Acting Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs Jan Hamáček (Social Democrats)
arrived in Damascus on Thursday to take over and return home two people
working for a German humanitarian organisation who had been held by the
Syrian government. They had been arrested months ago near the Iraqi border
for allegedly crossing the border illegally.
The Czech Republic is currently the only EU country with an ambassador in the war-torn country and carried out the negotiations with the consent of authorities in Brussels.
During a meeting with his Syrian counterpart, Mr Hamáček strongly condemned the use of chemical weapons and stressed perpetrators must be brought to justice. He also said the withdrawal of Iranian forces from the Israel-Syria border area would contribute to stability in the region.
A study commissioned by Prague City Hall on traffic and air pollution has
found that more two-thirds of gaseous pollutants are generated by just 10
per cent of the vehicles operating in the Czech capital.
Many of these vehicles have missing or faulty exhaust systems or diesel engines in poor condition, the study found. The Prague municipality is now looking at ways to improve the city’s air quality, which could include measures such as introducing a congestion tax.
Harmful pollutants such as nitrogen oxide, sulphur dioxide, mercury and dust particles are a leading cause of respiratory diseases and result in an estimated 11,000 premature deaths in the Czech Republic each year.
The General Directorate of Finance (GFŘ) says it has records of the
untaxed revenue of Czech Airbnb hosts dating back to 2015 and will soon
begin collecting them, the daily Hospodářské noviny reports.
Apart from back payments, the tax authority plans to impose penalties of up to 40 per cent. The GFŘ also considers Airbnb hosts to be subject to VAT payments for the fees Airbnb charges.
In Prague, Airbnb hosts may also owe fees to the municipality, which can charge a penalty of up to 500,000 crowns for failing to register for local taxes.
Mothers who stay at home with children for a shorter period tend to earn
more upon returning to work than those who take longer maternity leaves,
according to a new study, the daily Hospodářské noviny reported.
Under current law, a parental leave benefit is paid monthly for a period of up to four years. Parents can opt to draw down more money over a shorter period, with the monthly allowance currently capped at 32,640 crowns.
The new study by economist Barbara Pertold-Gebická found that mothers with a university education take shorter maternity leaves.
The US Department of Energy plans to move its European regional office to
Prague from Sofia, with the decision reportedly influenced by
Westinghouse's interest in building new nuclear blocks in the Czech
Republic and the growing influence in Central Europe of Russia and China.
The US Embassy in Prague confirmed the planned move but did not comment on the reasons behind it beyond saying in a statement that the European region office works to promote energy security, non-proliferation, scientific cooperation, and American commercial interests in the region.
Consumer price inflation slowed to 2.3 per cent in July from 2.6 per cent
in June, the Czech Statistical Office said on Thursday.
Compared to July 2017, housing and fuel prices, in particular, grew while prices for clothing, footwear and telecommunication services dropped.
Fuel and oil prices rose by 12.6 per cent year-on-year in July, the cost of electricity increased by 5 per cent, and residential rental prices grew by 3.2 per cent.
Czech writer Karel Čapek’s villa will briefly open to the public on
Thursday, despite an ongoing reconstruction. Visitors will be able to
admire Čapek’s library and personal archive with some of its original
The 1920s villa, where Capek hosted intellectuals and cultural figures of the time, opened to the public on July 20th to mark the centenary of the birth of Czechoslovakia and the public interest was overwhelming. The renovation of the villa should be concluded by 2021.
An audit by the Finance Ministry at the General Inspectorate of the
Security Forces (GIBS) has revealed irregularities in financing, the
ministry’s spokesman Michal Žurovec told Czech Radio.
The ministry has reportedly filed a criminal complaint on the grounds of the findings.
According to Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, who commissioned the audit, inspectors found irregularities in the distribution of a 15 million crown sum.
Mr. Babiš said the results of the audit had confirmed his fears and justified his decision in calling on the institution’s former head Michal Murín to resign.
The remains of the three Czech soldiers killed in a suicide bombing in
Afghanistan have been flown back to the Czech Republic where they have been
hailed as national heroes.
A special ceremony at Prague’s Václav Havel Airport was attended by President Miloš Zeman who is head of the Czech Armed Forces, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, Defence Ministry officials, family and friends. Hundreds of people turned out to pay their last respects.
The three servicemen have been posthumously promoted to the rank of officer and will be buried with military honours. President Milos Zeman will award them with medals of bravery on October 28th, the country’s national holiday.
To date 9,000 Czech soldiers have served in Afghanistan. Thirteen of them were killed. The deadliest attack, in 2014, claimed five lives.
The Czech soldiers killed on Sunday had been patrolling an area about near Bagram Air Base, the largest U.S. base in Afghanistan.