 sq m flat. The market rate would be above 20,000 crowns.
The government has agreed on the biggest reduction in public administration
positions since the Civil Service Act was adopted in 2014.
Within the framework of the ongoing so-called systematization of jobs, 860 positions will be cut as of January, Deputy Interior Minister Josef Postránecký told reporters on Thursday.
About one-third of the 860 positions are currently filled. The biggest cuts are expected in the ministries of education, justice, agriculture and defence. Meanwhile, due to the approaching census, the Czech Statistical Office will take on new staff.
The Civil Service Act was meant to stabilise the public administration and open it up to experts while preventing political purges at ministries following each general election.
However, the ruling ANO-Social Democrat coalition, with support from the Communists, in October pushed through an amendment to the act that would allow ministers to recall state secretaries.
The Foreign Affairs Committee of the upper house of parliament, the Senate,
has condemned Russia’s detention of Ukrainian ships in the Black Sea.
Members of the committee recalled the right of vessels to access the Sea of Azov, to where they were headed on Sunday.
Russia claims the Ukrainian vessels had crossed into its waters, but that is based on its illegal claim to Crimea, which it seized in 2014.
Under a treaty ratified by Ukraine and Russia in 2004 that is still in force, the Sea of Azov and Kerch Strait were defined as shared territorial waters.
On Monday, members of the lower house’s Foreign Affairs Committee advocated tougher sanctions against Russia, while the Czech foreign minister has spoken of forcing a reduction in the relatively high number of diplomats at Russia’s Embassy in Prague.
Czech police say a criminal gang based in Karviná, near the Polish border,
over the past two years sold an astounding 163 kilos of crystal meth, known
locally as Pervitin.
The street value of the drug could have been between 100 million to 200 million crowns.
Police said last week they arrested seven members of the gang at various locations throughout the country. They had used highly sophisticated methods to avoid their production and distribution networks from being detected.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in is wrapping up an official visit to the
Czech Republic on Wednesday.
He is due to hold talks with Prime Minister Andrej Babiš that will focus on bilateral relations, cultural exchanges and the situation on the Korean peninsula.
On Tuesday, Moon Jae-in met with Koreans living in this country. From Prague, he is heading to Buenos Aires for a Group of Twenty summit.
The Czech Republic is for the first time celebrating Red Wednesday, a
global event whose goal is to remember those who cannot practise their
faith freely throughout the world.
In a show of solidarity, a number of churches, synagogues and other religious sites throughout the country will be illuminated in red during the evening. In Prague, these include the St. Nicholas Church on Old Town Square and the Old-New Synagogue in Josefov, the historic Jewish quarter.
A conference on the role of religion in society is also underway in Prague, attended by representatives of Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), the pontifical foundation that launched the Red Wednesday initiative in support of persecuted Christians.
The new Prague City Council leadership has decided to restore rather than
tear down Libeňský most, a dilapidated bridge built in 1928, Prague Lord
Mayor Zdeněk Hřib (Pirates) has announced.
The previous Prague City Council leadership had backed demolishing Libeň Bridge but suspended a final decision following protests from conservationists, architects and engineers, among others.
Libeňský most was blocked to traffic for nearly two months to carry out emergency repairs early this year.
The concrete bridge is the longest one in Prague. It was designed by architects Pavel Janák and František Mencl in the Cubist style and opened to the public on April 29, 1928 for the tenth anniversary of the founding of Czechoslovakia.
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