Daily news summary
Senate votes against taxing church restitutions
The Senate has voted against the Communist party proposal to tax restitutions paid out by the state to various religious organisations including the Catholic Church and the Czech Jewish Community. Aside from the opposition, the senators who voted against the bill also included the Social Democrats, a junior partner in Prime Minister Andrej Babiš’s government. The proposal will now return to the Chamber of Deputies, which can by-pass the Senate if it votes in favour of the bill again. However, the opposition says it will bring the issue to the Constitutional Court if this happens.
Aside from returning property, the current restitution law passed enacted in 2013 counts on paying church organisations CZK 59 billion crowns divided into annual payments over a period of 30 years. The proposed restitution bill would tax these pay-outs reducing the total payment to CZK 48 billion.
Property investment down by a third in 2018
The amount of property investment in the Czech Republic went down by EUR 2.62 billion in 2018, a cut back of 30 percent compared to the previous year, a study by consultancy company Colliers International says. Transactions also decreased by 27 percent. According to the authors of the study this is a consequence of the low amount of quality property investments currently on offer.
Colliers International says it expects this year’s investment rate to remain largely the same as in 2018.
Czech tourism earnings amount to 2.9 percent of GDP
Earnings from the tourism sector amounted to 2.9 percent of the total Gross Domestic Product in 2017, the Czech Statistics Office reported on Thursday.
Total earnings from tourism rose by 7.4 percent in the past year to 292 billion crowns, which is the highest figure since calculations for the sector started in 2003.
Nearly 35 million foreign tourists visited the Czech Republic last year, accounting for 56 percent of the overall turnover.
Czech President attends Bucharest Nine meeting in Košice
Czech President Miloš Zeman attended a meeting of heads of state of the Bucharest Nine, the countries making up the eastern flank of NATO, hosted by Slovak president in Košice on Thursday. The main objective of the meeting, which was also attended by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, was to commemorate the 70th anniversary of NATO and to discuss the current security situation in Europe and its neighbourhood.
During the meeting with his counterparts, Czech President Miloš Zeman defended the military mission in Afghanistan, head of the president's foreign policy team Rudolf Jindrák wrote in Twitter.
Following a bilateral meeting with Mr Stoltenberg, Slovak president Andrej Kiska said it was crucial to discuss defence and security in peacetime, since it was the obligation of any government to provide security for its citizens.
European turtle dove voted Czech Bird of the Year
The European turtle dove has been named Bird of the Year by the Czech Ornithological Society.
The choice was aimed at reminding the public that population numbers of the once widespread migratory species have dropped dramatically over the past decades as a result of intensive farming, habitat loss and hunting.
Ornithologist estimate there are currently between 40 to 80 thousand couples of the European turtle dove living in the Czech Republic.
Jan Boroš wins Apollo Award
The album Stínítko by Čáry života, a solo project by multi-instrumentalist Jan Boroš, has won the Apollo Critics’ Choice Award for Best LP of 2017. The award was presented at a ceremony in Prague’s Meetfactory on Wednesday evening. The debut album, mixing lo-fi electronics and acoustic instruments, was released on label Bumbum Satori and was also nominated for this year’s Vinyla Award. Among other contenders for the Apollo award were Floex & Tom Hodge, Manon Meurt or Povodí Ohře.
Friday is expected to be mostly overcast with rain showers and daytime highs ranging between 7 to 11 degrees Celsius.