Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Stanislav Gross has rejected claims that Defence Minister Miroslav Kostelka plans to resign. Mr Gross said that the Social Democrat defence minister assured him on Thursday he would continue to lead the Army's ongoing reform process. Mr Gross reacted to a Czech Radio report, which said that various sources claimed Mr Kostelka was unhappy with the divided coalition government and would rather accept a diplomatic post than be a government minister.
The regional court in Ostrava has found a man guilty of extorting the state and has sentenced him to 13 years in prison. Fifty-one year old Pavel Kaderabek was accused of loosening the bolts on a rail line near the north Moravian town of Sumperk and threatening the state to derail a train if he were not paid 15 million Czech crowns. Mr Kaderabek, who admitted to having committed the crime, has appealed the verdict, saying he was driven to extortion by his poor financial situation. At the time, he was living in the flat of his sister, who had submitted it as collateral for the debts of a friend and was being threatened with eviction.
The Czech Senate approved an amendment to the law on waste management on Thursday, which requires that owners of used cars contribute financially to the disposal of junk vehicles. The growing number of used cars is considered a major environmental problem. If the new law is signed by the President, anyone who registers a used car will have to pay five thousand Czech crowns into the state's Environment Fund account. The money is to be divided among those disposing of junk cars and municipalities which remove them from public places. Currently, half of all registered cars in the Czech Republic are used cars but only about eighty percent of them are registered for use. Last year, 145,000 cars were imported into the Czech Republic. However, the director of the Czech Association of the Automobile Industry, Antonin Sipek, does not believe the proposed new law would help to reduce the number of imported used cars.
Saturday is expected to be another cold and grey day with overcast skies and day-time temperatures between 4 and 8 degrees Celsius.
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