News

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Average wages rise by over 7 percent in second quarter

Average wages in the Czech Republic grew by 7.4 percent in the second quarter of this year. The average salary stood at CZK 21,462 (just over USD 1,000) in the April to July period. Accounting for inflation, the real wage increase is 4.9 percent. Analysts have put the rise down to a shortage of labour in many sectors of the Czech economy.

Interest rates at five-year high after second hike in two months

The Czech National Bank has increased interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point to 3.25. The second such hike in two months puts interest rates in the Czech Republic at their highest level in five years. However, they remain the lowest in the European Union.

Consensus needed over US radar base, says Czech president

The Czech president, Vaclav Klaus, says it is necessary to achieve a certain national consensus on the building of an American radar base in central Bohemia. Speaking after talks with US congressman Trent Franks in Prague, Mr Klaus said if the base was approved by the slimmest of majorities in the lower house it would create room for various potential problems in the future. The Czech Parliament is set to decide on the planned US base in the early part of next year.

Taxation change to benefit Czech science

Scientists in the Czech Republic are set to get an extra two billion CZK a year from the European Union, with the cancelling of value added tax duty due on chemicals used in EU-funded research, Hospodarske noviny reported. The change is part of an extensive reform package recently approved by the Chamber of Deputies. The tax had acted as something of a deterrent - the Czech Republic currently ranks 22nd in the union in terms of participation in EU scientific projects.

Slight fall in number attending elementary school

There is a slight fall in the number of pupils attending Czech elementary schools this academic year; almost 850,000 pupils are enrolled, a fall of around 25,000 compared to last year. However, there is a small increase in the number of children going into first class, said the institute for education information.

Number of school injuries down last year

Meanwhile, the country's school inspectors say there was a fall in the number of injuries sustained by children at school during the last academic year; ten percent fewer children were hurt at school than in 2005-2006. The total number of injuries in the last school year was almost 31,000, said a spokesperson for the inspectors' body.

National Theatre wants Havel to change mind over staging of play

The National Theatre hopes to reopen talks with representatives of Vaclav Havel on the possibility of staging the playwright's first work in nearly two decades, one of its directors said on Thursday. He said the institution now proposed to stage the play Leaving at its Estates Theatre. It was reported recently that Mr Havel had decided to take the long-awaited piece to another theatre, after the National Theatre refused to allow his wife Dagmar to take part in the production. The former president said he had written a key part in Leaving for her.

State loans for home improvements to be discontinued

State loans for young people to renovate their flats are set to come to an end, Pravo reported. The reason is a lack of resources at the state fund for home development, the paper said. Some 12,000 people have availed of the loan, which can be up to CZK 150,000 (over USD 7,000). There are also plans to do away with state funding for social housing at the municipal level, Pravo said.

CEZ hooking up with Hungarian oil company

The Czech energy giant CEZ is teaming up with the Hungarian oil and natural gas company MOL, the Czech website Euro OnLine reported. The two companies' first joint project is the building of two natural gas power stations, in Hungary and Slovakia.

Slavia into Champions League for first time, Sparta crushed by Arsenal

The Czech football club Slavia Prague have made it into the Champions League for the first time. Slavia reached the lucrative and prestigious competition after beating Ajax over two games; following a 1:0 win in Amsterdam, the Czech side achieved a 3:1 aggregate score with a 2:1 victory in Prague on Wednesday night. Slavia's opponents in the group stage of the Champions League will be Arsenal, Steau Bucharest and the winners of a tie between Sevilla and AEK Athens.

Sparta Prague have not qualified for the competition, after losing 5:0 to Arsenal on aggregate. A former Sparta player, Tomas Rosicky, opened the scoring in Wednesday's second leg in London, which the home side won 3:0.

Petr Cech receives award for best keeper in Champions League last season

The Czech international Petr Cech has been named best goalkeeper in last season's Champions League by European football's governing body UEFA. It was the second time the 25-year-old from Plzen received the award, which was presented at the draw for the group stage of this season's Champions League.

Sparta player apologises for Nazi gesture during game

Sparta Prague football player Pavel Horvath is the centre of controversy after twice making a seig heil gesture to the club's fans during a game against Viktoria Zizkov last weekend. Horvath has apologised for what he described as an unfortunate gesture, saying he had not meant it in a bad way. The 32-year-old could face up to three years in prison for making the illegal gesture.

Weather

It should be mostly sunny over the next few days, with rain in places. Temperatures are expected to reach a maximum of 20 degrees Celsius.