News in brief for May 20: Škoda ends its shared e-scooter service in Prague

The top headlines for the Czech Republic on Saturday, May 20, 2023, updated throughout the day to keep you up to speed. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 20.05.2023 08:03:00 (updated on 20.05.2023) Reading time: 4 minutes

Economy Czech state collects CZK 790 billion in taxes, up CZK 90 billion

The Czech Republic collected a total of CZK 790 billion in taxes over the course of 2022, according to draft data released this weekend by the government. The number represents an increase of CZK 90 billion over 2021, with revenue from almost all forms of taxes aside from fuel taxes seeing an increase last year.

Value-added tax (VAT) saw the most significant increase in 2022, up CZK 47 billion more than the previous year. VAT generated a total of CZK 536 billion in 2022, with roughly two-thirds (CZK 345 billion) going towards the state budget and the remaining revenue allocated for regional and municipal use.

Sports Czechia takes on Norway in World Hockey Championship

The Czech Republic's national ice hockey team is set to play its fifth match in Group B at this year's Ice Hockey World Championship. The team, led by coach Kari Jalonen, will face Norway in Riga from 11:20 a.m. Prague time, and a win would secure their place in the quarterfinals.

Norway, which has scored the fewest goals (5) of all teams in the ongoing championship, has only beaten the Czech Republic once. That was in 2010 when Jaromír Jágr and his teammates failed to overcome the underdogs, but the Czech team went on to win the gold medal that year.

Politics President Pavel notes improved Czech-German relations

During a visit to Selb, Bavaria, Czech President Petr Pavel expressed gratitude to Bernd Posselt, a leading representative of the Sudeten German Landsmannschaft (SL), for the improved Czech-German relations. Pavel described the current relations as the best in recent times and emphasized the importance of continued cooperation. He also urged collaboration in addressing migration issues rather than considering border closures.

Pavel highlighted the significance of supporting Ukraine in its struggle, stating that it is a fight for the preservation of European values. Pavel also discussed the need for improved transport links between Bavaria and the Czech Republic to benefit both economies. The visit coincided with the opening of the Bavarian-Czech Friendship Weeks, which include various cross-border events and activities.

business Škoda's shared scooter service ends

BeRider, a service launched by Škoda Auto DigiLab in 2019, allowing people to rent electric scooters through their app, is set to end its operations in Prague after a successful run, reports Forbes. Despite a growing customer base and increasing popularity, the company struggled to find a partner for further expansion. BeRider stated on their website that while the service had become highly popular with a rising number of rides each year, the decision was made to focus on key projects related to mobility and digital services in personal vehicles.

Over four years, BeRider users covered 4.2 million kilometers, saving 520 tons of carbon dioxide compared to car travel, addressing environmental concerns and reducing congestion in cities. In other news, China has surpassed Japan as the largest exporter of automobiles.

CRIME North Ireland extradites woman wanted in Czechia

A 38-year-old woman was arrested in Belfast, Northern Ireland, with the assistance of both Northern Irish and Czech police, reports the Belfast Telegraph. She has been extradited to the Czech Republic to serve a prison sentence for multiple thefts committed against elderly victims. The woman appeared in court for an extradition hearing before being transferred.

The Police Service's International Policing Unit emphasized that Northern Ireland will not be a safe haven for individuals seeking to evade arrest and escape the consequences of their actions. They expressed their commitment to pursuing justice for crime victims and preventing delays or denials of justice.

economy Education trade union seeks pay raise for support staff

The education sector trade union in Czechia is advocating for a 10 percent increase in average salaries for non-teaching staff in schools, who are not included in the government's promised salary boost to 130 percent of the national average pay. This includes professions such as teaching assistants, school psychologists, and cafeteria workers.

Education Minister Míkuláš Bek expressed readiness to negotiate intensively with the trade union leaders and the Finance Ministry on salaries in the education sector. The trade union recently elected a new chairman and deputy chairwoman for the next five years. However, the union's membership has significantly decreased over the years, currently standing at around 20,000 members.

CULTURE Festival celebrating elementary art schools begins this weekend

The seventh annual ZUŠ Open festival in the Czech Republic will feature 500 concerts, theater performances, exhibitions, and other events begins tomorrow. The festival involves 439 elementary art schools from across the country and will take place from May 21 to June 4. Public places such as parks, squares, and churches will come alive with art during this time.

The festival will culminate in a joint program on June 3 in the Valdštejnská garden of the Senate of the Parliament, with the participation of 800 performers from ZUŠ schools. The internationally recognized singer Magdalena Kožená, who went through the elementary art school system, is the patron of the event.

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