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13-02-2018

Minister for return of “defence education” to schools

The Czech minister of defence, Karla Šlechtová, wants to see “defence education” return to the curriculum of elementary and secondary schools, iDnes.cz reported on Tuesday. Such teaching was discontinued in the early 1990s following the fall of communism.

Minister Šlechtová told iDnes.cz that the Ministry of Defence had research which showed that Czech children did not know how to behave if, for instance, there was a shooter at their school. The minister also said they would learn “what it means to be a Czech”.

The reintroduction of defence education is one of the ANO government in resignation’s programme priorities.

Babiš to meet taxi drivers over anti-Uber protests

The prime minister in resignation, Andrej Babiš, has invited Prague taxi drivers protesting against Uber to meet him and other cabinet members on Wednesday. Taxi drivers have held three demonstrations in the capital in recent days against services such as Uber, which they consider unfair competition.

Mr. Babiš has also invited the minister of transport, Dan Ťok, and the minister of industry and trade, Tomáš Hüner, to attend the meeting, which will take place at the Office of the Government after a cabinet session.

Nearly 10 percent of Czechs under some form of distraint

Almost one in 10 Czechs over the age of 15 are under some form of distraint, under which their property is seized to obtain rent or other money they owe. What's more, over 150,000 people are facing 10 or more distraint orders, according to a map focused on the issue produced by the association Open Society.

The level of distraint has become worse in 12 of the Czech Republic’s 14 regions, the makers of the map said on Tuesday at a presentation of their findings on Tuesday.

The number of people facing distraint grew last year by 3.4 percent, said map author Radek Hábl. He said record low unemployment and growing wages were not helping people out of debt traps due to high interest rates on loans.

Record surplus registered in current account balance of payments

The Czech economy’s current account balance of payments ended in a record surplus of CZK 63.4 billion last year, according to preliminary figures released on Tuesday by the Czech National Bank. The current account balance of payments is a measure of a country’s total transactions with other economies.

2017 was the fourth year of surplus in succession. This is the first such period; from the foundation of the Czech Republic until 2013 the current account balance was consistently in deficit.

Slovak court rules against Babiš in dispute over StB files

The Czech prime minister in resignation, Andrej Babiš, has definitively lost a long-running dispute with Slovakia’s National Memory Institute. The Regional Court in Bratislava on Tuesday rejected a petition from Mr. Babiš, who argued that he was wrongly listed as an agent of Czechoslovakia’s communist-era secret police in the records of the Institute, which handles historical archives.

The case was being reheard after the Slovak Constitutional Court last year overturned verdicts from other courts, which had originally accepted Mr. Babiš’s assertion that he had been incorrectly listed as an StB agent.

Catholic group call on pope not to keep Duka on past 75

A group of Czech Roman Catholics have written to Pope Francis in Rome asking him not to extend the mandate of the current archbishop of Prague, Cardinal Dominik Duka, the news website iDnes.cz reported. At the end of April the head of the Czech Church turns 75, the age at which bishops are obliged to offer their resignation; it is then up to the pontiff to decide whether to ask them to continue serving the Church.

The letter was signed by around 100 lay Catholics. A representative of the group told iDnes.cz that it also had the support of some priests. A spokesperson for the Prague Archbishopric said Cardinal Duka could not respond as he had not yet read the document.

Weather forecast

It should be mainly overcast with snow in places in the Czech Republic on Wednesday. Temperatures are expected to reach up to 1 degree Celsius. More snow is forecast in the following days.

13-02-2018