One of China's leading TV manufacturers, Sichuan Changhong Electric Co., has opened a production facility in the central Bohemian town of Nymburk. The project, which was inaugurated on Wednesday, is the first overseas production base wholly owned by a Chinese home electrical appliance enterprise. The 15-million-dollar project has a designed annual production capacity of one million sets, mostly flat-panel and high-definition TVs. The company aims to gradually expand the production to also include air conditioners, refrigerators, cellphones and set-top boxes, in order to sell all Changhong products in Europe.
Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek has said that his claims on the eve of last year's general election that the Social Democrats had spied on political rivals have been vindicated. Before last June's general election, Mr Topolanek had alleged that the Social Democrat administration had bugged the phones of several people after a report by top police official Jan Kubice had been leaked, which suggested that there were links between organised crime and officials in the then Social-Democrat government.
Prices for flats and apartments in the Czech Republic have risen sharply according to Mlada fronta Dnes. The newspaper reports that property prices have increased by more than ten percent in many large Czech towns and cities, with prices for apartments in Prague increasing by as much as one third. Among other things, the daily attributes the price increases to easily available mortgages and foreign property speculators.
The Constitutional Court has ruled that Czech citizens who were employed by Slovak companies during the existence of Czechoslovakia are entitled to the same pensions as if they had been employed in what is now the Czech Republic. The ruling was based on the case of Anna Weiszova from the eastern town of Opava. She was employed in Slovakia and as she was born in Slovakia she receives a Slovak pension which is lower than that of her Czech colleagues.
EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana has urged European Union member
states to debate US plans to install part of its missile shield in the
Czech Republic and Poland. Speaking in the European Parliament on
Thursday, Mr Solana said it was ultimately up to EU capitals to decide
whether they joined the United States in the project but they were obliged
to ensure that any such participation did not undermine overall security
policy in the EU. The US plans to site a missile shield in the Czech
Republic and Poland sparked a fierce debate among MEPs on Thursday,
highlighting the risk of an EU rift over the project.
Parts of the anti-missile shield are already in place in the United States, Britain and Greenland, and Pentagon officials say the plan is to have the system operational by 2013. Washington acknowledges that the system primarily protects US soil from attack by "rogue states" like Iran but that it would also shield some, though not all, European allies.
The Czech press stepped up the pressure for the country's veteran manager, Karel Bruckner, to resign on Thursday after the team's uninspiring 1:0 victory against Cyprus on Wednesday. The team had previously lost at home to Germany on Saturday in another Euro-2008 qualifier. Newspapers above all reproach 67-year old Bruckner for always preferring the same group of players and being unable to impose discipline on some of them. The whole squad was fined 1 million crowns (almost 48,000 dollars) after several players celebrated with a drinking session into the early hours of Sunday morning, hours after their 2:1 home defeat against Germany. The tabloid daily Sip alleged on Monday that prostitutes took part in the celebrations to mark the birthday of one of the players.
President Vaclav Klaus and his German counterpart Horst Kohler met briefly in the north Bohemian town of Teplice. According to Mr Klaus, the two heads of state met for half and hour to discuss Czech-German relations as well as a number of European issues including the proposed EU constitution. Both agreed that the Czech Republic and Germany now enjoyed very good relations. They did not discuss the building of a proposed US radar base on Czech territory.
Czech minister for trade and industry Martin Riman has said he will urge the government to fight the European Commission's decision to slash the Czech Republic's greenhouse gas emission quotas in a European court. Mr. Riman said the Czech Republic could also lodge its challenge in tandem, with Poland which also had its quotas reduced. The European Commission said on Monday that the Czech Republic's carbon dioxide quotas should not exceed 86.8 million tonnes, which is 14.8 percent lower than what the Czechs requested. Poland's CO2 quotas were slashed by 26 percent. Minister Riman said this was particularly unfair in view of the EU newcomers' booming economies.
Secondary school students from the towns of Jaromer and Sternberk have organised a protest march in Prague, which should conclude in front of the Ministry of Education. The students are angry at the introduction of a new standardised national school-leaving certificate while they were in the middle of their school cycle. The students want the national leaving certificate to only apply to pupils who have started secondary school this year. They have also begun organising a petition in support of their cause. So far they have collected 11,000 signatures from secondary school students. An internet petition has also collected 30,000 signatures from secondary pupils. The protest march is scheduled to take place on 4 May.
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