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Tax reform postponed until 2021

Prime Minister Andrej Babis has confirmed that a government planned tax reform will have to be postponed until 2021 since the national budget could not afford the subsequent fall-out in revenues it would bring about. The opposition parties have criticized the delay.

The proposed tax reform envisages the abolition of the so-called “supergross” tax wage. Instead, the draft amendment introduces a progressive tax rate of 19% for income of up to 1.5 million crowns and 24% for income above this amount. Entrepreneurs, including those claiming expenses as a percentage of income, will be allowed to deduct 75% of social security and health insurance contributions paid.

Pirate Party selects leader for European elections

The Pirate Party has elected software specialist Marcel Kolaja to lead the party in elections to the European Parliament in May.

At a party conference at the weekend the party outlined bold ambitions, including gaining twenty percent of the vote in the European elections and winning the next general elections in the Czech Republic in 2021. The party has no seats in the European Parliament at present.

Party leader Ivan Bartoš said the party would focus on linking up domestic and European issues in its campaign, which politicians had failed to do in the past.

Controversial concert in Palach’s memory goes ahead despite protests

A concert by Italian neo-Nazi bands in memory of the Czech student martyr Jan Palach, who set himself alight in protest against growing public apathy to the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, was held at a country estate close to Verona on Saturday, despite efforts by Czech and Italian officials to prevent the misappropriation of his legacy.

The organizers had to seek an alternative venue for it after Verona’s Teatro Stimmate and Movieland Park both refused to host the event.

The concert, held under the motto Country and Freedom took place on the 50th anniversary of Palach’s death and was reportedly attended by around 400 people.

Prague Shorts to pay tribute to Ingmar Bergman

The 14th Prague Short Film Festival, due to be held in Prague from January 23 to January 27, will be a tribute to the legendary 20th century director Ingmar Bergman.

The Prague Shorts traditionally includes an international competition of short films of up to 30 minutes, a national competition of shorts and non-competitive informative film sections, retrospectives, biographies, and other accompanying events.

The Bergman Revisited section will include shorts by six Swedish directors whose work reflects Bergman’s creative style.

Meteorologists: Czech Republic to experience Arctic weather

The Czech Republic is expected to experience a spell of Arctic weather in the coming fortnight. Meteorologists have warned that a cold front moving west from Siberia will hit the country in the coming days bringing sub-degree day temperatures during the daytime and night temperatures dropping to -20 degrees Celsius in places.

On Saturday night time lows in Kvilda, in the Šumava Mountains reached -32 degrees Celsius. A warming is expected at the end of the month.

Kvitová in quarterfinals in Australian Open

Petra Kvitová beat American Amanda Anisimova 6:2, 6:1 in less than an hour on Sunday returning to the Australian Open quarterfinals for the first time in seven years.

Kvitová was in top form, breaking Anisimova's serve five times and never faced a break point. She got 86 percent of her first serves into play, and won all but five of the points when she did.

Weather forecast

Monday should be dry, clear and sunny with day temperatures between 0 and – 4 degrees Celsius.