Czech morning news in brief: top stories for Jan. 27, 2021

Taxi industry hit by COVID, parliament rejects limited legalization of cannabis, and Petr Sís releases book on Sir Nicholas Winton.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 27.01.2021 09:16 (updated on 27.01.2021) Reading time: 3 minutes

ECONOMY: Taxi usage fell by "up to 90 percent" says association chair

Taxi drivers are struggling to survive, with the chairman of the Association of Czech Taxi Drivers, Petr Polišenský, estimating for Aktuálně.cz that sales to taxi drivers fell by up to 90 percent year on year. "This is associated with the termination of the activities of passenger transport drivers. The termination of business is about 20 to 25 percent of entrepreneurs in our field," Polišenský calculates. The state, which has approved a contribution of CZK 500 per day, is now also trying to help drivers. The server reports that Liftago was also impacted last year recording a drop in sales by 34 percent. Read more here.

BUSINESS: Lowest number of new companies in Czech Republic since 2003

Over 16,000 companies ceased to exist in the Czech Republic in 2020, 353 more than the year before. 27,228 companies were established, which is the lowest number in six years. In total, there were 11,117 more companies in the Czech Republic, which is the least since 2003, according to analysis from CRIF data. The number of defunct companies began to increase significantly during 2015 and the trend continued in the past few years. Last year, the number of newly established companies also fell again. There were 2842 fewer of them than in 2019. The number of new companies decreased by a tenth year-on-year. 

POLITICS: Parliament rejects legalisation of cannabis

The Czech Chamber of Deputies has rejected the limited legalization of cannabis, proposed by 40 lawmakers from six deputy groups who wanted people to be able to grow and process up to five plants without the threat of being punished. At the proposal of the SPD, the draft amendment to the addiction substances law, primarily backed by the Pirates, was rejected by 55 out of the 89 deputies present in the opening round of the procedure.

Zdeněk Ondráček (KSČM) for the opposition said, "the people who use addictive substances for a long time, which includes marijuana, pass into the stage in which they have the IQ of a macaque."

The drafters of the legislation argued that limited legalization of cannabis would curb the black market and reduce the associated crime. By contrast, the lower house supported the government motion under which medical cannabis might be legalized, introducing its licensed deliverers, in the first round of the procedure.

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CULTURE: New Petr Sís book on Sir Nicholas Winton published in the U.S. and U.K.

Today marks International Holocaust Remembrance Day and a new book by the acclaimed Czech-American artist and writer Petr Sís dedicated to the story of the savior of hundreds of children, Sir Nicholas Winton, has been published. Nicky & Věra is published in English in New York and London and will be released in Czech in the autumn of 2021 by Labyrint, as well as in Germany, France, South Korea, and China, Joachim Dvořák told ČTK on behalf of Labyrint. The full-color cartoon edition is intended for children and their parents. The story of an inconspicuous hero is a fascinating testimony that the efforts and determination of one person can reverse the story, says the publisher. 

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This new book is coming out tomorrow in New York and London on Holocaust Day. In other languages in the fall. — I would...

Posted by Petr Sís [Peter Sis] on Tuesday, 26 January 2021

SPORT: Professionals can take part in Jizerská 50 ski run

This year's Jizerská 50 cross-country skiing event will be open to professional skiers as the Health Ministry has granted it an exception from anti-epidemic restrictions, but it is not clear yet if amateur skiers will be allowed to contest the event. The elite 50-km annual race will take place in the Jizera Mountains, north Bohemia, on Sunday, Feb. 14, and the sprint contest will precede on Friday. More than 5,000 amateur skiers have registered for the competition. Nevertheless, it is not known yet whether they will be allowed to take part in the event. The main Visma Ski Classic race registers 150 male and 30 female professional skiers who will run in the 54th CEZ Jizerská 50 cross-country race.

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