News in brief for Sept. 6: Top headlines for Czechia on Wednesday

Subterra to build second part of metro line D, Babiš criticizes government, and more top headlines for Wednesday, Sept. 6. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 06.09.2023 08:30:00 (updated on 06.09.2023) Reading time: 5 minutes

architecture Prague to pay CZK 395 million for Náměstí Jiřího z Poděbrady

The Prague municipality will pay approximately 395 million crowns without VAT for the long-planned reconstruction of Náměstí Jiřího z Poděbrady. The square has been waiting for modifications for over 20 years, and work is set to start this year.

The aim of the repairs is to create an adequate and dignified forecourt of the Church of the Sacred Heart, increase pedestrian access, and enhance the safety and attractiveness of the area. The approved document initially estimated the value of the reconstruction as CZK 309 million without VAT.

politics Czech companies urge PM to support LGBTQ+ rights

A total of 66 companies in the Czech Republic have asked PM Petr Fiala to support the adoption of the "marriage for all" law in an open letter. They argue that unequal conditions for LGBTQ+ people result in costs for employers and economic losses worth billions of euros. Fiala has expressed support for debating legislative changes to boost rights for same-sex couples.

The bill on equal marriage has been under debate since 2016, with a counterproposal to legalize only heterosexual marriage. The signatories of the appeal include major companies such as Vodafone, T-Mobile, Microsoft, and IBM.

international Czech officials take top positions in European Commission

Two Czech officials secured top positions in the European Commission, Aktuálně.cz reports. Lenka Filípková, an economist and former employee of the Czech Ministry of Finance, will become the new director at the Directorate General for the EU Budget, responsible for overseeing the expenditure side of the Union treasury.

Irena Moozová, a former employee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, will serve as the deputy head of the entire 'Ministry' of Justice at the Directorate General for Justice and Consumers.

economy Significant financial surplus for Czech regions

The finances of municipalities, regions, and voluntary associations of municipalities in the Czech Republic have reported a surplus of CZK 61.2 billion in the middle of the year, which is 19.9 percent higher compared to the same period last year, according to data from the Ministry of Finance published today. Municipalities achieved a surplus of CZK 36.1 billion, and regions CZK 24.5 billion crowns.

Total expenditures reached CZK 374.8 billion with current expenditure at CZK 316.6 billion and capital expenditure at CZK 58.8 billion. Tax revenues also increased by 14.1 percent to CZK 204.9 billion. The good balance is attributed to enhanced tax collection and increased transfers.

SPORTS Muchová reaches semi-finals of US Open for first time

Czech player Karolina Muchová defeated Sorana Cirstea of Romania 6-0, 6-3 to advance to her first U.S. Open semifinal on Tuesday. The No. 10 seed Muchová needed just over an hour to dispatch 30th-seeded Cirstea and record her 10th victory in her last 11 matches. It's the deepest run yet at Flushing Meadows for the 25-year-old Muchová, who made the quarterfinals in 2020.

She'll next face American teenager Coco Gauff, who cruised past Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko 6-0, 6-2. The 19-year-old Gauff is through to her first U.S. Open semifinal and is trying to reach her second Grand Slam final of 2022 after making the French Open final.

politics Babiš accuses government coalition of abusing power

Leaders of the opposition party delivered long speeches in the lower house of Czech parliament on Tuesday. Opposition leader Andrej Babiš accused the government coalition of abusing its political power to fight against his company, while claiming that media company Mafra, sold last week by the former PM's Agrofert holding, is the most free media in the country and criticized the Constitutional Court, saying it was part of a post-communist cartel.

Babiš also accused the cabinet of Prime Minister Petr Fiala of being the most mendacious government in the country's history, claiming they have done nothing against inflation. He rejected claims that his speech was an obstruction to postpone the debate on the consolidation package.

economy Czech govt. hikes license fees for Czech TV and Radio

The Czech government coalition has agreed on a draft amendment that will increase the monthly license fee for public Czech Television (ČT) from CZK 135 to 160, and Czech Radio (ČRo) from CZK 45 to 55 starting in 2025. The fee will be expanded to include those who have devices capable of receiving public media, such as mobile phones and computers.

The amendment also includes subjecting the management of ČT and ČRo to auditing by the Supreme Audit Office. The increase in fees is expected to generate an additional CZK 1.4 billion for ČT and CZK 600 million for ČRo.

transit Subterra secures metro D construction contract

The Prague Transport Company's Board of Directors has approved the winner of the tender for the second section of metro line D. The association led by Subterra secured the contract with a bid price of approximately CZK 30 billion. The association led by PORR was excluded from the tender due to deficiencies in their offer.

The tender is currently being handled by the Office for the Protection of Economic Competition. The construction of metro line D, which began last year, is progressing with the section between Pankrác and Olbrachtová stations currently under construction.

IT Czechia sees drop in cybercrime rates in 2023

The growth rate of cybercrime in Czechia has slowed down, with 10,219 attacks registered in the first half of 2023, compared to 18,554 in 2022 and 8,518 in 2021. Approximately one in ten crimes in the country is related to cyberspace. The police chief expects the number of cyberattacks this year to be similar to last year.

While the success rate of attacks has decreased, they have become more sophisticated. Banks in Czechia recorded 31,323 clients attacked in the first half of 2023, resulting in over CZK 670 million being drawn from the banks. The financial sector continues to invest in cybersecurity to prevent serious incidents.

international Czech man arrested in Croatia for photographing children

A 66-year-old Czech was arrested by the Croatian police for taking pictures of children with a mobile phone at a beach near the city of Crikvenica. The police seized his phone and placed him in custody, according to Croatian news site Jutarnji list.

The man is suspected of committing five criminal offenses related to violating the privacy of a child. After the conclusion of criminal proceedings, a criminal report was filed against him, and he was handed over to the relevant public prosecutor's office for further action.

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