The government is set to earmark nearly 4 billion crowns in the next five years to support digital literacy, according to a strategy for digital literacy approved by the government on Thursday. Over three fifths of the sum will be covered by European funds while the rest will be paid by the state. The financing will be used for courses and training as well as for establishing digital centres for the public. The strategy, put forward by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, also aims to provide better access to the Internet for people from low income groups.
The government on Thursday agreed to increase tax credits for parents with two or more children. Next year, parents will be able to deduct more from their tax for second and third children. At present, parents get an annual tax credit of 13.400 crowns for the first child, 17,000 crowns for a second child, and 20,600 crowns for every subsequent child. In 2017, parents will be able to deduct 2,400 crowns more from their tax returns for a second child and 3.600 crowns more for every child thereafter.
The Czech art market saw a record Spring season this year, according to preliminary data released by the Czech art investment website artplus.cz. Collectors and investors spent about 570 million crowns at Czech auctions so far in 2016, which is the highest sum in the country’s history. Last year‘s mid-season turnover stood at 480 million crowns. The increase is fuelled by a highly competitive market and increasing quality of the offer. The most expensive painting sold this spring was Josef Čapek’s painting ‘In June’ which sold for 17.5 million crowns.
Three fifths of Czech children spend most of their summer holidays at home, a survey carried out by Profi Credit, a company providing financial and credit services, suggests. According to the survey, two thirds of Czech families prefer to go on family holidays, while about one fourth spend summer at a cottage. The survey also suggests that over 60 percent of Czech kids spend summer at their grandparents’ or other relatives’ and 59 percent go to a summer camp or sports training camps. Czechs plan to spend on average 17,000 crowns on their summer holidays.
Prague City Hall insists on exhibiting the Slav Epic series by art nouveau painter Alfons Mucha in Japan and China as part of a travelling exhibition in 2017 and 2018, despite criticism from restorers who worry that the paintings could be damaged by transport. They have called on the Ministry of Culture not to approve the loan. Prague councillor Jan Wolf told the Czech News Agency that the aim of the exhibition was to promote the Czech Republic and Prague. He also said the paintings have travelled abroad already during Mucha’s lifetimes. The loan has also been opposed by the grandson of the painter, John Mucha.
The government on Thursday passed an amendment to existing legislation which lowers the age of castration for sexual offenders in the Czech Republic from 25 to 21 years. According to Health Minister Svatopluk Němeček, castration will only be performed based on a patient’s request. Ombudswoman Anna Šabatová was against the move, arguing that the effects of surgical castration are irreversible and can have negative health impacts. She also said younger people are not able to assess its consequences. The new legislation will also improve the system of supervision of people in protective therapy.
Czech based computer anti-virus and security company Avast Software is set to acquire its Dutch rival AVG Technologies for nearly 32 billion crowns (some 1.3 billion dollars). According to the Reuters agency, the company made the move to expand its presence in emerging markets. Avast provides both free and paid for security software for PCs and mobile devices and has more than 230 million users worldwide. After acquiring its Dutch rival, the number of users will exceed 400 million.
The Czech Republic recorded a foreign trade surplus of 18.2 billion crown in May, which is an improvement of 7.7 billion crowns compared to the same month last year. At the same time, it is the lowest foreign trade surplus figure recorded so far this year. In previous months, it always exceeded 20 billion crowns. Exports in machinery and cars were among the main factors fuelling the surplus.
The Autonomous Social Center Klinika in Prague’s Žižkov district will reopen to the public on Thursday after being closed for several weeks. A court in Prague has cancelled the preliminary ruling, which prevented the centre from operating. The centre, which helps the homeless and migrants, was forced to close down at the beginning of March after it wasn’t allowed to extend its lease on the grounds that the building had been certified as a health facility and could not legally serve other purposes. Just a few weeks before, Klinika was attacked by extremists during an anti-migrant demonstration in Prague.
In basketball, the Czech men’s team kept their hopes alive of a place in the Olympics in Rio this summer. They beat Japan 87:71 in a qualification tournament being staged in Belgrade. The Czech now face highly fancied Serbia with another win needed to book the Olympic place. The match takes place on Friday night.