Czech morning news in brief: top headlines for May 21, 2021

Million Moments demand resignation of Czech justice minister, paternity leave to be extended in Czech Republic, and hotels face slow season. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 21.05.2021 08:44:00 (updated on 21.05.2021) Reading time: 4 minutes

Prague protesters demand resignation of Justice Minister

Protesters expressed concern about the independence of the judiciary, the Babis government, and Milos demand and the threat to independent media at a rally of the Million Moments for Democracy group in the center of Prague Thursday, demanding the resignation of Justice Minister Marie Benešová. Organizers stressed that the new supreme state attorney after the resignation of Pavel Zeman should not be appointed by the current government of Prime Minister Andrej Babiš who is facing criminal charges, but by the cabinet determined in the autumn election. The police estimated the number of demonstrators at 4,000-5,000. Additional rallies are planned for outside of Prague for May 27. If Benešová does not step down, Million Moments said it will stage a protest march through Prague, past the Justice Ministry seat, on June 1.

Czech, Israeli government to have joint meeting soon

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Czech Foreign Minister Jakub Kulhánek agreed to hold a joint meeting of their governments during Kulhánek's visit to Israel Thursday. Prime Minister Andrej Babiš spoke about the possible joint meeting of the governments last year already, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, it has not taken place. The meeting is to be held in the Czech Republic, Kulhánek said, however, given the complicated internal situation in Israel no concrete deadlines were suggested. Netanyahu and Kulhánek also spoke about the ongoing conflict with Palestinian forces with the Israeli PM expressing thanks for the country's support. He said he believed that given the positive epidemiological situation in Israel and the improving situation in the Czech Republic, the latter will be soon able to welcome inoculated Israeli tourists. The Czech Republic and Israel have been organizing this type of inter-governmental dialogue since 2011 with the countries alternately playing the host role.

Paternity leave in the Czech Republic to be extended

A total of 150,000 brand-new fathers, over two-fifths of new fathers in the Czech Republic, have taken the available week-long paternity leave to stay with their newborn child and the mother at home since February 2018, when paternity leave was introduced. Fathers who have regularly paid sick insurance are entitled to seven days of paid leave during the first six weeks after their child's birth, receiving an allowance of 70 percent of their wage. The state spent CZK 831 million on paternity leave from February 2018 to the end of March 2021, according to new statistics released by the Labour and Social Affairs Ministry. In 2018 the CSSD registered a total of 43,442 cases of paternity leave. In 2020, 45,959 fathers took paternity leave, and in the first quarter of 2021, 11,292 fathers took the leave. Paternity leave was introduced in the Czech Republic as a step to get fathers more involved in child care. As of August 2022 at the latest, paternity leave should be extended to at least ten days based on the European Union directive for harmonizing professional career and family, which the member countries are bound to transpose into their legislation.

Hotels in Prague, Brno to see only 30-percent maximum capacity

Accommodation facilities will be able to reopen to guests for recreational purposes from Monday but a survey conducted by the Czech Association of Hotels shows that demand for the summer season is likely to be lower than last summer as almost half of Czech hotels face a shortage of guests from abroad and conference events. The association predicts that hotels in Prague and Brno will be used at a maximum of 30 percent this year; reservations at Prague hotels for the summer are lower than ten percent, and for June, occupancy is above ten percent. On average, people pay less than CZK 1,000 for a double room, which is an 80 percent drop compared to 2019. A large number of hotels, especially in the capital, will likely close again due to a lack of foreign tourists, and many will go bankrupt this year. Upon arrival, guests will be required to show a negative PCR or antigen test not older than 48 hours. For stays longer than seven days, an additional test will be required. Guests with a vaccination certificate or proof of Covid-19 in the past 90 days will also be permitted to stay. The government should approve an extension of this period to 180 days.

Tanec Praha contemporary dance festival to start on June 2

The international contemporary dance festival Tanec Praha will be held in two phases this year, opening on June 2 with the show "Graces" by Italian choreographer Silvia Gribaudi. The headliner of the festival is Greek theatre director Dimitris Papaioannou. Papaioannou is set to stage his "Transverse Orientation" at a world premiere in the Laterna Magika National Theatre building. The summer part of the festival will be held in Prague; the second part of the festival will be held in September, starring American dancer and choreographer William Forsythe and his show "A Quiet Evening of Dance" scheduled for September 11. The festival focuses on an active audience, bringing spectators of all age groups on the stage and making them both active participants and viewers.

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