Czech Railways will pay the Italian developer Grandi Stazioni 565 million crowns in compensation for the money invested in the reconstruction of the Main Railway Station in Prague. Grandi Stazioni lost its 30-year lease of the station in October of this year after repeatedly failing to meet the reconstruction deadline. The Czech Railway Infrastructure Administration rejected its request for another two-year extension and asked Grandi Stazioni to vacate the premises. The developer is demanding 765 million crowns in compensation, but Czech Railways says it has not produced evidence the extra 200 million were actually invested.
Finance Minister Andrej Babiš has come under fire for proposing last minute changes to the law on electronic cash registers just a week before it is due to go into effect. Mr. Babis, who had been holding out against proposed exemptions for months, on Wednesday unexpectedly announced he wanted e-shops and small entrepreneurs exempted from the duty to introduce electronic cash registers. The proposal reportedly elicited an angry reaction from Prime Minister Sobotka at Wednesday’s session of the government and has come under fire from the opposition who have fought against the law from the outset. The law, aimed at countering tax evasion, is one of the government’s flagship projects.
The hard coal mining company OKD will terminate mining at its Paskov mine in the Frýdek-Místek district, northern Moravia, by the end of March, 2017. Around 700 miners are set to lose their jobs as a result of the closure. The rest of the employees will be moved to other mines that are still in operation. OKD, which employs some 12,000 people altogether, faces severe financial difficulties and filed for insolvency in March of this year.
Political analyst Petr Robejšek has announced the establishment of a new conservative party on the Czech political scene. The party, named Realists, is to defend family values, security and national interests. Robejšek, the party’s founder, is hoping to attract dissatisfied right-wing voters and puts the party’s voter potential at 20 percent. According to Czech Radio’s analyst Marie Bastlová the party could win over voters from the Civic Democrats, TOP 09, Dawn and ANO. It should be ready to register new members in January.
The Czech animated film Happy End, a black comedy about death with a happy ending by film director Jan Saska is on the shortlist for the Oscars in the Animated Shorts category, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced on Wednesday. Other animated shorts included in the shortlist are Inner Workings (Disney), Piper (Pixar) and Robert Valley’s Pear Cider and Cigarettes. Nominations for the 89th Annual Academy Awards will be announced on January 24, and the trophy ceremony is set for February 26 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.
The lead singer of the Swedish heavy metal band Sabaton, Joakim Brodén, is on the nominees list for the 2016 Český Slavík Awards, the Czech version of the US Grammy Awards. Brodén’s mother is Czech and the singer has dual citizenship. The nominations were announced on Thursday by the agency Musica Bohemica, which organizes the annual music awards. Other nominees include Karel Gott, Tomáš Klus Lucie Bila, Monika Absolonová and the highly controversial Czech band Ortel, whose hateful lyrics primarily target religious and ethnic minorities. Last year, the largely unknown band from Plzeň jumped from 105th spot to fourth place in the Slavík competition. The winners will be announced at a gala ceremony in Prague on November 26.
Friday should be partly cloudy to overcast across most of the Czech Republic with rain in places and day temperatures between 6 and 10 degrees Celsius.
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Government to extend restrictions on movement until April 1st