Paroubek fails to get backing from Slovakia on reconciliatory gesture
Slovakia's Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda said on Wednesday Slovakia will not back a plan by his Czech counterpart Jiri Paroubek to make a reconciliatory gesture to anti-fascist Sudeten Germans. Mr Paroubek announced on Monday that he had prepared a plan to compensate ethnic Germans in Czechoslovakia who were expelled and lost their property in the years following the Second World War, despite the fact that they opposed Nazi Germany. Mr Dzurinda says Slovakia looks to the future and not to the past and will not re-open complicated chapters in the countries history, such as the Benes decrees, which sanctioned the expulsions in the post-war years.
On the home front, the Prime Minister's plan has met with anger from the two main opposition parties, the centre-right Civic Democrats and the Communists. President Vaclav Klaus has likewise rejected the idea, describing it as potentially dangerous.
Rent-control reform plan approved by cabinet
The Czech government has approved a bill that sees regulated rent rise dramatically as of October next year. In the bill, proposed by the ministry for regional development, rent is to be raised annually by an average of 9.3%. After a period of six years, in 2012, it will be left up to the flat owner and the tenant to come to an agreement over the future rent. If that should fail, a court will make the decision. An estimated 750,000 flats are rent-controlled in the Czech Republic.
Government to hold Severoceske Doly privatisation talks with CEZ
The Czech Government will approach power utility CEZ on the sale of the state's majority stake in the North Bohemian coal mines Severoceske Doly. After last year's failed privatisation attempt, the cabinet decided on Wednesday to hold talks with CEZ exclusively. The company, which is one of the biggest in the country, already controls 13 brown coal mines, one black coal mine, two nuclear power plants and dozens of hydropower plants. It will have 90 days to present its proposed purchase price, which economists expect will range from 8 to 10 billion Czech crowns (an estimated 350-440 million US dollars).
EU threatens with legal action against Czech Republic on copyright law
The European Union's executive commission has warned it would take legal action against the Czech Republic for failing to implement EU copyright law. Along with France, Spain, and Finland, it was supposed to implement the law before December 22, 2002 in order to provide an adequate level of copyright protection for authors and other right-holders in the digital environment. This is the commission's first warning.
Czechs to observe two-minute silence in honour of victims of London bombings
The Czech Republic will join other countries around the world and remember the victims of last week's London bombings on Thursday. Church bells will toll at 1pm CET and the government has asked citizens to observe two-minute silence.
The next few days should have partially clear skies with scattered rain. Day-time temperatures are expected to rise steadily to reach 30 degrees Celsius by the weekend.