This Sunday, New Years Day, will find many Czechs - like people around the world - making New Year's resolutions. But they won't have any say over some changes, which have been decided by Parliament and come into effect on the 1st. Understandably, people are most concerned about those which will have a direct impact on their wallets. 2006 is going to bring an increase in a number of social benefits and also a reduction in taxes for low and medium incomes. But as of January, Czechs will pay more for utilities - which is expected to bring further
Prices of the traditional Czech Christmas food carp have fallen, as the
fish faces competition from other foods such as salmon and poultry.
Carp prices are about 5 percent lower than last year, a spokesperson
for the biggest Czech carp producer, Rybarstvi Trebon, told the AFP
Many Czechs take live carp home and keep them in the bath, killing the fish themselves shortly before consumption on Christmas Eve.
In Business News: the National Bank governor warns the government's spending programme for 2006 could jeopardise plans to introduce the euro in 2010; the cabinet rejects an opposition plan to cut bureaucracy for small companies; employers will have to pay the first two weeks' sick pay; the Czech IT market grows by a tenth in 2005; and while over 5 percent of Czechs have broadband internet, plans for free WiFi in Prague meet opposition.
President Vaclav Klaus has signed a law reducing income tax rates on low and medium incomes. As of next year, people who earn less than 20,000 crowns (830 dollars) a month will save some 4,000 crowns a year. For people with salaries below 30,000 crowns a month, taxes will be reduced by almost 3,000 crowns a year.
Just four days left to Christmas and no doubt many of you are still desperately running around the shops trying to do the last of your Christmas shopping. This year Czechs are borrowing more than ever to buy presents for their nearest and dearest - according to some figures Czechs will borrow some 415 billion crowns from banks alone.
The Czech economy grew by 4.9 percent in the third quarter of this
year, a slowdown from 5.2 percent in the second quarter, according to
figures released on Friday. That deceleration was due to a decline in
agriculture, while foreign trade has remained the driving force of
In spite of the slowdown, the Czech economy has remained the second-fastest growing in central Europe, after Slovakia, and this year's growth in gross domestic product is set to be the fastest since 1995.
Some 14 business agreements signed during official visit of Chinese prime minister; Skoda Octavia named 'best import' in German automotive magazine's annual 'Auto Trophy' readers' survey; Parliament to debate eminent-domain law for industrial zones - towards securing land for $1.2bn Hyundai plant; Lobbyist at centre of Unipetrol privatisation inquiry says ex-government chief of staff offered him a bribe; The BBC Czech service may continue as commercial venture
The Czech President Vaclav Klaus has said that the Czech Republic needs to clearly define its own conditions for joining the eurozone. Speaking at a conference organised by the weekly Euro in Prague, President Klaus said Czech politicians and some economists only cite the Maastricht criteria but he said the country should set itself the conditions under which it wants to enter the European Monetary Union. The Maastricht criteria set limits for national debt, inflation, budget deficit and long-term interest rate. The Czech Republic, which does not comply with the budget deficit limit condition, is expected to adopt the euro in 2010, in line with a plan approved by the government two weeks ago.
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Screenshot: a hybrid English-friendly Prague art-house cinema where screenings are events