Daily news summary News

28-03-2004

President Klaus urges Czechs and Germans to reconcile

Speaking at the close of a two day conference on Czech-German relations, President Vaclav Klaus called on the two nations to reconcile with the past and look to the future. Mr. Klaus said that although no nation could afford to bury its history, it was vital to accept what could not be changed. He reminded both nations that in the long history of Czech German relations there had been more good than bad. The times of cooperation were longer than the times of adversity, the Czech president said, adding that it was the Germans who came in peace who had made the deepest mark on life and developments in the Czech Republic. In the interest of EU enlargement and our common future in Europe we should build on what was positive, the Czech president concluded.

Cabinet meets to debate controversial end of year bonuses

The Czech government is meeting late on Sunday to decide whether or not to grant civil servants so called 13th and 14th salaries, special end of year bonuses which were guaranteed by law in the past. A meeting between Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla and trade union leaders produced no tangible result. Union leaders said Mr. Spidla had listened to their arguments but made no promises. Civil servants say their annual incomes would drop significantly without this supplement and have threatened various protest actions if the Cabinet fails to find the extra money. Trade unions believe the outlooks are not good since most ministers support the payment of only symbolic end of year bonuses amounting to 10 percent of the monthly wage.

Anti-abortion activists march though Prague

Some 500 anti-abortion activists marched through the centre of Prague this weekend in support of a proposed amendment to the law which would ban abortions in the Czech Republic. The proposed amendment which was drafted by one of the coalition parties -the Christian Democrats - would permit abortion only in exceptional cases such as rape or health reasons. Doctors who would perform an abortion illegally would face up to five years in prison. Any person who had persuaded a woman to have an abortion or helped her with it could be sentenced to up to one year in prison.

Weather:

Monday is expected to be partly cloudy with day temperatures between 7 and 11 degrees Celsius.

28-03-2004