News

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Government approves state budget for 2007

The government has approved a state budget proposal for 2007 with a deficit of 91.3 billion crowns, Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek told reporters on Monday afternoon after an extraordinary meeting of the cabinet at Kolodeje Chateau outside Prague. The budget has yet to be approved by the lower house of parliament.

Social Democrats criticise intelligence service head dismissal

The opposition Social Democrats have said that the Civic Democrat minority cabinet of Mirek Topolanek jeopardised the country's security when it recalled Karel Randak from the post of civil intelligence service director last week. The Social Democrats say that the government destabilised the whole intelligence system in a situation when the country is facing a terrorist threat. Social Democrat chairman Jiri Paroubek said on Monday that his party's deputies would demand explanation at Wednesday's lower house session.

The Czech capital, Prague, is in its third day of a high-alert security watch. Special security measures were enacted on Saturday, after the Czech cabinet decided to increase security measures in the capital because of a possible terrorist threat. Prague's Ruzyne airport has implemented special security measures and the city centre and other possible targets are also being patrolled by additional specialised police units.

Woman loses discrimination case

A Prague district court has rejected the complaint by 51-year-old economist Marie Causevicova against her employer, the Prazska teplarenska heating utility, in which she accused her former employer of discrimination against her on the basis of gender. The court did not support her demand for public apology in the media and financial compensation. In what is probably the first gender discrimination case on the Czech labour market, Ms Causevicova accused the company of unequal treatment in the selection of a candidate for the post of financial director. The post went to a man who Ms Causevicova says was less qualified than her. Ms Causevicova has appealed against the verdict.

Number of newborns exceeds number of deaths in first half of 2006

According to data released on Monday by the Czech Statistical Office, the number of babies born in the first half of the year has for the first time since 1993 exceeded the number of deaths. The number of the Czech Republic's citizens rose by 17,500 in the first six months of 2006 but still mostly owing to immigration. The Czech Republic currently has 10,268,607 inhabitants.

President visits Mongolia as part of Asian tour

President Vaclav Klaus has met his Mongolian counterpart Nambaryn Enchbayar in Ulaanbaatar to discuss amongst others the Czech development aid to Mongolia. President Klaus' three day visit to Mongolia is part of his 12-day Asian tour which started in the Russian city of Omsk and will continue on to China, Vietnam and Singapore. The President is accompanied by his wife, Livia, and about 40 representatives of Czech firms looking to do business in Asia. The trip is one of the most extensive that Mr. Klaus has undertaken as President. He is expected to return to Prague on October 5.

Poll: Christian Democrat MP Parkanova is most popular Czech politician

A new poll suggests that Vlasta Parkanova, the chairwoman of the Christian Democrat parliamentary party, is the most popular Czech politician. The poll, carried out by the STEM agency suggests that Ms Parkanova is followed by Prague Mayor Pavel Bem of the Civic Democrats and the chairman of the Green Party, Martin Bursik, in the third place. Civic Democrat head Mirek Topolanek came fourth and Social Democrat chairman and ex-PM Jiri Paroubek ended in sixth place.

Austrian opponents of Temelin threaten with border blockade

Austrian opponents of the Temelin nuclear power plant have threatened with repeated blockades of the Czech-Austrian border in case the plant has another defect. About 20 activists gathered on Monday near the Wullowitz-Dolni Dvoriste border crossing. The Austrians blocked the border about half a year ago for the last time. The Upper Austrian activists accused Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel of failing to push through adequate safety measures in Temelin, about 60 km away from the Austrian border. The opponents of Temelin say the plant is unsafe because it combines the original Soviet design with western operating technology.

Czech citizen arrested in drug bust

Spanish police have detained a boat off the coast of Ibiza which was transporting 2.4 tons of cocaine. There is one Czech citizen among the three people arrested; the others are Croatian and Bulgarian. It is one of the largest drug busts in the region, and police believe that they have detained people working for an international drug cartel.

Weather

The sunny and warm weather is expected to last in the next couple of days, with daytime highs of 21 degrees Celsius in Bohemia and up to 24 degrees in Moravia.