News

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Foreign Minister Svoboda discusses role of EU in Middle East with Palestinian leaders

Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda who is on a three-day visit to the Palestinian territories met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday to discuss the role of the European Union in the Middle East and the path towards the establishment of an independent Palestinian state. The two officials also discussed the situation around the Rafah border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt which the EU wants to monitor, an option Mr Svoboda does not support. Mr Svoboda also told Mr Abbas the Czech Republic was ready to participate in the training of Palestinian police officers.

Eurostat: almost no working Czechs are poor

Almost no working people in the Czech Republic and Hungary are poor unlike in Spain or Luxembourg, according to data released by the European Union statistical office Eurostat. According to Czech analysts the low figures for the Czech Republic are indicative of certain egalitarianism in society. Differences between salaries in the Czech Republic remain among the smallest in Europe. The average net monthly salary is 13,700 crowns (570 US dollars). The poverty line calculated by Eurostat is around 6,500 crowns (270 dollars); the net minimum monthly wage in the Czech Republic is 5,800 crowns (241 dollars).

President Klaus: no reason for EU flag at Prague Castle

Czech President Vaclav Klaus has said he still sees no reason why the European Union flag should fly at Prague Castle, the seat of Czech heads of state. In a televised interview on Sunday, President Klaus said he believed the Czech Republic was not a province of the European Union and that the Czech national flag should not be substituted or overshadowed by any other one. Earlier this week two activists attempted to raise the European flag at Prague Castle but their effort was thwarted by the castle guards.

Lower house chairman: VZP director faced criminal prosecution

The chairman of the lower house Lubomir Zaoralek has said that the director of the state run health insurance company VZP, Jirina Musilkova, has faced criminal prosecution because of a disadvantageous 1999 sale of shares of a jewellery making company owned by the VZP. The lawsuit was filed by then president of the Czech medical chamber, now Health Minister David Rath. Mr Zaoralek added Jirina Musilkova was still on the supervisory board of the jewellery making company. According to Mr Zaoralek the lawsuit was suspended because of an expired statute of limitations. Last week Health Minister David Rath put the heavily indebted state health insurer VZP under forced administration and called on Mrs Musilkova to step down. So far she has refused to resign.

Reality TV show forced to move out from its premises

The commercial TV station Prima has announced that its prime-time reality show VyVoleni will be broadcast from a different location. The reason is a legal dispute with the owner of the plot on which TV Prima had built the house in which the contestants live. At 5 am on Sunday, around 40 security guards with dogs surrounded the house in a Prague suburb and ordered TV Prima employees to leave. The five remaining participants of the successful TV show will move to Slovakia where the commercial TV station JOJ is running a similar show under the same licence.

Weather

In the coming days we can expect overcast skies and snow showers across the country. Daytime temperatures should hover around 0 degrees Celsius.