The government on Wednesday approved compensation for farmers who suffered losses due to last year’s droughts amounting to 600 million crowns. The financial support should be aimed mainly at small producers, Agriculture Minister Marián Jurečka wrote on his Twitter account. The compensation will go to farmers whose harvest last year was at least 30 percent lower than the average harvest in the previous three years. They should receive around ten percent of their average expenses. Corn, potatoes, hops and sugar beet growers were among those most affected by last year’s exceptionally dry weather.
Czech President Miloš Zeman has approved the so-called electronic cash registers, one of the flagship measures of finance minister Andrej Babiš, president’s spokesman Jiří Ovčáček informed on Wednesday. The minister says the measure, which had been fiercely opposed by opposition Civic Democrats and TOP09, will curb tax avoidance to the tune of 18 billion crowns a year. Opponents of the electronic cash registers which would become obligatory for nearly all transactions, argue that it will add another burden to small business and will not deliver on the promise of extra tax revenues.
The ANO party of businessman Andrej Babiš would win elections to the lower house of parliament with 28.2 percent of the vote, according to the results of an opinion poll conducted by the STEM agency published Wednesday. The Social Democrats would get 18.5 percent, the survey suggests. ANO has sustained a nearly 10-percentage point lead over the Social Democrats since February. The Communist Party would finish third with 14 percent, followed by the Christian Democrats and Civic Democrats, both with 9.6 percent and TOP 09 with 6.3 percent.
The Czech Republic will send half a billion crowns to Turkey by the end of 2019 to help the country deal with the migrant crisis. The timetable for the payments was approved by the cabinet on Wednesday. Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek said the payments will also depend on whether Turkey is able to control the migrant flow. This year, the Czech Republic is expected to send about 162 million crowns (around six million euros). The EU and Turkey recently agreed on a deal that would see nearly all migrants returned from the Greek islands in return for a financial aid from EU and the reopening of EU accession talks with Turkey.
The government has approved extraordinary financial support to the tune of 20 million crowns for the so-called Klokáneks, children’s homes operated by the Fund for Children in Need, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka announced in a press release on Wednesday. The charity focusing on children who suffered abuse, were abandoned by their families or are otherwise threatened, has faced long-term problems with financial management for years. Last year the charity was forced to close down several of its facilities when its debts reached over 127 million crowns and it faced the threat of property seizure.
Members of an economic forum at the Žofín palace in Prague, attended by
Czech president Miloš Zeman and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, have
signed over 30 trade agreements covering various areas. One of them
concerns the canal linking the Elbe, the Oder and the Danube, the Czech
president said. Among the Czech companies signing contracts with Chinese
firms are Škoda Auto, J&T finance group, Czech export bank and Czech
Aeroholding, the sole shareholder of Prague Airport.
Groups of anti-Chinese protesters and the supporters of the Chinese president have gathered near the palace. Police had to intervene to deal with a few minor clashes between the two groups. The area around the Žofín palace has been cordoned off and tram services along the Vltava embankment between the National Theatre and Mánes has been suspended.
Prague Mayor Adriana Krnáčová met with her Beijing counterpart Wang Anshun at the Old Town Hall on Wednesday. Mr Anshun is part of the delegation of Chinese president Xi Jinping, who has come to Prague for a three-day official visit. The mayors of Prague and Beijing have signed memorandums concerning development of the tourist industry and zoological gardens. They also agreed to cooperate in the fields of culture, education, health and investment. Prague City Hall has recently approved a partnership agreement with Beijing, in which it pledged to recognise the principle of One China.
The current visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping could help China become at least in part more like Europe in the field of human rights, the Czech minister of foreign affairs, Lubomír Zaorálek, said on Czech Television on Tuesday night. He was reacting to comments from Mr. Xi, who he quoted as saying at a state dinner that the world wished to see universal human rights but different phases of development had to be taken into account. Mr. Zaorálek said a strategic partnership treaty and a series of memoranda signed between China and the Czech Republic were the result of 18 months of work that Prague had put into relaunching relations with the world’s most populous state and rejected suggestions that the Czech Republic had behaved in a servile manner toward Beijing.
The head of the Czech Roman Catholic Church, Cardinal Dominik Duka, has called on the Chinese president to respect human rights. At a state dinner in Prague for Xi Jinping on Tuesday night the cardinal – who was a dissident in Communist Czechoslovakia – handed the Chinese leader a letter saying religious freedom for all faiths could not return to his country without a respect for civic and human rights. He also gave Mr. Xi a book on the work of poet and painter Bohuslav Reynek; a recent Reynek exhibition in China was rejected by the Chinese Ministry of Culture due to its religious content, the cardinal said.
The Czech Republic’s footballers drew 1:1 with Sweden on Tuesday night in their last friendly before the European Championship. The Czechs, with nine changes to the line-up that lost 1:0 to Scotland last week, went behind to a goal from Marcus Berg before Matěj Vyrda equalised for the visitors. The Czech Republic will be in a group with Spain, Turkey and Croatia at the Euros, which get underway in France in mid-June.
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