A planned new north south link of the Prague metro, the so-called D route, would begin with construction of the section between Pankrác south to Olbrachtová, Prague city’s transport’s council decided on Wednesday, according to the Czech Press Agency. The reason for that section to be given priority is the relative ease of buying the required plots of land. The route would later be continued south in the direction of Pisníce, Another section should connect Pankrác with the centre of the city and Náměsti Míru. The cost of the link is put at around 50 billion crowns.
The government on Wednesday backed a three-year Ministry of Interior plan setting out how best to protect and react to possible terrorist attacks on so-called soft targets. The plan calls for a public campaign to tell people how to react and possible training of selected workers. Steps should also be taken at some possible targets, such as shopping and sports centres and tourist resorts, to prepare for attacks and how to limit casualties, for example, from follow-up attacks, the plan adds. The report to the government warns that it appears that terrorists will increasingly target soft targets characterised by high concentrations of people.
A proposal from Minister of Finance and ANO leader Andrej Babiš to tax the earnings of one crown bonds issued by private companies was agreed by the government on Wednesday. The proposal was put forward by Babiš as a member of parliament in the lower house. The move would in theory introduce taxes on the bonds from the start of next year. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has cast doubts on whether the legislative steps can be taken before lower house elections in October for the proposed law to take effect. Babiš got into trouble for alleged tax dodging when it was revealed that he was the sole buyer of such tax free bonds which were issued by his company Agrofert in 2012. He has said the move was completely legal but later suggested taxes be re-imposed on such bonds.
Fathers will be entitled to a week’s paid leave under a health insurance amendment backed in the upper house of parliament, the Senate, on Wednesday. Fathers will be able to take the week within six weeks following the birth of a child with 70 percent of the normal wages paid. Government ministers say the move should encourage fathers to be more involved in the raising of their offspring. The move, which now needs only the signature of the president to become law, was backed by 58 out of the 77 lawmakers present. Around 100,000 Czechs are born every year.
Average prices demanded for new flats in the capital Prague have risen by 21.2 percent in February compared with the situation a year earlier, according to a survey by the consultancy Deloitte. The average price per square meter has climbed to 88,500 crowns amid a severe shortage of new built flats. The offer of new flats has fallen by 40 percent over the last two years. Prices for new flats are estimated to have climbed by around a third since 2014.
The Czech economy should grow on average by around 2.7 percent in the coming years but slow down to annual growth of 2.4 percent in 2020, according to a collection of forecasts collected and released by the Ministry of Finance. Specifically, economic growth is seen at 2.6 percent this year, rising to 2.7 percent in 2018 and falling back to 2.6 percent in 2019. The forecast sees the Czech crown strengthening to around 25 crowns a euro. The main drivers of growth should be domestic demand and public spending.
The average mortgage rate in the Czech Republic climbed to 1.95 percent in March, up from the 1.87 recorded the previous month, according to market analysts Fincentrum. In December the figure was 1.77 percent. The rise follows the implementation of new legislation on consumer loans in the final month of 2016. A Fincentrum analyst said he expected a gradual rise in interest rates. Over 10,000 new mortgage deals were signed in March, the highest number in four months.
Up to 30 centimetres of snow fell in the Jeseníky Mountains in the northeast of the country during Tuesday night. Gritting trucks and snow ploughs were deployed but some routes around the towns of Jeseník and Šumperk were scarcely passable on Wednesday morning. Other parts of the Olomouc region were also hit by snow during the night, as were areas in South Bohemia, Moravia Silesia and a number of other regions around the Czech Republic.
Jičín in northeast Bohemia has been named Czech historical town of 2016. The award – which comes with CZK 1 million for further preservation work – was presented by the minister of regional development, Karla Šlechtová, in a ceremony at Prague Castle on Tuesday. Jičín, which has a population of around 16,500, boasts Renaissance, Baroque and Gothic architecture. It is connected with the nobleman Albrecht von Wallenstein and the popular fairytale character Rumcajs.