The Czech women’s tennis number one Nicole Vaidišová was beaten in the semi-finals of the Sydney International by Svetlana Kuznetsova on Thursday. It was Vaidišová’s fourth defeat to the Russian in four meetings. Meanwhile, Tomáš Berdych was beaten in the semi-finals of the men’s competition by Australia’s own Chris Guccione. The Sydney International is regarded as a warm-up for the first Grand Slam of the year, the Australian Open.
The Czech crown has set a new record against the common European currency,
reaching 25.82 to the euro on Thursday morning. The crown also reached a
new high against the US dollar, with one dollar trading at 17.60 crowns.
The latest rise in the strength of the crown has been put down to
and expectations that the board of the Czech National Bank will raise
interest rates at its next meeting.
The Czech currency was also reacting to positive news regarding the country’s balance of trade: November showed a surplus of CZK 11.3 billion, the highest ever seen for that month.
The government hopes to ask MPs to vote in April on US plans to build a radar base in central Bohemia, the Czech prime minister, Mirek Topolánek, said after talks in Prague with his Polish counterpart, Donald Tusk. The vote would ideally take place following a NATO summit in Bucharest, said Mr Topolánek. However, he added that the cabinet would not set a concrete date, because the vote could be delayed by what he called external factors. Mr Tusk, in the Czech capital for a one-day official visit, said Poland and the Czech Republic had the same position on Washington’s plans. His country will play host to US rockets if the project goes ahead.
A man from Most has received a 12-year jail term for killing his partner, evidently after she changed her mind about giving him one of her kidneys, the news website Novinky.cz reported. Ladislav Raiminius, who suffers from kidney failure and is on dialysis, stabbed his 36-year-old partner to death in the bathroom of their flat after she told him during an argument that she would not go through the donation. The woman’s ten children have applied for damages amounting to almost CZK 2.5 million.
A Czech woman of 33 who attempted to pass herself off as a teenage girl and later a teenage boy is in custody in Brno after being detained in Norway. Barbora Škrlová tried to become adopted in the guise of a 13-year-old named Anna by a woman at the centre of a child abuse case, and was the subject of a large police search in the Czech Republic when “Anna” was believed missing. After fleeing the country, the diminutive Ms Škrlová enrolled in a school in Norway, pretending to be a 13-year-old boy called Adam. The Norwegian authorities discovered her true identity after, posing of “Adam”, she claimed to have been sexually abused by a man who presented himself as her father. The whole bizarre case has gripped the Czech Republic since it first came to light last spring.
Illegally obtained metal artefacts found in the burn out ruins of a Prague flat were worth millions of crowns, the director of the Archaeological Institute at the Czech Academy of Sciences, Luboš Jiráň,, told reporters on Thursday. He said that the objects had been gathered around the central Europe region, not only in the Czech Republic. The collection included around 3,300 objects, some dating back to the late Stone Age. Mr Jiráň said the amateurish way the items had been dug up detracted from their value. The police are still looking into the matter.
The Czech prime minister has expressed reservations about plans to build a centre in Berlin dedicated to the millions of ethnic Germans expelled from eastern European states after the war. When asked if he and Donald Tusk had reservations about the idea, Mr Topolánek simply replied, yes. For his part, the Polish prime minister said his country would remain opposed unless current German government plans for the centre were amended.
The Prime Minister, Mirek Topolánek, has said that he would like tuition fees to be introduced in the Czech Republic before the next parliamentary elections. In an interview with the financial daily Hospdářské noviny, Mr Topolánek added that he favoured the introduction of ‘postponed’ tuition fees, which students would only pay back after their degree, when their income reached a certain level. The Prime Minister said that he planned to introduce student loans, extend scholarship programmes and offer incentives to families which saved up to fund their child’s education. Mr Topolánek’s partners in the coalition, the Christian Democrats, are said to be for the overhaul in university funding. The Greens, who also form the governing coalition, have declared themselves to be against the proposals.
Jiří Čunek is the least trusted politician in the Czech Republic at the moment, according to a poll conducted by the CVWM institute and published on Wednesday. The head of the Christian Democrats and former deputy prime minister came bottom of a list of 24 politicians, about whom people were asked. Only 12% of those polled said that they trusted him. The labour minister Petr Nečas also saw a sharp decline in trust - in December only 24% of respondents said they trusted him, as opposed to 30% back in October. Those who elicited the most trust from voters in the poll were current president Václav Klaus and ombudsman Otakar Motejl, who scored 64% and 62% respectively.
Unemployment was up last month by 0.4% to 6%, according to statistics released on Wednesday by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. The number of people eligible to work but without a job totalled 331,696. This unemployment rate of 6% compares with that of 7.7% recorded in December 2006. As in previous months, the lowest rate of unemployment could be found in the capital Prague, where only 2.2% of people were registered as being unemployed.
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