EU slams Czech Republic over public finances

The European Union has criticised the Czech Republic over the state of its public finances. EU finance ministers called on Prague to tighten its budget policy in order to reduce the public finance deficit to below three percent - and as quickly as possible. This year the Czech Republic's budget deficit is set to reach 4 percent of gross domestic product, breaking a Czech government pledge to keep it below 3.3 percent. Tuesday's reprimand had been expected and is set to be followed by a similar admonishment later this year.

Meanwhile, Czech Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek said the EU had given its backing to government plans to reform the Czech Republic's welfare and taxation systems.

Klaus: Prague and Warsaw should exchange info on missile talks

The Czech Republic and Poland should exchange information on talks with Washington over the possible building of parts of a US anti-missile defence shield in their states, the Czech president, Vaclav Klaus, said after talks in Warsaw on Tuesday with his Polish counterpart, Lech Kaczynski. For his part, Mr Kaczynski expressed gratitude for the support Poland received from the Czech Republic at a recent EU summit. The two leaders said their states would continue to support one another.

Senator accused of racism over recording

The League against Anti-Semitism have accused independent senator Liana Janackova of racism following the release of a recording on which she appears to say the way to deal with difficult Romany neighbours is to blow them out with dynamite. She also appears to admit to being a racist and an opponent of the integration of Romanies. However, Ms Janackova, who is also mayor of a district of Ostrava, denies either making the comments or being a racist. A Romany rights organisation has put the recording on its website.

Czech Army begins rotation of troops in Kosovo

The Czech Army has begun rotating its soldiers taking part in an international peace-keeping mission in Kosovo. Around 70 members of the army's 11th contingent left Prague for Kosovo on Tuesday, with some of the troops they are replacing travelling in the opposite direction. The Czech mechanised battalion in the province numbers almost 450 soldiers. Their commander Milan Schulc said their main task was to ensure a secure environment for political negotiations on the future of Kosovo.

Three Ukrainians arrested over "slave labour"

Czech police have arrested a group of Ukrainians alleged to have forced Ukrainian and Bulgarian citizens into "slave labour", the website iDnes reported. Three Ukrainian men are accused of luring workers to the Czech Republic, then taking their passports and forcing them to work under inhumane conditions. The three have been charged with people trafficking. Police in Ukraine are searching for a fourth member of the gang. The case was uncovered by a special Czech police unit set up to tackle "slave labour".

Bomb find disrupts traffic in Plzen

Traffic in Plzen was disrupted on Tuesday following the discovery of an unexploded World War II bomb. Workers at the site of a new hotel being built in the city discovered the device, which was estimated to weigh 250 kilogrammes. The surrounding area was cleared as police waited for bomb disposal experts to remove it.

Police investigating dangerous switch to higher voltage

Police in Klatovy, west Bohemia are investigating an incident in which somebody last week broke into an electrical transformer station and briefly increased the voltage in local homes from low to high. Voltage of 15,000 kilowatts caused fridges, television and microwave ovens to explode. A spokesperson for power producer CEZ said that if any local people had touched an appliance at that time they would not have been likely to survive.

Apples studded with nails found in Prague Zoo gorilla enclosure

Wardens at Prague Zoo found five apples studded with steel nails in the run of its gorilla enclosure on Tuesday morning. A spokesperson said the animals' lives had been in danger. Prague Zoo's gorillas are constantly monitored by an internet TV project; there are now plans to also monitor the area outside their enclosure.

Nedved holding out for higher salary from Juventus

Former Czech football international Pavel Nedved has so far failed to agree new terms with Juventus. Nedved, who is 34, is said to be unhappy that some other players at the Italian club are better paid than he is. The daily La Stampa reported that the Italian league champions Inter Milan were keen to take advantage of a possible breakdown in talks between Nedved and Juve in order to sign the veteran midfielder themselves.


It should be rather wet over the next few days though forecasters are promising sunshine - and temperatures of up to 30 degrees Celsius - by the weekend.