Daily news summary
NKÚ: Czech state failing to implement key changes in taxation, energy-saving, housing
The Czech state has proven unable to respond properly to dynamic changes in society the Supreme Audit Office (NKÚ) says in its annual report published on Monday.
Among examples, the report cites the slow rate of digitalisation and expanding transport infrastructure, an overly complex tax system, a failure to introduce energy-saving measures, and a chronic lack of low-income housing.
Regarding taxation, companies based in the Czech Republic need 40 percent more time to meet their tax obligations than the average of 230 hours in the EU and the European Free Trade Association, it says.
Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček in Lithuania for V4 + NB8 meeting
Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs Tomáš Petříček (Social Democrats) is in Lithuania on Monday for a meeting with his counterparts in the Visegrad, Nordic and Baltic regions.
Topping the agenda of the so-called V4 + NB8 meeting is measures to ensure cybersecurity and counter hybrid threats, within the wider scope of relations with Russia and China.
Also under discussion are presidential elections in Ukraine and migration issues affecting Europe as a whole.
Priest dismissed over suspicion of sexual abuse of minors
Cardinal Dominik Duka has dismissed a priest from the clerical state over suspicion of abuse of minors.
At least one victim, now in his adulthood, has come forward to testify against him, claiming he had been repeatedly sexually abused by the priest at the age of 12 and had not had the courage to speak out sooner.
Cardinal Duka made the decision at the recommendation of a special collegium set up to deal with similar cases.
Transport Minister calls reports of his imminent ouster in cabinet reshuffle “an April Fool’s Day joke”
Minister of Transport Dan Ťok said reports of an imminent cabinet shuffle that would see him ousted from the position are unfounded. He quipped that the report was “an April Fool’s Day joke”.
Citing sources close to Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, the news site idnes.cz reported that both Ťok and Industry and Trade Minister Marta Nováková are on their way out, with the reshuffle likely to happen by mid-May at the latest.
Ťok is being blamed for the state of the country’s permanently congested D1 highway. Nováková is under fire over an incident when a representative of Taiwan was forced to leave a diplomatic meeting at the request of China’s ambassador.
Prague City Hall to commission artistic designs for metro’s new D line stations
Prague City Hall councillors have agreed to commission artistic designs for each station of the planned metro D line, running from Pankrác to Písnice.
The designs will be chose in conjunction with the National Gallery Prague and architect David Vávra.
As regards the Pankrác station, the first to be built, sculptors Marian Karel and Vladimír Soukénka have already been approached.
Projected number of new Czech first graders drops by 8,100
The number of children enrolling in the first year of elementary school is down by some 8,100 from last year, according to estimates from the Ministry of Education.
According to the ministry's estimates, approximately 110,500 six-year-olds, 1,000 five-year-olds and about 25,500 seven-year-olds and older children are expected to start elementary school in September.
Police bust illegal drug network in Moravia headed by married couple
The Moravian-Silesian Police have taken 21 people into custody following a coordinated drug bust in the region that uncovered 25 marijuana growing rooms, mostly in Ostrava.
A police spokesman said a married couple led the growing and distribution network, which apart from marijuana, also sold cocaine, ecstasy and other illegal drugs.
Czech PMI drops to lowest value since 2012
Conditions in the Czech manufacturing sector deteriorated further in March, when the IHS Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) dropped for a fourth consecutive month, to 47.3 points.
It is the lowest value for the indicator since 2012, according to IHS Markit. Czech PMI stood at 48.6 points in February.
The 50-point index is a dividing line between growth and decline, with a figure above 50 points signalling an overall improvement in the sector. The index tracks production, new orders, employment, delivery dates, and supplies.
Tuesday should be partly cloudy in Bohemia and bright and sunny in Moravia. Average daytime highs of 14 to 18 degrees Celsius are expected.