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Zeman and ANO leaders oppose public sector pay demand

President Miloš Zeman agrees with Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and Finance Minister Alena Schillerová that a 10-percent pay rise in the state administration next year – which is being proposed by trade unions – would be wrong. The latter quoted Mr. Zeman after the two ANO politicians met the head of state and his team of experts at his Lány retreat near Prague on Saturday.

The government is planning a 15 percent salary increase for teachers in 2019 and 6 percent raise for other state employees, such as fire and police officers and clerks. However, union leaders want such employees to get 10 percent more.

Ms. Schillerová said she, Mr. Babiš and Mr. Zeman believed that there should be a debate on pay rises. However, a 10 percent rise would cost the state an extra CZK 5 billion and would not be appropriate, she told reporters.

Minister creates commission to audit church restitution

The Social Democrat minister of agriculture, Miroslav Toman, is creating a commission to oversee an audit relating to the restitution of church property, the newspaper Právo reported on Saturday. Mr. Toman told the daily that the commission – due to start work at the end of this month – would focus on the forestry agency Lesy ČR and other bodies under his ministry that had in the past handed anything over to churches under divisive legislation passed five years ago.

The recently installed government of ANO and the Social Democrats say that financial settlements made to churches in lieu of property seized by the Communists after 1948 should be taxed. That was a demand of the present-day Communist Party for supporting the minority coalition on key votes. Critics say the move is akin to imposing a charge on a robbery victim.

TOP 09 chief ponders firing assistant over investment in flats for poor

The leader of the opposition TOP 09 party, Jiří Pospíšil, says he is considering sacking his assistant over the latter’s business dealings, iDnes.cz reported. The news site iRozhlas.cz reported that Jan Zedník had bought scores of apartments in the Most area with a view to capitalising on disadvantaged tenants that are mainly living on social welfare.

Though Mr. Zedník, who is a member of the Civic Democrats, said he invested in the properties to secure funds for his retirement, Mr. Pospíšil has called on him to provide an explanation of the whole matter, iDnes.cz said.

Hundreds visit Prague home of Karel Čapek

Hundreds of people visited the one-time home of writer Karel Čapek in Prague’s Vinohrady district on Friday. The Prague 10 district authority opened the villa to the public in connection with this year’s 100th anniversary of the foundation of Czechoslovakia.

The country’s first president, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, and famous journalist Ferdinand Peroutka were among the First Republic figures that used to meet at Čapek’s home.

Prague 10 Town Hall said there was so much interest in visiting the villa, which it is planning to renovate, that a second open day will be held on August 9.

Ogrodníková second in javelin at London Diamond League meeting

The Czech Republic’s Nikola Ogrodníková came second in the women’s javelin at a Diamond League athletics meeting in London on Saturday afternoon. Ogrodníková, who is 27, was beaten by Huihui Lyu of China; her best throw 65.54 metres was 18 centimetres longer than the Czech’s.

Champions Plzeň get off to winning start in new league season

The reigning domestic football league champions Viktoria Plzeň got off to a winning start in a game that raised the curtain on the 2018–2019 season on Friday evening. The West Bohemians came from behind to beat Dukla Prague 3:1 in the capital, with all three goals coming in the final quarter of the game.

Having never previously won the league, Plzeň have lifted the title five times since the 2010–2011 season.

Weather forecast

It should be quite sunny with the chance of storms in the Czech Republic on Sunday, with temperatures of up to 27 degrees Celsius expected. Daytime highs will then climb to reach around 30 degrees Celsius by the end of the week.