Daily news summary
Czech government approves purchase of site of Roma camp at Lety
The Czech government has agreed to the purchase of a pig farm at the site where a camp for Roma was created during WWII. The conditions for the purchase of the farm at Lety, near Písek, was agreed with the private owner, the company AGPI, two weeks ago. A final go ahead came during the government meeting on Monday. The Czech Republic has frequently come under international fire for the presence of a pig farm at a camp where hundreds of Roma died from illness and the harsh conditions. Most of those who did not die at the Lety camp were later shipped to Nazi death camps with few surviving. The financial compensation for the farm owners has not been revealed.
Czech farmers’ association seeks more flexible policy towards agricultural reform
The Czech Association Of Private Farmers has warned of the consequences for the agricultural sector of proposed reforms of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) for the Czech sector. They warned that the Czech Republic, because of the large average size of many farm holdings is likely to lose out, as EU reforms look like they will shift more support towards smaller family farms. The association suggested the Ministry of Agriculture adopt a more flexible attitude towards the proposals made so far and work on polices that would mean more farmers can claim EU support in the future. Talks about the shape of the CAP after 2020 have started in part because of the likely reduced EU budget after Brexit.
Czech minimum wage raised by 11 percent
The government decided at its meeting on Monday to raise the minimum wage by 1,200 crowns, or 11 percent, to 12,200 crowns a month from the start of January. The final decision represents a compromise between the increase of 1,500 crowns sought by unions and the 800 which employers pushed for. Employers have cautioned though against further significant rises in future years. The government estimates that after the increase the minimum wage should amount to 40.5 percent of the average wage in the country.
Czechs commemorate 49th anniversary of Soviet-led invasion
Czechs have paid homage to the victims and remembered the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia on the 49th anniversary of the event. A traditional commemoration took place at Czech Radio’s Prague building, the focus for clashes between the invading troops and citizens. An all day concert was scheduled to take place in Prague’s Wenceslas Square. Commemorations also took place in the second city, Brno, and other towns and cities. Speaker of the lower house, Jan Hamaček, stressed the importance of strong allies and membership of NATO as one lesson that should be drawn from the events of 1968. The Soviet led invasion was prompted by Moscow fears about the liberalisation taking place in Czechoslovakia under the then Communist leadership from the mid-1960s.
Šumava park authorities mull ban
Park authorities in the Šumava National Park are to decide on whether bans on public access to parts of the park should be introduced following heavy storms over the weekend which felled hundreds of trees.
The problem is at its worst in the southern section of the park where are many paths and cycle routes. Authorities have already warned the public to stay out of forest because of the danger of more trees falling. The tidy up operation is expected to take weeks.
Tax system under fire from watchdog
Frequent changes to taxes for individuals have led to a more complicated system both for payers and the Czech administration, the country’s main watchdog, the Supreme Audit Office, has announced in a report. It said that changes were often made with the finance ministry unaware of the precise impact they would have on the overall budget.
The watchdog surveyed the changes between 2012 and 2015. It added that some changes, such as obligatory electronic filing of tax returns for some payers, had led to unlawful fines because tax offices could not contact payers if their declaration was faulty and decided just to penalize them.
Czechs dominate WTA rankings
In tennis, the Czech Republic has for the first time two players at number one positions in the women’s WTA rankings. In the doubles, Lucie Šafářová is in the top position thanks to her semi-final position at the Cincinnati tournament last week alongside fellow Czech Barbora Strýcová. In the singles, Karolína Plišková holds onto her first place after Romanian rival Simona Halep failed to win in the final at the US tournament.
PM, hundreds of attendees, honour victims of Romani Holocaust at Hodonín memorial
Around 200 people, including Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, on Sunday honoured the memory of victims of the Romani Holocaust at a memorial at Hodonín near Kunštát. This August marks 74 years since Moravian Roma families, interned at a concentration camp there during the Nazi Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, were forced into transports and sent to the Auschwitz death camp in Poland where the vast majority died. Honouring the dead, Prime Minister Sobotka said every memorial to the victims of the Holocaust was a memorial against hate.
Tennis: Plíšková hangs on to No. 1 spot thanks to Muguruza
Czech tennis player Karolína Plíšková will hang on to the women's world number 1 spot despite losing in the semifinal in Cincinnati this week. She would have been replaced in the top spot in the ATP rankings by Romanian player Simona Halep if the latter had won the final. Instead, Halep lost badly to Spanish-Venezuelan competitor Garbine Muguruza: the final score was 1:6, 0:6.
The weather on Tuesday is expected to be sunny in the far west but cloudy with sunny intervals in the rest of the country. Top temperatures will range between 19 and 23 degrees Celsius.