The Austrian leader, Wolfgang Schussel, has praised a plan by his Czech counterpart Jiri Paroubek to make a conciliatory gesture towards Sudeten Germans who did not support the Nazi regime. Speaking after a meeting between the two men in Vienna on Thursday, Mr Schussel said it was important that for the first time the principle of collective guilt was not being applied to the German minority. An estimated 2.5 million Germans were expelled from Czechoslovakia after World War II.
Mr Paroubek has not yet revealed exactly what kind of gesture he is planning. But the idea has already been rejected by Slovakia's prime minister, Mikulas Dzurinda, and a Sudeten German group in Austria.
The Czech Republic joined countries around the world on Thursday in marking two minutes silence in honour of the victims of last week's bombings in London. Meanwhile, the only Czech remaining unaccounted for since the attacks has been in touch with his family, said the Czech Foreign Ministry.
Czech support for the European Constitution has fallen dramatically, suggests a poll conducted by Median for Mlada fronta Dnes. Whereas in May of this year 62 percent of Czechs were in favour, now only 21 percent are for the document, which has been rejected by voters in France and the Netherlands.
The government has dropped plans to support a planned referendum on the constitution with an advertising campaign; it will instead launch a campaign to explain broader European issues to Czech citizens.
Senior Czech state officials are temporarily to fly on special Czech Airlines flights, under an agreement reached between the national carrier and Defence Minister Karel Kuhnl. The deal comes after a series of problems with the state's own military planes. Czech Airlines has also said it will help with negotiations for the purchase of a new state plane from manufacturer Airbus, which is expected to take place in the first half of next year.
Meanwhile, Czech manufacturer Aero Vodochody is to begin making fuselage parts for Airbus, Mlada fronta Dnes reported on Thursday.
The state's stake in Vitkovice Steel is being sold to the Russian company, Evraz, the government announced on Wednesday. Evraz has agreed to pay over seven billion crowns for the steelmaking giant; it will also invest 2.5 billion in the company, and put 800 million into developing the north Moravian region.
The Czech non-governmental organisation People in Need has been forced to cease its activities in Chechnya, after the Russian authorities refused to extend its permit to operate in the disputed territory. Meanwhile, the Czech Foreign Ministry has come out in support of People in Need, which it described as a very experienced charity.
The police have detained a group who allegedly sold military equipment abroad, a spokesperson said on Thursday. The five men and one woman are accused of illegal trading in both Czech and foreign made weapons, ammunition and computer hardware. No details have been released regarding the value of the items or to which countries the gang was exporting to.
The sunny weather we have been having in recent days looks set to continue, though storms are forecast for Saturday. Temperatures should remain in the high 20s Celsius.
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