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05-08-2019

Social Democrat leader tells PM 2020 draft budget “unrealistic”

The leader of the junior coalition party in government, Jan Hamáček of the Social Democrats has written an open letter to Prime Minister Andrej Babiš of ANO regarding the proposed draft budget for 2020 over which the two parties are at odds.

Mr. Hamáček wrote that the draft proposal was "unrealistic" and his party’s ministries alone would fall short of 20 billion crowns, meaning that the government would not be able to fulfil its policy program and promises to voters.

While the Social Democrats are not in favour of exceeding the proposed 40 billion crown budget deficit they would like to see the government increase the state revenues – through steps such as a bank tax.

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš earlier ridiculed the demand, saying the Social Democrats have spending in their genes.

Czech Railways to pay hefty fine for abuse of dominant position

The state-owned provider Czech Railways will have to pay a hefty fine for allegedly abusing its dominant position on the market in freight transport in the years between 2005 and 2014.

According to the Czech anti-monopoly office by its behaviour, the company violated both Czech and European competition laws.

However following an appeal, it reduced the original fine from 368 million crowns to 274 million crowns for the transgression.

The decision is now legally binding and Czech Railways has no further means of appeal.

Prague Pride kicks off in Czech capital

The ninth edition of Prague Pride festival celebrating sexual minorities gets underway on Monday with a concert on Střelecký Island. The week-long festival offers over a hundred events, including debates, film screening and exhibitions. It will culminate on Saturday with a massive parade through the centre of the city, which is expected to attract around 30,000 people.

The festival’s headline this year is Together Within Reach, which refers to the fact that even today, many same-sex couples still prefer to refrain from public displays of affection.

Police and army most trusted institutions in the country

The police force and the army are the most trusted institutions in the Czech Republic, according to a poll conducted by the STEM agency.

The police force enjoys the trust of 72 percent of Czechs, the highest trust-rate in 22years, while the army has a 75 percent trust rating.

Trust in the police force has steadily grown since the fall of communism when it underwent reform and started projecting a new image.

In 1997 the police had a 25 percent trust rating, last year it was 65 percent. Trust in NATO has also seen a rise and is now at 60 percent.

Prague mayor demonstrates graffiti clean-up techniques

Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib and the man responsible for the unauthorized clean-up of the graffiti on Charles Bridge Miloslav Černý will be presenting a variety of new graffiti clean-up techniques to the public on Monday.

Originally the work of two German tourists was to have been removed by experts in restoration of historic monuments which was to have lasted close to three weeks.

Černý, who makes a living cleaning-up graffiti from Prague buildings secretly cleaned it up overnight with steam and hot water, saying later that the longer it stayed the deeper it could penetrate into the stones. He received thank you mails from hundreds of Czechs.

The mayor said the authorities would have to learn to move faster, so as to prevent the need for guerrilla actions on the part of the public. However he is paying Černý for his work.

Brno hosting 28th International Guitar Festival

The Moravian metropolis is hosting the 28th International Guitar Festival Brno featuring flamenco, jazz as well as classical music.

The week-long festival offers visitors seven concerts as well as masterclasses by leading guitarists and a competition for talented musicians.

The main competition prize is a guitar by Masaki Sakurai.

Among this years’ participants are David Carmon, Ana Latorre, Maria Linnemann, Sieggfried Steingolder, Paul Galbraith, Nikita Koshkin and Marco Battaglia.

Weather forecast

Tuesday should be partly cloudy to overcast with scattered rain showers and daytime highs between 26 and 30 degrees Celsius.

05-08-2019