• 08/26/2004

    The Czech National Bank has - as expected - decided to raise interest rates by 0.25 percentage points. On Friday the repo rate will grow to 2.50 percent, the discount rate will rise to 1.50 percent and the Lombard rate to 3.50 percent, a spokesman for the Bank said on Thursday. The increase will result in higher interest rates on loans and deposits at commercial banks.

    Author: Ian Willoughby
  • 08/26/2004

    One of the biggest construction projects in Prague in recent years, a tunnel intended to relieve traffic in the Smichov district of the city, was opened on Thursday. The Mrazovka tunnel is almost one kilometre long and cost the city around 7 billion crowns.

    Author: Ian Willoughby
  • 08/26/2004

    President Vaclav Klaus is expected to begin a two-day official visit to the United Kingdom on September 6; he is due to meet Prime Minister Tony Blair and other senior officials, the Czech Press Agency reported Thursday. It will be Mr Klaus's first official visit to the UK as president.

    Author: Ian Willoughby
  • 08/26/2004

    Former dissident John Bok, who has been on hunger strike since Monday, says he wants to increase pressure on Stanislav Gross to resign as prime minister. Mr Bok said he was inspired to begin the hunger strike by protests against Mr Gross's appointment of Pavel Pribyl as head of the Office of the Government. Mr Pribyl resigned when evidence emerged a riot police unit he commanded in 1989 used violence against anti-Communist protesters.

    Author: Ian Willoughby
  • 08/26/2004

    Libor Capilini has won bronze for the Czech Republic in the modern pentathlon at the Olympic Games in Athens. It is the first Czech medal since 1976 in the event, which consists of shooting, fencing, swimming, showjumping and a 3000m run. Capilini's success brings the Czech medal tally at Athens to eight.

    Author: Ian Willoughby
  • 08/26/2004

    One of the greatest Czech athletes of all time, javelin thrower Jan Zelezny, has been elected a member of the International Olympic Committee for the second time. Zelezny received the second highest number of votes among 29 candidates in Athens on Thursday. The javelin legend has three Olympic gold medals and will be hoping to add to that collection on Saturday evening, when he competes at the Games for the last time.

    Author: Ian Willoughby
  • 08/26/2004

    The ice hockey stadium in the west Bohemian town of Litvinov is to be renamed the Ivan Hlinka Stadium, in honour of the much respected player and coach, who tragically died in a car crash last week. Mr Hlinka began playing for Litvinov in 1962 at the age of 12, and stayed at the club for 19 years. After a successful career as a player he coached the Czech team which won gold at the 1998 Winter Olympics.

    Author: Ian Willoughby
  • 08/26/2004

    Sparta Prague football club have reached the biggest competition in club football, the Champions League. Sparta beat Ferencvaros 2:0 in Prague on Wednesday night to win the tie 2:1 on aggregate, after losing the first leg in Budapest 1:0. They will now face Manchester United, Lyon and Ferenbahce in the group stage of the lucrative competition.

    Author: Ian Willoughby
  • 08/25/2004

    Austrian President Heinz Fischer, on his first state visit to the Czech Republic as Austria's head of state, met with his Czech counterpart Vaclav Klaus at Prague Castle on Wednesday. Besides the European Union, the main topics discussed were the Benes decrees and the Temelin nuclear power plant in southern Bohemia - a thorn in the side of nuclear-free Austria. Although both presidents agreed to foster good relations, Mr Fischer noted he would welcome a reconciliatory gesture from the Czechs regarding the Benes decrees, which sanctioned the expulsion of some 2.5 million ethnic Germans from post-war Czechoslovakia and have been criticised by Austrians and Germans, who want the decrees to be revoked.

    Author: Dita Asiedu
  • 08/25/2004

    The new coalition government of Prime Minister Stanislav Gross has passed its first crucial test, receiving a vote of confidence late Tuesday, some 7 hours after deliberations began in the Chamber of Deputies. Throughout the day Parliament heard extensive speeches from MPs either for or against the government. The prime minister spoke at length about the goals of his cabinet, saying it would make social issues a priority. However, the opposition Civic Democrats, expressed their dissatisfaction with the government's programme, warning it would lead the country to stagnation and debt.

    No MPs from either opposition party - the Civic Democrats or the Communists - voted in the cabinet's favour.

    Finally, because the ruling coalition enjoys just the slimmest of majorities - 101 votes in a 200 member parliament - two ill MPs were required to leave their hospital beds on Tuesday to make an appearance in the Lower House. Their presence ensured the new government was able to clinch the minimum number of votes.

    Author: Dita Asiedu

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