Czech finance minister Andrej Babiš has weighed into the debate about his flagship measure, electronic cash registers. At a conference in the eastern city of Olomouc on Wednesday the minister said that more restaurants opened than closed in December last year after the introduction of his measure to counter the gray economy and tax fraud. He added that restaurant turnover had risen by 100 percent. Many other associations and groupings argue that pubs and restaurants closed ahead and after the introduction of the so-called EET measure. A grouping of local councils argued that 700 pubs closed for good as a result. Babiš gave no specific figures during the conference.
Companies in the Czech Republic are among the highest European users of the Internet to sell their goods and services, according to the industry association SPIR. Figures released Wednesday showed around 56 percent of companies relied on the Internet for sales and purchases in 2015. That’s the third highest figure out of the 28 EU countries and trailing just Denmark and Austria. The association though slammed government efforts to boost Internet interaction between the state and citizens.
The US intelligence service, the CIA, has released around 13 million pages of formerly secret documents which the public has recently had only limited access to. Many of the documents, dating from 1947 to the 1990s, relate to former Czechoslovakia. These include, for example, documents from 1947 relating to the state of Czechoslovak tank forces. And another document from 1954 suggesting that the army had short range battlefield nuclear weapons.
Czech member of the European Parliament Pavel Telička has been elected one of the parliament’s deputy presidents. He will join 14 other MEPs chosen to become deputy presidents for the newly elected People’s Party president, Italian Antonio Tajani. Telička is a member of the ANO party and was the chief negotiator ahead of the Czech admission to the European Union in 2004.
Mortgage rates in December stayed at their record low levels of a month earlier averaging 1.77 percent according to the Hypoindex monitor. But the volume and number of loans dropped sharply on November, down by around 12 billion crowns at 17.7 billion crowns. Some lenders altered their conditions followed a new law giving existing borrowers greater freedom to pay back loans without penalty.
A Prague court will on Wednesday start deliberations about the future of the famous series of paintings by Alphonse Mucha, the Slav Epic. Mucha’s grandson has brought proceedings on the grounds that Prague City Hall has broken the terms of a 1928 agreement under which the artist donated the paintings. The terms called for the city to find a permanent site for their exhibition for the Czech people. Grandson John Mucha is protesting the fact no such site has still been found and that the city plans to loan them on an Asia tour due to start next month.
In ice hockey, Sparta has booked a place in the Champions League final after beating Sweden’s Vaxjo Lakers in the return home leg on Wednesday night in front of a record crowd of 12,136. Sparta won 4:0 after already edging Vaxjo in the away match 2:1. Sparta will face another Swedish team, Frolunda, in the final which will be played in the Swedes home town of Gothenburg.
The Czech labour authorities caught more foreigners than Czechs working illegally for the first time ever last year, iDnes.cz reported on Wednesday. While 1,338 non-nationals were uncovered working off the books in 2016, the number of Czechs was 758. The previous year the figures were the other way around, iDnes said. The highest number of undocumented foreign employees came from Ukraine, Vietnam, Slovakia and Moldova. Fines totalling CZK 71 million were imposed on employers using illegal workers last year.
A Czech man accused of knowingly spreading the HIV virus has been arrested in Thailand, the Czech News Agency reported on Wednesday, quoting AP. Zdeněk Pfeifer, who is 49, is wanted in the Czech Republic on charges of not informing dozens of male lovers that he had HIV; at least three contracted the disease. Thai police said Mr. Pfeifer had been on the island of Phuket on a tourist visa that expired in 2015.
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