Czechs last year spent roughly 7.5 billion crowns (the equivalent of around 31.4 million euros) on books, a rise of around five percent year-on-year, according to the Association of Czech Booksellers and Publishers. The rise amounts to an increase of between 300 and 400 million crowns. The increase marks a turnaround after several years’ stagnation; according to the association, spending on books increased due to a lowering of the VAT rate on books as well as the improving economy.
Participants in a meeting on Monday of the so-called tripartite of the unions, employers, and the government have agreed to boost paid sick leave in the case of long-term illness. The government is hoping to tack one of three possible options discussed so far onto a health insurance amendment; The prime minister has already said he will back a proposal put forward by Labour Minister Michaela Marksová, counting on a rise of six percent in paid sick leave from the 31st day off. The cabinet is to table the issue on Wednesday.
The former head of the Plzeň-based Škoda Transportation, 51-year-old Social Democrat Josef Bernard, was elected governor of the region of Plzeň on Monday, receiving 23 of 45 votes from new councillors elected in October. The Communist Party’s Oldřich Bubeníček, meanwhile, was elected for the second straight term as the governor of the region of Ústí, receiving 28 of 55 votes.
The Regional Court in Brno has decided to suspend a prison term of 4.5 years being served by lobbyist Roman Janoušek, by one year, due to the state of the prisoner’s health. Mr Janoušek, serving jail time for his role in a hit-and-run in Prague under the influence of alcohol, has long complained of complications following brain surgery. He will resume his sentence in November of next year.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka continued a series of work assessment meetings with government ministers, meeting on Monday with Justice Minister Robert Pelikán. The premier asked the justice minister to pick up the pace for the preparation of the insolvency law and the law on free legal aid; Mr Sobotka stressed these were of particular importance as they were intended to help individuals in difficult life situations. The prime minister is looking for ways to improve government results (as well as those of his own Social Democratic Party) ahead of parliamentary elections next year; he has four more meetings with ministers scheduled this week.
Czech tennis player Tomáš Berdych will finish this year back in the Top 10 (in tenth spot) in the ATP rankings; it is the seventh time in a row he will end the season among the top players. Earlier, Berdych briefly fell outside the Top 10 and also failed to qualify for this year’s ATP World Tour Finals tournament which was won by Andy Murray of Great Britain.
Renovation of the country’s D1 highway should be complete by 2020, but in order for the target to be met the tempo of construction along remaining sections of the throughway will need to be sped up, Transport Minister Dan Ťok confirmed on Monday. The D1, running from Prague to Brno, is heavily used and has a number of sections in need of repair or improvement. Renovation has been ongoing for a number of years, leading to significant traffic delays in areas during the holidays. According to the Czech News agency, repairs could continue on the D1 in nine places simultaneously next year.
A painting by Czech artist Emil Filla fetched an auction price of 8.0 million crowns in Prague on Sunday. The new owner will in fact pay around 10 million crowns when auction fees are taken into account. A reserve price of 6.8 million crowns had been put on the painting, Figure of a Woman (Polopostava ženy) which dates from 1912. The painting was restituted from the National Gallery. The record price for a Filla painting on the domestic art market remains at 17.5 million crowns and was paid three years for the painting, Painter (Malíř).