The production of cars and small vans in the Czech Republic should increase by two-thirds by 2011, according to a study by analysts PricewaterhouseCoopers released on Monday. Skoda is currently the country's leading carmaker, but a new plant producing Toyota, Citroen and Peugeot vehicles is due to go into operation in the central Bohemian town of Kolin next year.
President Vaclav Klaus has requested that he be informed in detail about
allegations the police bugged phone calls made to him by a businessman,
the newspaper Lidove noviny reported on Monday. Two days previously the
daily said the police had listened in on calls made to Mr Klaus by Radko
Pecic, a good friend of the president's under investigation in connection
with a fraud case.
Wire-tapping has been in the headlines for several weeks, since the leader of the opposition Civic Democrats said his phone had been bugged since he was elected two years ago. At the end of last week, President Klaus called on the interior minister to dismiss the chief of police, after the latter made statements evidently making light of wire-tapping.
The president is due to discuss the matter with Prime Minister Stanislav Gross on Tuesday.
Over 600 employees at steelmakers Ispat Nova Hut have accepted severance pay equivalent to 25 months' salary, a spokesman for the north Moravian company said on Monday. Ispat Nova Hut plans to lay off 2,000 of its 11,000 workers by the end of the year. The redundancy pay offer - which is unusually generous by Czech standards - is open to employees until the middle of November.
Czech football coach Zdenek Zeman is making the headlines in Italy, after taking the small club Lecce to second place in the country's first division. He has played down the club's successful start to the season, saying their main aim is still to avoid relegation. A former coach at Lazio and Roma, Mr Zeman sparked a huge controversy in 1998 when he raised questions about possible drug-taking in Serie A.
The former owner of Sparta Prague football club, Petr Mach, has been found not guilty of large scale fraud by a court in Prague. Mr Mach had been accused of not repaying a bank loan of 160 million crowns (over five million euros). He was released from prison last year after serving a two-year term for not paying import tax on a luxury car.
Mr Klaus has sent a letter to the president of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, saying he is disquieted by reports about the country's recent referendum, which allows the president to serve more than the previous limit of two terms. The Czech president said there was evidence of irregular voting in the poll.
A study into the costs of Prague hosting the Olympic Games in either 2016 or 2020 should be completed by the end of the year, the city's mayor, Pavel Bem, said on Monday. Mr Bem said while holding the Games in the Czech capital would cost over 100 billion crowns, they would still be cheaper than other recent Olympics.
The EU Italian commissioner-designate Rocco Buttiglione has attacked the Czech candidate for Euro commissioner Vladimir Spidla in the Italian press, labelling him "a tough ex-communist". In an interview for the Italian daily La Stampa Buttiglione said he wielded almost no powers as far as discrimination was concerned. The main portion of them had been assigned to Czech Vladimir Spidla - a tough ex-communist in whose hands the principles of freedom were surely guaranteed, Buttiglione reportedly told the paper. Mr. Spidla has refused to comment on the remarks. His spokeswoman only pointed out that Mr. Spidla had never been a member of the Communist Party. Buttiglione's controversial statements on homosexuals and women allegedly threaten the fate of the whole new EC.
The police are investigating a planned terrorist attack which presented a serious public threat in the very centre of Prague last Friday. Someone planted a fully functional explosive device outside a nightclub at the top end of Wenceslas Square, where thousands of people pass daily. According to experts it was the work of a professional, and posed a serious danger. The police say it was immensely fortunate that a passer by noticed the abandoned plastic bag placed next to one of the night club's limousines and alerted the police. It is not clear whether the terrorist attack was directly aimed at the Darling Cabaret nightclub. Its owners say they have received no threats of any kind. The incident comes just three months after a grenade explosion injured 18 people outside a casino in Prague's Prikopy street.
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