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PM: Minimum wage should increase further

The minimum wage in the Czech Republic should increase further in the coming years, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka told journalists on Monday. Mr. Sobotka reiterated the government’s commitment to increasing people’s motivation to work saying he wanted to see the minimum wage in the Czech Republic reach 11,000 crowns in January 2017, which would amount to 40 percent of the average wage. The Confederation of Industry has criticized a further increase of the minimum wage, calling it “pre-election populism” on the part of the ruling coalition.

Government’s human rights council against institutionalized care for children under seven

The government’s council for human rights is pushing for an amendment to the law which would prevent children under the age of seven being placed in institutionalized care. According to a proposal which the government is to debate early next year care for young children should be provided by surrogate families. The Czech Republic has long been criticised by child rights organisations for the excessively high number of children placed in institutions.

Former national team goalkeeper Pavel Srníček dies at 47

Pavel Srníček, the former Newcastle keeper who also played for the Czech national football team and had 49 caps for his country, has died at the age of 47. Srníček had been in an induced coma after suffering cardiac arrest while jogging on December 20. His agent confirmed on Monday that final tests had shown irreversible brain damage and the decision was taken to switch off life support. Former teammates have tweeted condolences and expressed sadness and shock. Most recently, Srníček was goalkeeping coach at Sparta Prague. His autobiography 'Pavel is a Geordie' was released only a few days ago.

Police to be out in force on New Year’s Eve, Wenceslas Square to be closed to motorists

Prague’s Wenceslas Square will be completely closed to motorists on New Year’s Eve, the police have confirmed. Vitkov Hill, from where a fireworks display will be launched, will also be off limits. According to police spokeswoman Iveta Martínková, an extra 140 police officers will bolster the presence of hundreds of traffic, municipal, foreigner and criminal police. Medics and ambulance crews will also be on call. Tens of thousands of people traditionally celebrate New Year’s in the city centre.

Ostrava city councillor to step down

Ostrava city councillor David Pfleger, of the ANO party, announced on Tuesday he would resign from his post effective as of December 31. In a statement, he made clear he was taking the move as he expected police will charge him in connection with a fraud case. He said, however, he had not committed any crime. The police said they were not free to comment at this time.

Two of the victims in Christmas fire were murdered, say police

The death of a mother and her child in a fire in a family home in České Budejovice at Christmas is being treated as a double murder, the police have confirmed. The father, who also died after there was an explosion in the home and blaze, was considered the perpetrator, the police said, following autopsy results. The victims were murdered before the fire was set and the man reportedly used petrol and LPG to set the house alight; he died in an adjacent garage.

Prague residents donate eight tonnes of dog and cat food

Prague residents over the Christmas holidays donates a record eight tonnes of cat and dog food, both dried and canned, plus snacks to a well-known animal shelter in Troje, the Municipal police confirmed on Tuesday. On Christmas Day alone, some 3,000 people visited, the police said in a press release. According to the shelter, several dogs were adopted. Around 3,000 dogs and 1,700 cats arrive at the shelter annually; most of the dogs are successfully returned to their owners, the shelter said. The canines are housed in Troje, while the felines are placed at a facility in Dolních Měcholupy across the city.

NHL action: Plekanec ends scoring drought

Czech hockey forward Tomáš Plekanec ended a 21-game scoring drought and his club Montreal Canadiens snapped a six-game losing streak on Monday against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Plekanec took full advantage in the first period after being set up nicely by P.K. Subban and made no mistake to put the goal past goalie Ben Bishop. The tightly-fought game came down to penalty shots, which the Habs won. The final score was 4:3. Tomáš Plekanec is second on points among Czech players in the NHL, behind Boston’s David Krejčí.

Czechs clinch first win at world juniors

The Czech junior hockey team defeated Slovakia at the world juniors in Helsinki on Monday, returning a defeat they suffered at the hands of the Slovaks last year in the quarterfinals. The opening goal was scored by David Pastrňák and the second by Dominik Lakatoš. The match was the Czechs’s second in their group; they lost their opening game against Russia in penalty shots.

Čech breaks Premier League clean sheet record

Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Čech broke the record for clean sheets in the Premier League with his club’s 2:0 win on Monday over Bournemouth. The keeper earned 270 clean sheets in 352 Premier League appearances – one ahead of David James who had 169 in 572. The goalie was congratulated by fellow teammates but also former club Chelsea, where he played 11 seasons.