News Lower house approves debt-brake mechanism
The lower house of Parliament on Wednesday approved a debt-brake mechanism that would prevent future governments from borrowing and spending beyond their means. The bill sets a debt ceiling at 55 percent of GDP, lower by five percent than that outlined in the EU’s fiscal compact. It also envisages the creation of a fiscal council which would monitor adherence to the criteria set down. According to the proposal regions and municipalities would also need to have balanced budgets. The bill, which still needs to be approved by the Senate and signed by the president, should come into force on Jan 1, 2017.
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A Czech Railways train is to be named after Jiří Menzel, director of the Oscar-winning film Closely Observed Trains. The Prague to Beroun line will bear the filmmaker’s name from December 11, when a new annual timetable is published. Mr. Menzel is the first living person to receive such an honour, a spokesperson for Czech Railways said. At present 169 train lines are named after famous people or geographical phenomena, such as composer Antonínem Dvořákem or Mount Říp, and the list will be expanded by around 30 with the new timetable.
It should be partly fair on Monday with temperatures of around 0 degrees Celsius. Temperatures will rise toward the end of the week, when rain and snow are expected.
Air pollutant emissions levels were breached on around 40 percent of the territory of the Czech Republic last year, in large part due to extremely warm weather that led to higher concentrations of ground-level ozone and particulate benzo(a)pyrene, iDnes.cz reported on Sunday, citing an annual Ministry of the Environment report. However, the study found that the environment had not deteriorated, despite economic growth that led to increased construction work and energy consumption.
A painting by Czech 20th century painter Jan Zrzavý has sold at auction in Prague for almost CZK 13 million. Field on Ile de Sein II became the second most expensive work by the artist in the sale held by the Dorotheum auction house. Zrzavý’s painting was well received at a 1934 exhibition organised by Czechoslovak arts association Umělecká beseda before also finding success at an international show in Brussels the following year.
The Czech cabinet will on Monday consider a list of 29 political parties that the Ministry of the Interior has said should be barred. The government may call on the Supreme Administrative Court to halt the activities of such groupings as National Democracy, Alternative for the CR and Citizens.cz. The court could also order the dissolution of 13 parties whose activities it has currently suspended. In May the Chamber of Deputies proposed that 81 parties that had not made public full financial reports for the previous year be ordered to cease operations.
Around 500 people demonstrated in central Prague on Saturday against a freshly introduced system under which businesses’ sales are relayed to an online taxation database in real time. The Wenceslas Square gathering was organised by the Association of Entrepreneurs and Managers and two other groups. The association’s chairman,, described the system – the first part of which went into full effect on Thursday – as instrument of state despotism and spying on business people. Finance Minister Andrej Babiš says it will curb tax evasion.
The leader of the UK Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, has called on socialists across Europe to unite and take on the rising threat from the far right during a speech in Prague. Speaking on Saturday at a Party of European Socialists conference hosted by the Czech Social Democrats, Mr. Corbyn said populist "siren voices" offered the wrong solutions. He warned that the populist right often identified the correct problems, but their solutions were “the toxic dead ends of the past”. The PES conference comes to a close on Saturday.
Czech Gabriela Koukalová came third in the sprint in Sweden’s Oestersund on Saturday for her first podium finish this season in the Biathlon World Cup. The 27-year-old won the competition last year under her maiden name of Soukalová. Koukalová’s coach Zdeněk Vítek told Czech Television that she had produced a super display in the second World Cup meeting of 2016–2017.
It should be cloudy with some fair spells on Sunday. Temperatures are not expected to climb above 0 degrees Celsius. Daytime highs are likely to hover around freezing for much of the next week, forecasters say.
The Institute of the Czech Language at the Academy of Sciences is to start bringing out a new interpretative dictionary of Czech at the turn of the year, Czech Television reported. The first part will deal with the letter A and will only be available online. Other letters are to be added in the coming years, with the authors set to decide at a later date whether to also bring out a print edition. The entire project will be a lot narrower in scope than a previous dictionary of literary Czech published between 1960 and 1971, Czech Television said.