Civic service, an alternative to compulsory military duty, will - like military service - cease to exist at the end of the year, under a bill which has been approved by the government. Young men who do not wish to join the army have had the option of working in hospitals and social institutions, or for non-governmental organisations; such bodies say they will have trouble replacing them. From the beginning of 2005 the Czech Army will be fully professional.
The Czech economy is expected to grow twice as fast as the economy of the Eurozone this year, according to figures released by Pricewaterhouse Coopers on Wednesday. Whereas the Eurozone is experiencing growth of 1.5 percent, the Czech economy could achieve growth of 3.25 percent in 2004, said the consultancy firm.
The number of passengers going through Prague's Ruzyne airport increased by 23 percent in 2003 and is expected to reach a record 9.2 million this year, the head of the Czech Airport Authority said on Wednesday. A new terminal which should be completed by 2006 will allow the airport to clear 10 million passengers a year, or up to 15 million if it is further extended.
The Czech Republic has announced the candidature of Deputy Foreign Minister Petr Kolar for the post of special envoy of the United Nations Secretary General in Kosovo. Stabilisation of the Balkans is one of the Czech Republic's foreign policy priorities, said a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry.
The Justice Ministry has been ordered by a Prague court to pay 200,000 crowns in compensation to a man who was wrongfully remanded in custody. Radovan Krejcir, who is being investigated for evading customs duties of half a billion crowns, was held for six months, though for half of that time no justification had been given for remanding him.
Weather forecasters have warned that heavy rains on Thursday may cause rivers in many parts of the country to rise dangerously high. Downpours on Tuesday evening led to the flooding of cellars around Pilsen and Olomouc. Meanwhile, reports that this June will be relatively cool may lead many Czechs to holiday abroad rather than staying at home, an expert told the CTK news agency.
Thursday should be a cloudy day with rain in places. The maximum temperature will be 22 degrees Celsius.
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