Finance Minister and ANO party leader Andrej Babiš has asked Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka to call a meeting of the coalition leaders as soon as possible to discuss the current government crisis, the Czech News Agency reported on Thursday. Mr Babiš said ANO will propose the name of a new candidate for Finance Minister. Mr Babiš didn’t say, however, if he was willing to leave his post and repeated that he saw no reason for his resignation.
Three-fifths of Czech families are paying off some debt at the moment, according to a survey carried out by IBRS Agency for Caritas Czech Republic. An average monthly instalment amounts to 6,700 crowns. One third of the indebted families don’t know how they would solve possible problems with paying off their debt, while two thirds said they would ask their relatives or take yet another debt to solve the problem. According to experts, net earnings below 24,000 crowns a month are regarded insufficient to provide financial security.
The European Commission has released its spring macro-economic forecast for the Czech Republic, predicting a 2.6 percent growth in 2017 and a 2.7 percent growth next year. The deficit in public spending should be around 0.3 percent of the GDP and inflation is expected to increase from last year’s 0.6 to 2.5 percent. The forecast is more optimistic than that of the Ministry of Finance, which last month lowered the projected growth from 2.6 to 2.5 percent.
The 23rd international book fair and literary festival Book World Prague gets underway on Thursday. The event, the biggest of its kind in the Czech Republic, brings together writers and publishers from all around the world, including Irish writer John Boyne and Israeli author Uri Orlev. The main topic of this year’s festival is Genius Loci in Literature: Place in the Starring Role. The event will traditionally take place in Prague’s Palace of Industry, but some parts of the programme will also be held in the new airship for literature above the DOX Gallery. The Book World Prague 2017 runs until Sunday.
Czechs recycled on average 45 kilogrammes of waste last year, including paper, glass, plastic and milk cartons. That figure was about 2.5 kilogrammes higher than in the previous year, according to the data released by EKO-KOM, a firm responsible for coordinating recycling in the Czech Republic, on Thursday. According to the latest Eurostat statistics, Czechs are in second place in Europe in terms of overall recycling of packaging waste.
Prague’s Pink Tank, a symbol of the fall of communism in the country, has been installed at Komenský’s Square in Brno, as part of an exhibition organised by the Moravian Gallery. The tank, originally a monument to Soviet tank crews who liberated the city in 1945, was painted pink by the artist David Černý in 1991, and soon thereafter taken to a military museum outside Prague. On Thursday, the pink tank was put on display in Brno to be featured in an exhibition called Tribes 90, curated by Artist Vladimir 518.
Czech president Miloš Zeman is set to leave for China on Thursday. During his six-day official visit, he is set to meet with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin. He is also scheduled to speak at a conference on the new Silk Road project. Three ministers from the Social Democratic Party, the minister of the interior, Milan Chovanec, Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek and the minister of health, Miloslav Ludvík, who were originally set to take part in the visit, have pulled out of the trip in view of the current government situation.
Thousands of people took to the streets of Prague and several other Czech towns on Wednesday evening to protest against Finance Minister and ANO party leader Andrej Babiš and President Miloš Zeman. The biggest rally took place in Prague, with around 20,000 people gathering on Wenceslas Square in the centre of the city, calling on Mr Babiš to leave the government. The organisers of the event said more protests were to follow if their demands were not met. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka last Friday proposed the dismissal of Andrej Babiš to the president over continuing corruption allegations and unexplained financial dealings. The president has refused to do so, arguing that such step would be in contravention of the coalition agreement.
The number of wild lynx and wolves in the Beskydy forests on the eastern border between the Czech Republic and Slovakia remains stable, according to researchers drawing on the results of the latest winter surveys. They found the number of adult lynx at around 15 and the number of wolves at three, the same number as estimated during the previous count a year earlier. One bear also made sporadic visits from across the border in Slovakia. The number of lynx and wolves has been tracked in the area for at least the last 12 years.
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