The common European currency has traded below 27 Czech crowns for the first time ever. One euro was valued at 26.94 crowns on Friday afternoon. Some analysts believe the crown will further strengthen towards the euro, and could breach the 26.70 mark in November; in the last twelve months the crown has gained almost five percent against the common European currency. Meanwhile, the crown also reached a new record against the US dollar - it was 18.73 to the dollar on Friday.
Sparta Prague lost 2:1 at home to Zurich in their first game in the group stage of the UEFA Cup, Europe's second-tier international club competition. Sparta went ahead through Miroslav Slepicka after 24 minutes, before the Swiss side equalised in the 38th minute and scored the eventual winner just after the hour mark. It has been a relatively poor start to the season for Sparta and fans expressed their frustration after the game with calls for the removal of manager Michal Bilek.
Prisoners will no longer be able to refuse to work for local and regional authorities, under a bill passed by a large majority in the lower house of Parliament on Friday. Inmates who work earn money towards their keep in prison; under the new legislation, said Justice Minister Jiri Pospisil, those who are in good physical condition but refuse to work will have to pay towards the cost of keeping them in jail after their release. Currently inmates have a duty to work for the state, but can turn down work at local or regional level. The new bill must now go before the Senate and the president.
The Prague Town Hall says a planned march through the city's Jewish Quarter by neo-Nazi extremists should not go ahead, as an announcement filed by its organisers is invalid. The group which announced it was holding the procession, Mladi narodni demokrate (Young National Democrats), was not legally registered when the declaration was made, Prague Town Hall spokesman Jiri Wolf told journalists on Friday. The march is planned for Saturday November 10, the anniversary of the Kristallnacht Nazi pogrom of 1938. Jewish groups and politicians at both national and local level have called for it to be banned. However, two Town Hall injunctions against the march were found to be unlawful in court.
A new shopping centre has opened on Prague's Namesti Republiky square, a short walk from the bottom of Wenceslas Square. The Palladium centre is built on the site of a former army barracks and the developers have succeeded in preserving much of the original façade and working around a small church on the square. Palladium features over 170 shops and around two dozen restaurants.
The Chamber of Deputies has, as expected, voted down a proposal by the opposition Social Democrats and Communists for a referendum on a planned United States radar base in the Czech Republic. The governing Civic Democrats have consistently rejected the idea of a referendum on the issue. Parliament is set to decide next year on whether to allow the US base, which would be part of a global anti-missile defence shield.
Skoda Auto increased its pre-tax profits by almost 40 percent in the third quarter of this year. In the three-month period profits for the Mlada Boleslav carmaker reached 14.8 billion crowns - more than the 14.2 billion crowns it earned in the whole of 2006. By the end of September Skoda Auto had produced almost 450,000 vehicles, representing an increase of almost 10 percent on the same nine-month period last year.
The Czech pop singer Aneta Langerova finished her latest tour with a big show at Prague's T-Mobile Arena on Thursday night. The tour, in support of her second album Dotyk, took her to 11 cities around the Czech Republic. Aneta Langerova shot to fame after winning the first series of the Czech version of Pop Idol; since then the singer has established herself as one of the country's most successful and acclaimed young musicians.
A Czech aid worker was detained in Chechnya on Thursday on charges of fraud, AP reported. Hana Demeterova was taken into custody in the capital Grozny, said an official from Russia's Federal Migration Service; he said she suspected of fraud but refused to specify the charges. The Czech Foreign Ministry in Prague told AP it had no information on the detention.
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