News Government to increase tax credits for parents of more than one child
The coalition parties have agreed to increase tax credits for parents with more than one child. Next year parents will be able to deduct more from their tax returns for second and third children. While the Christian Democrats, who strongly back the change, want the credits to rise even further in future years, the minister of finance, Andrej Babiš of ANO, said it was only possible to discuss changes in the short term as it was impossible to predict how the economy would develop. At present parents get a monthly tax credit of over CZK 1,100 for every child; in 2014 there will be CZK 200 more for a second child and CZK 300 more for a third.
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Up to a thousand protestors are expected by the organisers of a demonstration against Islam and immigrants in the centre of Prague on Saturday afternoon. At the same time demonstrations have been called by those opposing xenophobia and racism. The anti-Islam demonstration in Prague is part of a series of demonstrations organised in Europe and even Australia. Prague police have called in reinforcements from the Ústí region ahead of the events. Some embassies have warned their citizens to stay away from the centre of Prague.
In ice hockey, the trainer of club Kometa Brno Alois Hadamczik resigned Friday evening after a 1:6 defeat against struggling Litvinov. It was the seventh defeat in the last eight matches. Brno had been tipped at the start of the season as one of the club’s with the biggest chances of winning the league. Hadamczik is a former coach of the Czech national team.
A two-day celebration of the Chinese year will take place at Prague’s exhibition grounds, Holešovice, starting Saturday. The event is being staged for the second year by the Czech-Chinese chamber. It will feature Chinese cinema, calligraphy, crafts, and sampling of Chinese cuisine.
A second group of Christian refugees from Iraq arrived in the Czech Republic on Friday. The 17 Iraqis, comprising four families, follow a group that arrived here almost two weeks ago. Over 150 more are due to resettle in the country in the coming weeks. The Iraqis come from the city of Mosul in the north of the country, which has been taken over by Islamic State.
The number of acute respiratory illnesses in the Czech Republic grew by 10 percent this week while flu cases increased by over 50 percent, according to figures released on Friday. Seven people have died of the flu. One official said an epidemic was developing around virtually the entire country but was so far regional in nature. Central Bohemia and Moravia Silesia have been among the hardest hit parts of the Czech Republic.
A court in Norway is expected to receive on Tuesday a petition from the Czech state to be allowed to participate in a case involving a Czech woman whose two sons were put up for adoption against her will. The government says it wants to employ a Norwegian legal mechanism under which it would defend the public interest in the case. However, no state has ever taken that role and it is not clear whether the court will permit it to do so. Eva Michaláková’s appeal against losing her parental rights is due to be heard in the last week of this month.
Ai Weiwei is set to officially open an exhibition of his Zodiac Heads at Prague’s National Gallery on Friday evening. The Chinese artist and activist on Thursday covered the statues, which were erected last weekend, in gold-coloured emergency survival blankets, in what may be a reference to Europe’s migrant crisis. Ai said he was aware there was opposition in the Czech Republic to the acceptance of refugees, which he found surprising. He also referred to Václav Havel, describing the late Czech president and human rights champion as a great thinker. The exhibition is part of celebrations of the 220th anniversary of the National Gallery.
MP Petr Gazdík of the Mayors group has called on Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka to apologise to the United States after the Czech authorities freed a Lebanese man Washington wished to extradite. The opposition parties TOP 09 and the Civic Democrats have called for a lower house debate on the circumstances surrounding the release of Ali Fayad, who was wanted in the US on suspicion of supporting terrorism. The American ambassador to Prague, Andrew Schapiro, expressed shock over the move, which he said could harm cooperation between the two states’ law enforcement agencies and encourage criminal groups and terrorists. Mr. Fayad’s release came after five Czechs released in Lebanon last year were freed.
Cigarette packets in the Czech Republic will have to carry graphic images meant to deter smokers alongside the present written health warnings under a new regulation being prepared by the Ministry of Agriculture, iHned.cz reported. The edict will come into effect on May 20 and retailers will have a three-month period in which to sell off older supplies, the news site said. Agriculture Minister Marian Jurečka said the government’s main concern was making the public more aware of the risks associated with smoking and that 65 percent of the front and back of cigarette packets would now be given over to health warnings.
President Miloš Zeman is the most “trusted” Czech politician, suggests a public opinion poll conducted last month by the CVVM agency. In the regular survey Mr. Zeman climbed by 10 percentage points to leapfrog over ANO chief and Minister of Finance Andrej Babiš, who ranked second. Defence Minister Martin Stropnický, also of ANO, moved up to third in the poll, ahead of Social Democrat Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka.