Over 136,000 people have signed an online petition or ‘challenge’ by
protest group Million Moments for Democracy calling on politicians and
ordinary citizens to ensure a flourishing democracy.
The petitioners want politicians “who respect democratic norms and institutions, do not lie or steal, and have no conflicts of interest”. Signatories pledge to “care about others and the state of society, assuming their share of responsibility” for the country to be “free and just”, among other things.
The petition was announced at a Million Moments for Democracy rally on Saturday marking the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution attended over 250,000 people.
In late February the group launched a petition specifically calling on Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) to resign for allegedly not respecting the aforementioned principles. So far, that petition has 433,000 signatories.
The Czech government has approved a 7 percent digital tax on large internet
businesses such as Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple. According to
Ministry of Finance estimates, the new tax would bring in 5 billion crowns
of revenue a year.
The Ministry of Finance proposes introducing a so-called DST model of digital tax as proposed earlier by the European Commission.
Subject to the new tax would be internet companies with a global turnover of over EUR 750 million (CZK 19.1 billion) and annual turnover in the Czech Republic of over CZK 100 million.
Some digital economy platforms such as Airbnb and Uber that allow users to provide services and goods to each other for a transaction fee would also be subject to the tax.
Some 300 people have turned out to pay their respects to Jan Stráský, the
last prime minister of federal Czechoslovakia, who died this month at the
age of 78.
Following the break-up of Czechoslovakia, among other things, Stráský was a regional governor of Central Bohemia. An avid hiker and biker, he later led Šumava National Park and the Czech Tourists Club.
Among those attending Monday’s ceremony at Prachatice cemetery was former premier and president Václav Klaus, who paid tribute to Stráský’s political acumen and integrity.
Prague City Hall agreed on Monday to sign a memorandum pledging to remove
fragments of Jewish tombstones used as cobblestones in the city centre and
return them to the community.
Pedestrian zones on Prague’s high street Na Příkopě and at the base of Wenceslas Square were repaired under Communism in part using tombstones from a derelict 19th century Jewish cemetery in Chomutov.
The work was reportedly carried out ahead of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s visit to Czechoslovakia in 1987.
The Jewish community, which has for years called for the fragments to be removed, plans to deposit them in the Old Jewish Cemetery in Prague’s Žižkov district. A project called "Finding the Lost Face of Jewish Cemeteries" will try to help identify the fragments.
Representatives of the government, businesses and employee unions failed to
agree on what the minimum wage should be in 2020, Minister of Labour Jana
Maláčová (Social Democrats) announced on Twitter.
Maláčová said she has therefore asked Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) to convene representatives of the coalition government to agree on the level as soon as possible.
Unionists have demanded the minimum wage increase by 1,650 crowns next year for full-time workers to 15,000 crowns a month. Employers have agreed to an increase of 700 crowns at most.
Christian Democrat party leader Marek Výborný may be stepping down for
personal reasons. His wife died suddenly in late September, and he has
three small children to care for.
The opposition party has called a meeting for Tuesday to discuss the situation. Výborný was only elected party chairman in March. He replaced Pavel Bělobrádek, who had held the post for eight years.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) is heading to Ukraine on Monday evening
for a two-day trip aimed at furthering bilateral trade and showing support
for Ukraine’s territorial integrity in the face of Russian aggression.
Babiš will be accompanied by Minister of Industry and Trade Karel Havlíček (for ANO) and a delegation of 85 Czech entrepreneurs, led by Czech Chamber of Commerce chairman Vladimír Dlouhý.
In Kyiv, Babiš is due to meet his Ukrainian counterpart, Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk, as well as President Volodymyr Zelensky.
He will place particular emphasis on discussing the Ukrainian government’s efforts to put in place reforms and integrate into European Union structures.
Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček (Social Democrats) on Monday honoured
12 people for their contributions to diplomacy, including nine who worked
to ensure a successful transition to democracy after the Velvet Revolution.
Several of the recipients were honoured in memoriam. They included the first post-communist foreign minister, Jiří Dienstbier Sr., who was awarded a posthumous Medal of Merit for Diplomacy, and the late German diplomat Klaus Kinkel, honoured for advancing Czech-German relations.
Medals of Merit for Diplomacy were also handed to former Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg (TOP 09) and former Czech Ambassador to NATO Karel Kovanda, who had been named awardees in March but were not then available to receive them.
Honoured for their post-Velvet Revolution diplomatic work were Slovak actress Magda Vašáryová, who served as Czechoslovak ambassador to Austria, and Jiří Gruša, a long-time ambassador to both Germany and Austria.
In addition, Felix Kolmer and Tomáš Kosta, both survivors of Nazi concentration camps who were involved in the process of reconciliation between Czechs and Germans, were also awarded.
Marek Dalík, a former lobbyist convicted of trying to solicit a bribe in
connection with a military hardware contract while an advisor to the then
prime minister has been granted conditional release from prison.
Dalík was sentenced to five years in prison for seeking a bribe of CZK 50 million from the US-owned Austrian arms maker Steyr in 2007 to smooth a deal for the Czech Army to buy its Pandur armoured personnel carriers.
The District Court in Znojmo on Monday conditionally released Dalik from prison with a probationary period of five years. He has served half of his prison term.
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