News of Radio Prague

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Havel signs new bill on pension increases

President Vaclav Havel signed a new bill on Tuesday regulating increases in old-age pensions. Previously, pensions in the Czech Republic were raised when inflation increased by more than 5 percent. The new bill changes that by increasing old-age pensions in January of every new year. The government is confident the regular yearly rises will provide greater security for pensioners in the country. In terms of additional measures the bill also accounts for extra pension increases that would come into effect in inflation in the country increased by more than 10 percent.

Former Communist Prime Minister fails to attend court session, cites poor health

An appeal process involving proceedings against 77-year-old Lubomir Strougal that was scheduled for Tuesday has been postponed. Citing ill health the former-Communist Prime Minister declined to appear in court; although in the past Mr Strougal has insisted he be present at the proceedings. Mr Strougal had been charged in connection with three murders committed by Communist secret police in 1948. It was believed that he purposely halted a legal investigation into the matter in 1965, when he served as Czechoslovakia's Interior Minister. Earlier this year, however, the former Communist dignitary was cleared of all charges due to a lack of evidence.

Opposition Coalition outlines terms for possible post-election dealings

With Czech general elections set for the end of this week the opposition Coalition, made-up of the Christian Democrats and the Freedom Union-DEU, has outlined terms important to its parties in possible post-election negotiations- negotiations which will almost certainly be required to form what is expected to be a coalition government in the Czech Republic. The Coalition's terms include a commitment to move on several issues including the fight against corruption, improvement in social support for the family, and opening up of Czech universities to a greater student body. Another important term outlined on Tuesday in possible cabinet dealings was a clear pro-European Union stance.

Czech embassies in Dublin and London preparing for general elections

In other election news, Czech embassies around the world are getting ready for the vote. This year's ballot will be the first in which Czechs abroad will be taking part, although far less registered than originally expected. The embassy in Dublin, for example, has estimated that only around 50 Czech expatriates in Ireland will cast their ballot, while the number of Czechs expected to vote in London has proven more difficult to gauge.

Weather

Tuesday evening will see partly cloudy skies with a small chance of showers, temperatures dropping to between just 12 and 8 degrees Celsius. Wednesday is expected to be cloudy with possible showers and temperatures reaching highs of about 21 degrees.