Daily news summary
Government to eliminate 860 positions in January
The government has agreed on the biggest reduction in public administration positions since the Civil Service Act was adopted in 2014.
Within the framework of the ongoing so-called systematization of jobs, 860 positions will be cut as of January, Deputy Interior Minister Josef Postránecký told reporters on Thursday.
About one-third of the 860 positions are currently filled. The biggest cuts are expected in the ministries of education, justice, agriculture and defence. Meanwhile, due to the approaching census, the Czech Statistical Office will take on new staff.
The Civil Service Act was meant to stabilise the public administration and open it up to experts while preventing political purges at ministries following each general election.
However, the ruling ANO-Social Democrat coalition, with support from the Communists, in October pushed through an amendment to the act that would allow ministers to recall state secretaries.
Prague aims to raise rent on city-owned flats
The Prague City Council plans to raise rents on flats now leased out by the municipality or city administration at below market rates, councillor Adam Zábranský (Pirates) told the ČTK news agency in an interview.
Zábranský said the council plans to review the contracts of up to 10,000 flats, many of which are rented out at one-third the going rate “for no apparent reason”.
According to the developer Trigema, as cited by ČTK, tenants of city dwellings usually pay 60 to 120 crowns per square metre, so between 4,680 to 9360 crowns for a standard 78 sq m flat. The market rate would be above 20,000 crowns.
Heightened security measures to be in place over Christmas
Higher security measures will be in place in the Czech Republic over Christmas and the New Year, Interior Minister Jan Hamáček and deputy police president Martin Vondrášek said at a press conference on Thursday.
The measures, formally in place from December 1 until January 9, will include an increased police presence in streets as well as stepped up protection of airports, shopping malls and other public places. They will also include concrete barriers installed in key public areas, such as the Christmas Market on Prague’s Old Town Square.
A first level security alert has been in place in the Czech Republic since March 2016, but according to Mr Hamáček, there are no indications of an immediate threat of a terrorist attack in the country.
Czechs collect nearly 32 million crowns during Giving Tuesday
Nearly 32 million crowns were collected in the Czech Republic during Giving Tuesday, a global event created in 2012 to promote charitable and philanthropic acts, Magdalena Martinková from the Association of Social Responsibility told the Czech News Agency on Wednesday. The figure is four times higher than in the previous year. Giving Tuesday, which took place in the Czech Republic for the third time, is designed to serve as a counter-weight to the shopping events of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Eight patients contract blood infection in Frýdlant hospital
Eight people with blood poisoning were admitted to hospital in Liberec during Wednesday and Thursday. According to the hospital spokesman Václav Řičař, all of the patients had previously undergone surgery at a private hospital in Frýdlant in North Bohemia.
The operating room in the Frýdlant hospital has been closed down and will remain so until the cause of the poisoning is uncovered.
Financial administration carried over 160,000 EET checks
Financial Administration officials have carried out over 160,000 checks since the introduction of electronic cash registers, a measure introduced by former Finance Minister Andrej Babiš to counter the grey economy and tax fraud.
The authorities have issued nearly 13,000 fines to the tune of 128 million crowns. Twenty-eight businesses were forced to close down for failing to follow the rules.
The first phase of the four-stage electronic cash registers system was introduced in December 2017. There are currently around 177,000 businesses using the registers.
Friday is expected to be mostly overcast with occasional rain or snow showers. Daytime highs will range between minus three and one degrees Celsius.