Unemployment in the Czech Republic hit an all-time high of 10.3 percent in December. Almost 550,000 Czechs were out of work last month, some 20,000 more than in November. That increase was due to a winter fall-off in construction projects and seasonal jobs ending, a government report showed on Friday. Analysts expect unemployment figures to rise again in January because some one-year contracts will have been terminated at the end of the year.
Inflation in the Czech Republic was at its lowest level in ten years in 2003, according to data released Friday. The fall in inflation, as measured by the consumer price index, was helped by declining prices of food, clothing and furniture. The inflation rate last year was just 0.1 percent. Ten years ago inflation in this country was at 20.8. The Czech National Bank has cautioned that inflation may recover in early 2004.
Under a planned amendment to the Criminal Code, police officers in the Czech Republic will be able to commit crimes while working undercover, something which should help them infiltrate gangs of drug dealers, human traffickers and other criminals, the newspaper Mlada fronta Dnes reported on Friday. Opposition parties are expected to support the Justice Ministry's proposal.
The new United States ambassador to Prague, William Cabaniss, arrived in the Czech Republic on Friday. Mr Cabaniss replaces Craig Stapleton, who was in Prague for two and a half years. The new US ambassador, who is 65 and a member of the Republican Party, is expected to present his credentials to Czech President Vaclav Klaus on Tuesday.
A court in the central Bohemian town of Rakovnik has rejected for the third time a claim by Franz Ulrich Kinsky to 32 acres of woodland confiscated after World War II. Mr Kinsky, a descendant of the Kinsky noble family, has filed a total of 157 lawsuits against the Czech state. Most of the property he is seeking belonged to his father, an alleged Nazi sympathiser who died before the war. However, Mr Kinsky says the property belonged to him, not his father, and the confiscation was therefore illegal.
Saturday is expected to be cloudy with snow in some parts of the country. The maximum temperature should be +3 degrees Celsius.
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