Head of National Security Office resigns

The head of the National Security Office, Jan Mares, has resigned. Mr Mares decided to leave office after a police recording of a telephone conversation between him and a man linked to a corrupt gang was made public last week. Although the two men discussed how they could gain contacts at the Presidential Office, Mr Mares maintains that it was an innocent conversation. The government was scheduled to vote on Mr Mares' dismissal during its session late on Wednesday.

Lower House approves new labour code

Social Democrat and Communist Deputies joined forces to push through a much disputed new labour code during a session of the Lower House of the Czech Parliament on Wednesday. The opposition Civic Democrats and the two junior ruling coalition parties, the Christian Democrats and the Freedom Union, have expressed fears that it would increase the authority of trade unions and threaten the flexibility of the labour market.

The lower house also approved an amendment to the consumer protection law, which - among other things - would allow for entrepreneurs who violate the law to be fined up to 50 million crowns. The maximum fine currently stands at one million crowns. The labour code and amendment have yet to be approved by the Senate and signed by the President.

Roofs collapse under weight of snow, no injured

The roofs of three indoor tennis courts in north Bohemia and a sports hall in south Moravia have collapsed under the weight of snow. Luckily, no one was hurt. A winter stadium as well as a supermarket had to be evacuated after the heavy accumulated snow made the buildings unstable.

Close to one percent of children experience commercial sexual abuse

Paediatricians, sexologists, social workers and others involved in child care attended a round table discussion in Prague on Wednesday. An estimated 18,000 children in the Czech Republic have been involved in prostitution, pornography, or were victims of some other type of commercial sexual abuse. This constitutes close to one percent of the country's population under the age of 18 years. According to Eva Vanickova from Charles University's medical faculty, it is up to paediatricians to be more attentive and look out for symptoms of abuse. The health ministry also presented a new information booklet on the problem.

US asks for extradition of suspected al-Qaeda man arrested at Prague airport

The United States has filed a request for the extradition of a Swedish citizen arrested at Prague airport during a stop-over in December. Oussama Kassir, who is originally from Lebanon, is accused of trying to set up an al-Qaeda terrorist camp in the US state of Oregon in 2002.

Weather forecast

Thursday will be much like Wednesday with cloudy skies and rain or light snow in most parts of the country. Temperatures will range from -2 to 2 degrees Celsius.