• ANO would win elections with 29 percent of vote in July, poll shows

    08/12/2020

    The currently ruling ANO party, led by Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, would win an election into the Chamber of Deputies with 29 percent of the vote, according to a poll conducted by the Public Opinion Research Centre (CVVM) conducted in July. The opposition Pirate Party would come in second with 14.5 percent of the vote, followed by the Civic Democrats who would receive 12 percent. In total, eight parties would get into the lower-house.

    The Social Democrats, who are ANO’s current coalition partner, would receive 9.5 percent of the vote, slightly less than when measured in June. The Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia would be voted by 7.5 percent of the electorate and the Christian Democrats by 6.5 percent. CVVM measured that the Freedom and Direct Democracy movement would receive 6 percent and the Mayors and Independents would scrape into the Chamber of Deputies with 5.5 percent.

    The TOP 09 party would not be able to cross the 5 percent threshold to remain in the lower-house, according to the poll, as they would receive just 3.5 percent of the vote.

    Author: Tom McEnchroe
  • Social and health insurance contributions in Czech Republic among highest in CEE region, study shows

    08/12/2020

    At 33.8 percent, Czech companies and employees pay some of the highest social and health insurance contributions when compared with other Central and Eastern European states, a new study conducted by tax advisory firm Mazars shows. These costs are higher only in Slovakia, where the same groups have to pay a contribution of 35.2 percent.

    Meanwhile, at 27 percent, Hungary has the highest value added tax rates. With its minimum rate of VAT at 10 percent, the Czech Republic is still above the regional average, according to the Mazars’ study.

    With an average private sector net salary of EUR 1,025, Czechia trails behind Germany (EUR 2,221), Austria (EUR 2,131) and Slovenia (EUR 1,241), but tops the list when compared to other Visegrad Four countries, Mazars’ data states.

    Author: Tom McEnchroe
  • Infamous Prague “beer bikes” could return this weekend

    08/12/2020

    Saturday will see the end of the Prague City Hall ban on vehicles serving alcohol to tourists while driving through the capital’s centre. The “beer bikes”, as these devices are commonly referred to, were banned earlier this year. However, the decision had to be cancelled after a court ruling stated that the ban is not within the competencies of City Hall, but has to be made by the respective road authorities in individual Prague districts.

    Deputy Mayor Adam Schienherr has sent a letter to Prague districts asking them to approve the cancellation of beer bikes on class I roads themselves in cooperation with City Hall.

    Author: Tom McEnchroe
  • Weather

    08/12/2020

    Temperatures are set to rise to between 30 and 32 degrees Celsius on Thursday.  Cloudy skies are expected across most of the country except for Prague, where showers are likely and North East Bohemia, where the sky will likely be clear.

    Author: Tom McEnchroe
  • Czech Senate votes to condemn “violent and disproportionate” police crackdown in Belarus

    08/12/2020

    The Senate of the Czech Republic voted in favour of a resolution that condemns the police crackdown on Belarusian protesters. The document, shared by Senate Speaker Miloš Vystrčil states that the police reaction is a “violent and evidently disproportionate” crackdown on Belarusian citizens who protested against “an undemocratic and unfair election”.

    The Senate also called on the Czech government to “resolutely condemn the violence of President Lukashenko’s regime and conduct all possible steps to support civil freedoms in Belarus”.

    Author: Tom McEnchroe
  • Court sentences Czech man to six years in jail for ordering poisons from USA

    08/12/2020

    The Regional Court in Zlín has sentenced a 27-year-old Czech man diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia to six years in jail and security detention on Wednesday after a joint Czech police and FBI investigation discovered that he had been ordering deliveries from the United States of highly poisonous dimethylmercury and abrin on the dark web in 2017 and 2018.

    The defendant argued that he intended to use the poisons for committing suicide, but State Prosecutor Marek Vagai said in his closing speech that this statement had been refuted during the trial and that the amount of the poisons ordered could have killed tens, even hundreds of people.

    The substances were smuggled in ampules inside a children’s toy and in a clock. However, it was found that the ampules actually did not contain the poisons, despite the defendant believing he was storing them at home.

    The prosecution had originally charged the defendant with planning a terrorist act for which he could have been sentenced to up to 15 years in prison, but this was dismissed by the judge, because the defendant was not planning to use the substances in such an attack. The court verdict can still be appealed.

    Author: Tom McEnchroe
  • Slavia Prague football team could continue training despite player testing positive for COVID-19, hygienist says

    08/12/2020

    Despite one of the players of Slavia Prague testing positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus last week, the Czech top-flight football team could continue training for next season. The director of Prague’s Hygienic Office, Zdeňka Jágrová, told the Czech News Agency that those players who test negative could realistically continue to train, if they do so in the same small groups. The decision depends on how many have the infection. The team is set to be tested for the virus on Friday, she said.

    The hygienist confirmed that the infected player has not been in contact with the other players for a week and that he was immediately isolated after showing symptoms of the coronavirus.

    Due to the COVID-19 infection, Slavia was forced to end its training camp in Austria on Tuesday and the team has since returned to the Czech Republic.

    Author: Tom McEnchroe
  • Czech antivirus giant Avast’s net profits up by 14.5 percent in first half of 2020

    08/12/2020

    The net profits of one of the world’s largest free antivirus software providers, Avast, grew by USD 169,8 million, some 14.5 percent, in the first half of 2020, the Czech News Agency reports citing the company’s press release.

    The number of Avast users who have chosen to opt in to the company’s paid protection services rose by 5.1 percent in the same period as the trend of working from home during the coronavirus pandemic led to an increase in demand for Avast’s portfolio of products, including paid antivirus software. However, the vast majority of Avast users continue to use the company’s free antivirus.

    Avast CEO Ondřej Vlček stated that an organic growth in profits is expected for the whole 2020 fiscal year in the upper-middle range of single digit numbers.

    Author: Tom McEnchroe
  • Pompeo meets with Czech and American tech firms to discuss cyber security and economic development

    08/12/2020

    US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with representatives of five Czech and American technology companies at the American Embassy in Prague on Wednesday morning. The talks revolved around global cyber security and economic development, the Czech News Agency reports.

    From the Czech side, the meeting was attended by Avast CTO Michal Pěchouček, the general manager of Cisco in Czech Republic Michal Strachník, Milena Jabůrková from IBM, the chairman of the board of the software and electronic hardware company Y Soft Václav Muchna and Lubo Smid, the director of software design company STRV.

    Cyber security, one of the main themes of Secretary Pompeo’s visit, will also be discussed later in the day when he meets with Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš.

    Author: Tom McEnchroe
  • Sláma’s Shadow Country to close Uherské Hradiště Film School

    08/12/2020

    The 46th Uherské Hradiště Film School is set to close on Wednesday evening with the world premiere of Shadow Country by Czech director Bohdan Sláma. The film traces life in a village on the Czech-Austrian border between the late 1930s and early 1950s and was partly inspired by a massacre of ethnic Germans in South Bohemia shortly after the end of the war.

    This year’s edition of the Uherské Hradiště was delayed and shortened because of the Covid-19 situation.

    Author: Ian Willoughby

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