News of Radio Prague

Compensation for Czech slave labourers could go ahead

Czechs forced to work as slave labourers in Nazi Germany in World War II have welcomed the decision of a US judge that has opened the way for them to receive compensation payments. The chairwoman of the Czech - German reconciliation fund, Dagmar Buresova, expects that payments could start within two months. The German parliament has to approve the payments before they can be made.

Czech Republic to invest heavily in environmental protection

The Czech Republic will have to spend an estimated 250 billion crowns, or nearly 7 billion USD, on environmental protection over the next ten years in connection with the country's accession to the EU. Czech Environment Minister Milos Kuzvart said that nearly one third of the sum will be invested in municipal waste water treatment facilities. He said private companies will have to invest substantial amounts of money as well, in order to implement waste reduction programmes.

Czechs got into ice hockey championship semifinals

Ice hockey - and the Czechs beat the Slovaks 2-0 in the quarterfinals of the world ice hockey championships in Germany on Thursday. The Czechs, who are the reigning Olympic champions, are now just two wins away from becoming the first country to claim three successive world champion titles since 1978.

Unemployment decreases

The Czech unemployment rate dropped to 8.3 percent in April from 8.7 in March, the third consecutive decrease this year. The unemployment rate is now at its lowest since May 1999. The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs said that the lowest level of unemployment was in Prague and Central Bohemia - around three percent, while seven industrial regions in Northern Bohemia and Northern Moravia reported unemployment of more than 15 percent, and the highest unemployment rate, of nearly 21, was recorded in the region of Most.

MPs and ministers: let's cut down our salaries

Labour and Social Affairs Minister Vladimir Spidla has proposed cutting the salaries of government ministers and MPs. Mr. Spidla suggests that their salaries should be calculated from the average wage in the public sector. He has also proposed a reduction in a wide range of financial benefits enjoyed by members of parliament. The proposal stands a good chance of passing, as most of the MPs asked by the CTK news agency supported it. The measures could save the state budget an estimated 200 million Czech crowns a year.

Inflation accelerated in April

Czech consumer prices in April grew by 0.4 percent month-on-month, as compared to 0.1 percent in March. The Czech Statistical Office attributes the development to the accelerating growth of food, beverage and transport prices. The inflation rate in April was higher than economic analysts expected. The so-called net inflation, which the Czech National Bank uses for determining its policies, grew by 0.4 percent, and stood at 3.3 percent year-on-year.

Kavan to visit Syria, Jordan

Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kavan is planning to visit Syria and Jordan at the beginning of June. This will be the first ever visit of a Czech foreign minister to these countries. Mr Kavan's talks with Syrian representatives are expected to reflect the fact that Syria borders on both Israel and Iraq. The Czech Republic's diplomatic contacts with Jordan are better developed, as Prince Hasan has visited the Czech Republic several times, and Czech president Vaclav Havel has visited Jordan twice in the past few years.

Czech weather forecast

And finally, the weather forecast. We are expecting a partially cloudy day on Friday, with scattered showers and afternoon highs ranging from 18 to 22 degrees Celsius. Weather in the Czech republic at the weekend should be influenced by a high-pressure area from the North-West. It should be partially cloudy with occasional showers, night-time lows are expected to drop nearly to zero, and the highest daytime temperatures should hover around 20 degrees Celsius.