The Czech National Bank has raised interest rates by a quarter of a percent, with the benchmark two-week repo rate growing to 2.0 percent to stand level with the euro zone rate. Year-on-year inflation in September reached 2.2 percent, a marked acceleration from 1.7 percent in August. However, Finance Minister Bohuslav Sobotka questioned the central bank's decision, which he said was premature.
The government has donated another 40 million crowns in humanitarian aid to the region of Pakistan devastated by a recent earthquake. This brings total aid for Pakistan to 110 million crowns (around 4.5 million dollars). Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda said some funds would probably be made available for the treatment of Pakistani earthquake victims here in the Czech Republic.
The Czech Republic will begin issuing passports fitted with microchips from August next year, in line with other countries in the European Union, said Interior Minister Frantisek Bublan. In the following two years the chips will include an electronic image of the holder's face. More advanced chips due to be introduced in 2008 will also feature fingerprints.
One third of children in the Czech Republic are born outside of wedlock, which is the EU average, according to data released by the Eurostat agency. In 1980 only 5.6 percent of Czech babies were born outside marriage.
Police are investigating whether two police officers charged with the killing of a homeless man this month also carried out other brutal attacks - one of which led to the death of another homeless man - earlier in the year. The Zlin-based officers, aged 25 and 31, are being held in custody.
The Czech football star Milan Baros has said his English club Aston Villa may not allow him to play in the Czech Republic's World Cup play-offs in the middle of November. The club's manager expressed frustration recently when Baros returned from international duty injured and unable to play. The Czech team's other first-choice striker, Jan Koller, underwent an operation recently and is not expected to play for another six months.
The weather looks very good ahead of this long, holiday weekend, with sunshine and temperatures of up to 19 or 20 degrees Celsius expected.
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