News State budget posts 9.5 billion crown deficit in May
The state budget showed a 9.5 billion crown gap at the end of May, posting a deficit for the first time since the beginning of this year, while in April it showed a surplus of almost 27 billion, the Finance Ministry said on Monday. The figure is nevertheless the best May result since at least 2000, the ministry said. In May of last year, the budget showed a deficit of nearly 40 billion crowns. The budget approved for the entire year envisages a deficit of 112 billion crowns.
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The coalition partners have agreed on the introduction of electronic cash registers, the head of ANO’s deputies group Jaroslav Faltýnek said after a meeting of the three parties on Wednesday. He said the Christian Democrats, which had previously had reservations over the internet-connected fiscal devices, had come around to the idea. The system, which has been slammed by the opposition, should be launched at the start of next year.
A dozen or so mainly young people protested against the presence of the head of France’s National Front, Marine Le Pen, at the Czech Chamber of Deputies on Wednesday. The protesters held up signs accusing Ms. Le Pen of being a fascist and denouncing the fact she had been allowed to speak in the lower house. The controversial politician was a delegate at a conference organised by Jiří Janeček of the marginal Civic Conservative Party.
MPs from Finance Minister Andrej Babiš’s ANO party are preparing a bill that would end tax breaks for biofuels by June 30. The opposition TOP 09 had been demanding such a move by that date, which is when a programme approved by the European Commission supporting biofuels comes to an end. TOP 09’s Miroslav Kalousek said Mr. Babiš’s company Agrofert would use the scheme to tunnel the state budget. The lower house is due to debate the legislation in a fortnight’s time.
The minister of education, Marcel Chládek, has postponed a ceremony planned for Thursday at which the president was due to name new professors. The move follows President Miloš Zeman’s announcement that he would not appoint three nominees. A large number of academics said they would boycott the event as a protest against Mr. Zeman’s move, which they have strongly condemned. Citing their pasts, the president rejected the nominations of Jiří Fajt, Ivan Ošťádal and Jan Eichler.
Members of the Russian motorbike gang the Night Wolves have attended a ceremony in the Orthodox section of Prague’s Olšaný cemetery honouring the victims of WWII. Around 15 people wearing the emblems of the gang attended Wednesday’s ceremony. Police intervened to break up clashes between the bikers and opponents at the entrance to the cemetery, where supporters were also gathered. Czech officials said the controversial Night Wolves, who are close to Russian president Vladimir Putin, would need a permit to cross the Czech Republic.
Three people have been remanded in custody on charges of planning a terrorist attack on a train. They were among six arrested in a series of raids carried out last week that reportedly uncovered an explosive device in a flat in Brno. Lidovky.cz said the raids had been targeted against anarchists suspected of having carried out at least five arson attacks, including on police vehicles and a police station. Police officers told the news site that the attacks were the work of the group Síť revolučních buněk (Network of Revolutionary Cells).
Police in riot gear detained 12 people in a raid on the Cibulka squat in Prague on Wednesday morning. Dozens of squatters had ignored police calls to vacate the former farmhouse in the Prague 5 district. The move follows a criminal complaint from the owner of Cibulka, who said he was prevented from entering the building on Tuesday evening. The farmhouse, which is in a state of disrepair, has a history dating back to the 14th century.
A key soccer league game this weekend is to be overseen by a Spanish referee, the chairman of the Czech FA, Miroslav Pelta, told the daily Sport. Mr. Pelta said for security reasons the name of the referee would only be announced shortly before Sparta Prague’s game against Viktoria Plzeň in the capital on Saturday. Defending champions Sparta are trailing Plzeň by three points but can lift the title if they win their remaining four games.
Tuesday’s heatwave broke temperature records around the country. The highest temperature –just over 29 degrees Celsius -was registered in the town of Vyšsí Brod, south Bohemia. In Príbram meteorologists registered a high of 25.4 degrees breaking a hundred year old record. According to a long-term forecast issued by the Czech Hydro-meteorological Institute temperatures throughout the month of May are expected to stay above-average.
At a ceremony at Prague Castle President Miloš Zeman underlined the courage of those who fought for their liberty in the Prague Uprising despite the fact that the liberating US and Russian forces were near and they could have waited for their freedom. The president also spoke of the heroes who had fought with the western allies and were mercilessly persecuted and jailed by the communists in the 50s. No free and democratic country jails its heroes, the president said.