PM says: pension reform not urgent

The Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek has shocked politicians and economists by saying that there was no urgent need for a pension reform in the Czech Republic. In an interview for the Bloomberg agency published on-line, the Prime Minister said that the current reform system would not overburden the state budget for another 20 years and that the increasing birth rate would further improve the situation. There is no urgency for reform in this sphere, Mr. Paroubek said, sweeping aside EU warnings regarding the need to speed up reforms of the pension and health care systems. The head of one of the smaller governing parties Miroslav Kalousek of the Christian Democrats has said that dallying with the pension reform would be irresponsible.

Libyan diplomats recalled

Libya has recalled two of its diplomats to Prague, whose sons were accused of raping a 10 year old boy. The Czech Foreign Ministry said it had urged Libya to take this course of action on the grounds of the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations. Three Libyan boys all aged 13 recently assaulted two 10 year old Czech boys at a playground. One of the boys was allegedly raped, the other managed to resist the assault. One of the boys' fathers, a well known journalist and writer, described the incident in a Czech magazine. A spokeswoman for the Prague police has confirmed that a rape investigation took place but said the matter was dropped because of the suspects' ages.

PM challenges president to one-on-one televised debate on EU

Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek has challenged the president to do a number of one-on-one radio and TV debates with him on the European Union. In an interview for the Frekvence 1 radio programme, the Social Democrat prime minister, who is pro EU-integration, said he and the president, who is strongly critical of the direction in which the EU is heading, should put their arguments to the nation in a language that people could understand. Debates at closed meetings or articles in the media do not have the desired impact, Mr. Paroubek said. The daily Lidove Noviny recently published a lengthy article in which President Klaus presented his vision of a future Europe- an organization of European states benefiting from free trade but not restricted in their sovereignty.

Prince Edward in Prague

Britain's Prince Edward, who is on a two day goodwill visit to the Czech Republic, on Tuesday handed out awards at the British Embassy to the Czech winners of the Duke of Edinburgh Youth Programme. On Monday the Prince visited the Royal Golf Club in the spa town of Marianske Lazne, also known as Marienbad, a club that his great-great grandfather King Edward VII opened exactly a century ago.


Wednesday is expected to be sunny to partly cloudy with significantly lower day temperatures between 19 and 23 degrees Celsius.