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Constitutional Court rejects bill taxing financial restitution to faith groups

The Czech Constitutional Court has rejected legislation under which money returned to faith groups under restitution would be subject to taxation. The decision was announced on Tuesday by the court’s chief justice, Pavel Rychetský.

A group of senators from the Christian Democrats and other parties had petitioned for the overturning of the legislation, under which a tax of 19 percent would be imposed on financial restitution to churches.

Legislation to that effect was approved earlier this year by MPs from the coalition of ANO and the Social Democrats as well as members of the Communist Party and Freedom and Direct Democracy.

Tens of billions of crowns worth of property is being returned to churches under divisive legislation passed in 2013. However, not all assets can be handed back and the faith groups are receiving financial compensation over a number of decades.

Czech Republic 21st among EU states in gender equality

The Czech Republic is 21st among European Union states when it comes to ensuring equal opportunities and conditions for women and men, according to this year’s Gender Equality Index. The country has fallen four places compared to the 2005 edition of the index, which is produced by the European Institute for Gender Equality.

The survey found that the Czech Republic was particularly poor when it came to women’s participation in decision making. It also fares badly in segregation in the labour market and education.

PM backs massive army spending at centenary event

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš says the Czech Republic must make massive investments in weapons and recruit more soldiers in view of the situation in the world today. He made the comment at an event in Prague on Tuesday marking the centenary of the establishment of the general staff of the army.

Mr. Babiš said he regretted the fact that Czechoslovakia’s arms industry was decimated after 1989.

President Miloš Zeman highlighted Czech participation in international missions and referred to the deaths of 14 Czech soldiers. He said their sacrifice demonstrated that the country’s army, which had been traumatised in the past, was fighting again.

Government passes record low budget for Czechia's EU presidency in 2022

The government agreed to a record low CZK 1.24 billion budget for the country’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2022 on Monday, without the votes of minority coalition partner the Social Democrats. Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) says that the country can manage the council with much fewer officials and resources than other member states. However, multiple Social Democrat ministers called the budget insufficient.

Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček (Social Democrats) said that the effectiveness of the Czech presidency was being put at stake, highlighting that the approved amount is some CZK 500 million behind the budgets of similar sized countries.

When the Czech Republic last held the presidency in 2009, the government approved a budget of CZK 3.75 billion. The current prime minister pledged to at least halve this number earlier in 2019.

Dutch brothers to serve 5.5 and 5 years over attack on Prague waiter

Two Dutch citizens who brutally beat up a waiter at a Prague restaurant will serve 5.5 and 5 years in prison, the Prague Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday. In an appeal hearing Armin Nahvi had his sentenced reduced by six months while his brother Arash Nahvi’s earlier sentence was upheld.

The sentence also includes bars on the two entering the Czech Republic for a period of 10 years.

The Dutchmen set upon the waiter in the outdoor section of a city centre restaurant in April 2018 after he told them they were not allowed to consume their own alcohol on the premises.

Football: Czechs lose 2:3 to Northern Ireland in friendly

The Czech national football team lost 2:3 to Northern Ireland in Monday’s international friendly played in Prague. Coach Jaroslav Šilhavý chose a very different squad to that which beat England 2:1 last week and the team’s defence had significant trouble holding the Irish back in the first half of the game.

Northern Ireland was already leading 3-0 when the players entered the dressing room. The Czechs went on to score two goals in the second half. Substitute Vladimír Darida netted the Czechs’ first goal of the game in the 67th minute, while midfielder Alex Král scored the second just one minute later. An extra-time strike would have made it 3-3, but the Czech goal was disallowed due to a foul committed by the attacking team.

The team will play two more European Championship qualifiers in November, against Kosovo and Bulgaria.

Weather forecast

It should be largely overcast with the chance of rain in the Czech Republic on Wednesday, with temperatures of up to 16 degrees Celsius. Daytime highs are then expected to remain around the mid-teens Celsius for the following week.