Daily news summary
Civic Democrats fighting law that orders shops to close on public holidays
The centre-right Civic Democratic Party wants the lower house to review the 2016 legislation which stipulates that stores over 200 square metres must remain closed on given public holidays. The party wants to see the law scrapped on the grounds that it restricts the rights of both salespeople and the public.
The legislation was approved thanks to support from the Social Democrats, Christian Democrats and the Communist Party. The ANO government, whose deputies voted against it in 2016, has now taken a neutral stand to the proposal. Under the legislation shops will be closed on December 25th and 26, and shopping hours on December 24th will be restricted.
Government approved staff cutbacks at ministries
The Cabinet on Friday agreed to close down 14 departments at ministries and the Government Office.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said on Friday that his government was getting rid of 73 posts as part of a reorganisation at ministries.
The changes will come into force at the beginning of 2018. Another shake-up is planned for March next year.
EC evaluates OLAF’s report on the Stork’s Nest case
The European Commission is assessing the report of the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) concerning the case of an alleged EU sibsidy fraud in the Stork’s Nest farm and hotel complex, owned by Prime Minister and ANO leader Andrej Babiš.
Babiš is suspected of having orchestrated a plan for his farm to acquire a 50 million crown EU subsidy which should technically have been out of his reach. The spokeswoman of the European Commission told the Czech News Agency on Friday that the Czech authorities have removed the Stork’s Nest farm and hotel complex from the list of projects co-financed by EU subsidies. Police have requested the lower house of Parliament to strip Babiš and his deputy Jaroslav Faltýnek of their parliamentary immunity opening the way for criminal prosecution.
The two politicians were earlier charged with EU subsidy fraud but their prosecution was halted when their regained their immunity in October’s general elections.
Two fifths of Czechs plan to attend church during Christmas
Some two fifths of Czechs are planning to visit a church over Christmas, even if they don’t regard themselves as Christians, suggests a survey by the STEM agency released on Thursday.
According to the poll, less than one tenth of Czechs attend a church at least once a month.
Around 33 percent of respondents said they believe in God, a six-percentage point drop compared to 1995, when the agency carried out the first such poll.
Biathlete Gabriela Koukalová named sportswoman of the year
Czech biathlete Gabriela Koukalová, a double Olympic silver medallist at Sochi and a two-time World Championship winner, was named Czech Sportswoman of the Year at a gala event on Thursday night.
The 28-year old athlete has been suffering from leg pain this season and it is not yet clear whether she will take part at the Olympic Games in South Korea.
Javelin thrower Barbora Špotáková, who won a gold medal at the World Athletics Championships in London this year, finished second, followed by tennis player Karolína Plíšková, the first woman singles tennis player from the Czech Republic to become world number one.
Trpišovský appointed new manager of Slavia Prague
In football, Slavia Prague have announced the appointment of Jindřich Trpišovský as its new manager. Trpišovský, who will replace the previous manager Jaroslav Šilhavý, has been the manager of Slovan Liberec. Under his leadership, the north Bohemian club twice qualified for the preliminary group stage of the Europa League
Saturday is expected to be overcast with occasional rain showers and daytime temperatures ranging between two and six degrees Celsius.