News in brief for Aug. 23: Top headlines for Czechia on Wednesday

Historian's dismissal sparks controversy, Bohemians 1905 fined for their fans, and more headlines for Wednesday, Aug. 23.

Expats.cz Staff ČTK

Written by Expats.cz StaffČTK Published on 23.08.2023 08:30:00 (updated on 23.08.2023) Reading time: 4 minutes

law Agrofert ordered to pay CZK 1.2 million tax bill

The Financial Administration has ordered Agrofert Holding to pay a tax of over CZK 1.2 million for advertising in the Čapí hnízdo (Stork Nest) conference center, which is now part of Agrofert. The tax authorities labeled Agrofert's advertising practices as a criminal offense. This suspected tax evasion linked to the Farma Capi hnízdo company is under police investigation.

Čapí hnízdo was initially part of Agrofert, then became a separate firm, and later was included in SynBiol, another holding of former Prime Minister Andrej Babiš. Tax officers found that 21 Agrofert companies purchased advertising services from Farma Čapí hnízdo for over CZK 190 million over six years, justifying the tax imposition due to the lack of proof regarding the legitimacy of advertising costs.

crime Police detain alleged attacker of Ukrainian women

Police have identified the driver of the Škoda Octavia suspected of assaulting two Ukrainian women in Plasy, northern Pilsen, on Aug. 13. The driver is currently being interrogated, and criminal proceedings are underway, although no charges have been filed yet, Novinky reports.

The two women, aged 34 and 44, were attacked by the driver after he learned they were Ukrainian, and one of the victims suffered facial fractures. The attackers initially confronted the women, verbally abusing them, before resorting to physical violence. The police are still searching for the identities of two other men who were also involved in the incident.

economy Czechia to ask for lower EC loan than anticipated

The Czech Republic will ask for a significantly lower loan from the European Commission (EC) than the initially proposed CZK 137.4 billion. Education Minister Mikuláš Bek said the loan will be around CZK 20 billion crowns, and that investments in infrastructure and education will be financed through other means, such as the state budget, rather than relying on an EC loan.

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Bek emphasizes the importance of establishing a robust investment program with a longer horizon, extending beyond mid-2026. EU member states file loan applications to the already approved National Recovery Plan, which the EU created to mitigate the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

emergency Fire in Zlín Region triggers highest alarm level

An extensive fire in a building housing workshops and shops in Otrokovice, in the Zlín Region, triggered the highest level of alarm. Firefighters from 27 units and approximately 50 pieces of equipment are battling the blaze, which remains uncontrolled. Fortunately, no injuries have been reported.

The fire began in a car repair shop but quickly engulfed the entire premises, including a hardware store and florist. Its cause and the extent of damage are yet to be determined. While no hazardous substances are involved, local authorities advise residents to close windows and avoid smoky areas, anticipating traffic disruptions in the vicinity.

society Historian's dismissal sparks controversy

Czech historian Tomáš Petráček has been terminated from Charles University's Catholic Theological Faculty, allegedly due to pressure from bishops. Faculty dean Vojtěch Novotný cited budgetary reasons for the dismissal. Charles University's management is investigating the situation. Catholic priest and theologian Tomáš Halík strongly objected to the firing, emphasizing the importance of open debate within the Church.

Petráček was involved in a call to remove the conservative Alliance for the Family from state structures, which sparked controversy in the Czech church environment. He also criticized the Church's involvement in political matters, particularly its association with populist politicians.

sports Bohemians fined for rowdy fan behavior

Prague football club Bohemians 1905 has been fined EUR 23,750 by UEFA for fan misconduct during their UEFA Europa Conference League match against FK Bodø/Glimt in Prague on Aug. 3. The fines break down as follows: EUR 10,000 for offensive fan shouting, EUR 6,000 for pyrotechnics and fires, EUR 4,000 for blocking staircases and exits, and EUR 3,750 for objects thrown onto the pitch, according to their site.

Despite their long-awaited return to European competition after 36 years, Bohemians 1905 did not progress to the next round. They lost to FK Bodø/Glimt 0-3 in Norway and 2-4 in Prague, with the latter match taking place at Sparta Prague's stadium due to Bohemians 1905's arena not meeting UEFA requirements.

weather Severe storm wreaks havoc in Brno

Around 6 p.m. last evening, a powerful storm swept through Brno, resulting in uprooted trees, damaged roofs, and disruptions to the Brno-Chrlice train line. The South Moravian fire department responded to approximately 65 incidents between 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. Most of these were in Brno and mainly involved fallen trees, as well as roof damage.

Train services were interrupted due to a fallen tree damaging the traction line, prompting the introduction of replacement buses. A subsequent storm formed in Znojmo around 7 p.m., moving towards Brno's southern area, but no further damage was reported.

sports Czech hurdler fails to qualify for World Athletics Championships final

Nikoleta Jíchová's hopes of reaching the finals in the 400-meter hurdles at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest were dashed as she finished sixth in the semi-finals with a time of 55.01 seconds, still short of the Olympic qualifying mark of 54.85 seconds.

Despite improving by nine-hundredths of a second, Jíchová acknowledged that her technique and run were better than the previous day but had hoped for a faster time. The semi-final featured tough competition, including last year's silver medalist Femke Bol from the Netherlands, who secured her place in the final with a time of 52.95 seconds.

work Government in talks with unions over draft budget recovery package

Government representatives engaged in discussions with trade unions and employers yesterday regarding potential modifications to the draft budget recovery package. However, no conclusive decisions were reached during the meeting, and leaders of the government parties are scheduled to make the final decision on Wednesday, according to Finance Minister Zbyněk Stanjura.

The changes are meant to regulate agreement-based work registrations, and reduce the state budget deficit by CZK 97.7 billion in the coming year and up to CZK 150.7 billion in 2024 and 2025 combined. The package involves amendments to 63 laws, focusing primarily on eliminating tax exemptions and streamlining processes. The government aims to approve the package by year-end for implementation in 2024.

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