Daily news summary News

08-06-2005

Social Democrats second on popularity ladder

The Social Democratic Party, the senior party in the ruling coalition, has made it to second place on the popularity ladder, an opinion poll suggests. According to the results of the poll, which was conducted by the CVVM agency in May, the opposition right-of-centre Civic Democrats continue to be in the lead with 30%, followed by the Social Democrats with 16%, and the Communists, who had enjoyed second place in preceding months, with 14.5%.

The popularity of the Social Democrats suffered greatly at the beginning of the year when the party backed its leader and then prime minister Stanislav Gross in a scandal over his personal finances that led to a coalition crisis. Mr Gross resigned as prime minister and was replaced by Jiri Paroubek in April.

Police arrest suspected people-smuggling gang members

The Czech police have arrested twenty members of an international gang suspected of people smuggling. The gang is believed to have smuggled at least one thousand illegal migrants from Eastern Europe, mainly Russia, Chechnya, Dagestan, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine, into the Czech Republic. Every illegal migrant is believed to have paid the gang 750 euros to be smuggled across the border.

Inflation slows down; unemployment drops

Inflation in the Czech Republic slowed to 1.3 percent year-on-year in May from April's 1.6 percent, the Czech Statistical Office said on Wednesday. The National Bank, which expected year-on-year inflation to drop to 1.1 percent, says excise tax changes and slower annual growth in fuel prices are responsible.

Meanwhile, unemployment in the Czech Republic fell to 8.6 percent in May from 8.9 percent in April, the Labour Ministry has announced. It is estimated that 494,576 people were looking for employment in May; close to 18,000 fewer than in April.

Lower Austria awards President Klaus with European Regional Integration prize

The Czech President Vaclav Klaus received the European Regional Integration prize in Austria's Sankt Polten during his one-day state visit on Wednesday. Mr Klaus was awarded with the prize by Lower Austria and the Krems University for preserving equality but also the diversity of regions on the way to a united Europe.

Weather

It is expected to remain cloudy and rainy in the next few days with day-time temperatures reaching a maximum of 19 degrees Celsius by Friday.

08-06-2005