News

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Portugal promises great jobs and beach to skilled workers

Portuguese Foreign Minister Diogo Freitas do Amaral has re-confirmed that his country will open its doors to workers from the former communist EU member states in May. During a trip to Prague on Monday, he said Czech labourers will not be expected to sweep the streets but will rather take up skilled jobs and enjoy the warm climate and the beach. Last year, some 16,000 Czech tourists visited Portugal; this calls for more Czech workers in the tourist industry, he said.

In addition to Britain, Ireland, and Sweden, whose labour markets have been open to workers from the EU's ten newest members since enlargement two years ago, Finland, Portugal, and Spain will open theirs in May. Greece, the Netherlands and Denmark have also indicated that they will loosen their restrictions.

Social Democrats accused of corruption ordered to leave party ranks

Two members of the ruling Social Democratic party who are accused of corruption have been ordered to leave party ranks. Josef Laznicka from the Transport Infrastructure Fund and Ludmila Schwarzova who headed the office of the deputy transport minister Petr Pospichal, were arrested by the police last week for allegedly taking bribes in return for a promise to influence state decision making. Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek said they had failed morally as well as politically and the executive board of the party asked them both to terminate their party membership as quickly as possible.

New regulation hopes to reduce foreign waste

The Czech Republic has extended the list of waste products that can only be brought into the country with the permission of the Environment Ministry. The new regulation, to take effect in the next few days, comes in reaction to the growing number of waste from Germany that is stored at illegal rubbish dumps in the Czech border areas. Among others, the list now includes old carpets, second-hand clothing, plastic and paper. An estimated 15,000 tonnes of waste was brought in from Germany since the end of 2005.

Suspected case of H5N1 in domestic fowl just 70 kilometres west of Czech border

The Czech Republic will not react to neighbouring Germany's first suspected case of the deadly H5N1 virus in domestic fowl. The spokesman for the State Veterinary Authority, Josef Duben, said on Monday there was no cause for concern as the authorities in Germany are taking all necessary precautions to contain the virus. The affected farm lies in Bavaria and is just 70 km away from the Czech border.

The Czech Republic is the only country in Central Europe with no confirmed cases of bird flu. The virus has been found in wild birds in all neighbouring countries. France is so far the only country in Europe where the deadly H5NI virus was also found in domestic poultry.

Industrial production increased by over 15 percent

Industrial production in January in the Czech Republic has increased by 15.1 percent year on year, the Czech Statistical Office reported on Monday. This can be mainly attributed to the booming car industry and the growing production of electronic and optical machinery. Trade and Industry Minister Milan Urban says the growing industry has also helped to fight unemployment; last year 26,000 new jobs were created thanks to an increase in production.

Record number of lawsuits filed against Czech Republic in Strasbourg

The European Court of Human Rights recorded 1,443 lawsuits that were filed against the Czech Republic last year. This is fifty more than in 2004 and the highest number of lawsuits in thirteen years. Some cases are collective lawsuits with hundreds or even thousands of plaintiffs.

Weather

The next few days are expected to have partially cloudy skies with occasional showers or snow. Day-time temperatures will reach a maximum of 3 degrees Celsius.