Representatives of the Czech Christian, Muslim and Jewish faiths have
issued a joint statement condemning euthanasia and calling for changes
to a new criminal code recently approved by the lower house. The new
law does not set a minimum sentence for assisting in so-called mercy
killings, which critics say opens the way to euthanasia.
The religious leaders - issuing a joint statement for the first time - said the practice went against the Hippocratic Oath, and called for greater funding for hospices and carers.
The Czech economy grew by 4.9 percent in the third quarter of this
year, a slowdown from 5.2 percent in the second quarter, according to
figures released on Friday. That deceleration was due to a decline in
agriculture, while foreign trade has remained the driving force of
In spite of the slowdown, the Czech economy has remained the second-fastest growing in central Europe, after Slovakia, and this year's growth in gross domestic product is set to be the fastest since 1995.
The Czech president, Vaclav Klaus, has said he hopes the progress made by
China in many spheres over the last 25 years will continue in other areas
such as democracy. During talks with the country's prime minister, Wen
Jiabao, in Prague on Friday, Mr Klaus also highlighted problems
experienced by some Czech companies doing business in China.
As the two men met the courtyard at Prague Castle was filled with supporters of China's Communist government waving red flags, while a group of members of the Falun Gong movement protested against Mr Wen's visit.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Czech Senate, Premysl Sobotka, said a trade agreement signed on Wednesday by Mr Wen and his Czech counterpart, Jiri Paroubek, was more advantageous to China and should be amended.
The Czech auto maker Skoda has withdrawn its team from the World Rally Championships. However, Skoda will provide vehicles for the Czech team of Jan Kopecky and Austria's Red Bull Skoda team for the 2006 championships. Skoda, owned by Volkswagen, scaled back its operations during the 2005 season and finished sixth in this year's competition.
Two German companies have applied for permission to burn 80,000 tonnes
of waste in the Prague district of Malesice, Lidove noviny reported on
Friday. A Czech Environment Ministry spokesperson said it was currently
unclear whether permission would be given.
There is a shortage of incinerator capacity in Germany, while incinerators in the Czech Republic are working at 55 percent of capacity, the daily said.
The wife of former Beatle Paul McCartney, Heather Mills McCartney, says cats in the Czech Republic are being snared on the streets for their fur and then skinned alive, the Czech Press Agency reported. Speaking at an anti-fur demonstration in Brussels, Ms Mills McCartney said dogs were also being killed for their skins in the Czech Republic. Cat and dog fur was being used to make little figures of pets as well as scarves, stoles and blankets, she said.
The minister of industry and trade, Milan Urban, says a deal on securing a site for carmaker Hyundia in Moravia must be struck very soon. Speaking after talks with a Hyundia representative on Friday, Mr Urban said December 31st was the deadline for finding a site. Three places are in consideration for the car plant, which would provide a major boost for the economy in the region.
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