Daily news summary

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Czech Republic unable to implement VAT reverse charge mechanism immediately

The Czech Republic will not be able to immediately apply a generalized reversal of VAT liability for which Brussels has given EU member states approval for a limited period. Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, who fought for the reverse charge mechanism to be made possible for close to five years on the argument that it could save the country billions of crowns in unpaid VAT, said on Thursday the country needed more time to get the respective legislation in place. He said the testing period until 2022 was too short and the country would ask for an extension.

The EU member states have been given the green light to apply the generalized reverse charge mechanism only for domestic supplies of goods and services above a threshold of 17, 500 euros (around 450,000 crowns) per transaction and only up until June 30, 2022, when the outcome of the exemption will be reviewed.

Public officials getting more threats in wake of Ostrava shooting

Doctors and civil servants are reported to be getting threats from patients in the wake of the shooting incident in Ostrava’s university hospital. Police are investigating two separate cases in which people threatened a repeat of the hospital scenario because they were unhappy with the treatment received.

A sixty-five year old man voiced the threat after his eye doctor refused to approve a health certificate for his driving licence and a fifty-year-old man in Ostrava threatened a clerk at the city council in the same manner, after being asked to bring additional papers in order to get his request processed. Both men have been charged and could face up to a year in prison.

Event commemorates 13 miners killed in explosion last year

A commemorative ceremony took place in Stonava in the north-east of the Czech Republic on Friday to honour the thirteen miners who died after a methane explosion at the ČSM hard coal mine exactly a year ago. Twelve of the dead were Polish nationals.

Among those attending the event were Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, Polish ambassador to the Czech Republic Barbara Ćwioro, representatives of the OKD company, which operates the mine, and relatives of the victims.

The blast, which occurred about 880 metres below the ground, devastated some of the underground areas with poor visibility, obstructing the efforts of the rescue units.

Hundreds attend regional protests against PM Babiš

Hundreds of people outside Prague attended protests against Prime Minister Andrej Babiš on Thursday evening, organised by the group Million Moments for Democracy. The demonstrations took place in Brno, Ostrava, Plzeň and other regional centres and towns.

The organisers of the event say Mr Babiš is in conflict of interest and should step down. They are also demanding the removal of his minister of justice, Marie Benešová. At the latest demonstration in Prague on Tuesday, they announced their plan to continue with the protests next year.

Czech Post raising cost of some services

Czech Post will increase the price for some of its services as of January 1st and introduce dual-speed deliveries. The state-owned company, which is undergoing reorganization, has been criticized for late deliveries. As of next year it will offer clients the choice of paying more for guaranteed faster deliveries of mail and parcels, which should be delivered by the following day, or stick with the basic price in which case the delivery will take longer.

Temelín nuclear power plant to scale down production due to maintenance

The Temelín nuclear power plant is southern Bohemia will be scaling down production on both its blocks in the coming days due to scheduled maintenance, the power utility ČEZ reported.

Operation on one will be reduced by ten percent, and the other will operate at half its capacity in order to enable safe maintenance. Both will remain connected to the grip and should return to full capacity by December 24th.

Weather forecast

Saturday should be partly cloudy to overcast with rain predominantly in the eastern parts of the country and day temperatures between 5 and 9 degrees Celsius. Meteorologists expect mild weather up until Christmas.