A Czech journalist faces a prison sentence in neighbouring Slovakia after hiding a mobile phone in the prime minister's office. Slovak officials claim the phone could have been used as a listening device, and have called for the journalist to be prosecuted. Vaclav Nekvapil has admitted attaching the mobile to the underside of the prime minister's desk during a recent open day. But he says he was merely testing the Slovak government's security measures.
The Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal, currently on a visit to Prague, has welcomed a decision by the Quartet of Middle East peace negotiators to restore some humanitarian aid to the Palestinians. Mr al-Faisal, speaking to reporters after meeting his Czech counterpart Cyril Svoboda, said he welcomed the move by the United States, United Nations, European Union and Russia. The Saudi foreign minister is also set to meet President Vaclav Klaus and Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek.
The famous Prague Spring classical music festival is due to start on Thursday evening, with a concert at Prague's Obecni Dum hall. The concert celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, and to commemorate the event the Czech Philharmonic will play the same three pieces of music that were performed at the inaugural concert in 1946.
A court has ordered the city of Prague to pay more than 110,000 dollars in compensation to a British tourist who was seriously injured when a Christmas tree fell on him in December 2003. Malcolm Tuffin's spine and femur bones were fractured when strong winds brought down the 30-metre tree in a crowded Christmas market on Prague's Old Town Square. Mr Tuffin is now confined to a wheelchair.
President Vaclav Klaus has vetoed the proposed new Labour Code. Mr Klaus said the bill in its current form lacked important reforms and failed to tackle problems facing the modern work environment. The bill was pushed through parliament by the Social Democrats with the help of the opposition Communist Party. Right-wing parties oppose the bill, saying it gives trade unions too much power and threatens business competitiveness.
The state has decided to offer all those who lost their homes to this year's floods a one-off sum of 150,000 crowns (a little over 6,800 US dollars) in compensation. The state will also help cover demolition costs, the Czech government decided on Wednesday. Most of the houses destroyed lie in southern Bohemia, a Regional Development Ministry assessment says. The compensation will be taken out of a 5 billion crown budget earmarked for flood relief by cabinet earlier this year.
The lower house has rejected a bill on compulsory property declarations for people with assets over 10 million crowns (417,000 dollars). The bill, put forward by the Communist Party, was rejected by the right-of-centre parties in parliament as well as the Social Democrats who say they are preparing their own version to push through after the upcoming elections. Only 38 out of the 107 MPs present voted for the bill.
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