Despite having voted for a package of reforms approved in the lower house on Tuesday, Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek has now split with the government on how these reforms should be implemented. Mr. Kalousek proposes a further taxation of employees from 2009 by increasing tax-exemptions; however, the biggest party in the coalition, the Civic Democrats, wants to reduce personal income tax from 15% next year to 12.5% in 2009. The Civic Democrats have rejected Mr Kalousek's proposal, calling it a provocation and violation of the coalition agreement.
Experts from UNESCO have expressed their concern about the planned construction of high-rise buildings on Prague's Pankrac Plain. The committee has recommended Prague to reconsider the building of new skyscrapers, which, according to some conservationists, could harm the city's horizon. The Czech Republic should submit a report on the protection of Prague's historical centre, which was included on the UNESCO world heritage list in 1992, and a plan of building activities at Pankrac district, by the end of January 2008.
The Czech government has distanced itself from Russia's nomination of former Czech prime minister Josef Tosovsky for the post of managing director of the International Monetary Fund. The Czech Republic has already given its backing to a French candidate supported by the EU. The senior IMF post is usually filled by somebody from a large western European state.
The Czech Republic's footballers drew 1:1 with Austria in a friendly game in Vienna on Wednesday night. Their only goal came from Jan Koller, who extended his Czech record goals tally to 49. In September the Czech Republic take on San Marino and Ireland in qualifying matches for next year's European Championships.
The Czech distillers Rudolf Jelinek - famous for the plum-based Slivovice and other types of fruit brandy - have launched their own production of whisky, which should first appear on the market in three years' time. Jelinek distillers have been producing its own whisky, which has the English-language name Gold Cock, for some time. From now on, however, they will also produce the raw-materials by themselves.
Russia has nominated a former Czech prime minister, Josef Tosovsky, for the post of managing director of the International Monetary Fund. But the current Czech prime minister, Mirek Topolanek, says the Czech Republic does not support Mr Tosovsky; the country has given its backing to a French candidate supported by the EU. The senior IMF post is usually filled by somebody from a large western European state.
Amnesty International says some weapons produced in the Czech Republic are being exported to states which do not respect human rights. The NGO pointed in particular to arms exports last year to Ethiopia, Nigeria, Columbia, Venezuela, Vietnam and Yemen. Amnesty International said what it described as a disquieting situation was not helped by inadequate legislation in the Czech Republic.
In the first half of this year Czech Airlines succeeded in having more of its flights take off on time than any other major airline, a spokesperson for the national carrier said, quoting a report by the Association of European Airlines. CSA finished sixth in annual surveys carried out in 2005 and 2006.
The Czech government has approved the sending of a Czech provincial reconstruction team to Logar in south-eastern Afghanistan. The Czech defence minister, Vlasta Parkanova, said military personnel in the province could work in conjunction with civilian specialists sent by the Czech ministries of foreign affairs, industry and transport. The plan now has to go before parliament.