US Secretary Of State, Colin Powell, has expressed serious concerns over the Czech Foreign Ministry's approach to a resolution criticising human rights violations in Cuba, which is to be submitted to the UN Human Rights Commission. Mr. Powell telephoned Czech president Vaclav Havel at the weekend and criticised an addition that calls economic sanctions against Cuba counterproductive. The controversial addition was also a reason for Poland withdrawing as co-author of the resolution. Mr. Havel has also voiced his dissatisfaction with the way Czech politicians were canvassing support for the resolution.
Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman is on a visit to India to promote economic cooperation between the two countries. This is the first ever visit of by Czech Prime Minister to India. The Czech Republic is interested not only in industrial and construction projects, but also in cooperation in the field of military and defence.
Although the unemployment rate in the Czech Republic has been decreasing, the time people remain on the dole has been increasing. At the end of 2000, nearly 40 percent of those unemployed had been registered at the employment offices for more than one year, while in 1999, the figure was only 30 percent. According to statistics, the average time people remain jobless is 14 months. In general, these are mainly people with low qualifications, older, handicapped, or with young children.
Lebanese construction firms want to cooperate with Czech companies in the construction of a river dam and irrigation system on the river Litani. The estimated value of the project is 3 to 5 hundred million USD. The Czech government agency CzechTrade said that the dam would supply electricity to the whole of Southern Lebanon and distribute water to more than 12 thousand hectares of land. The project will be financed mainly by a Kuwaiti development fund.
Austrian customs officers have arrested a group of refugees who illegally crossed the Czech-Austrian border near the Wullowitz border crossing. The people, mainly from Afghanistan, India and Pakistan, were reportedly transported across the Czech Republic in a sealed truck and were found absolutely exhausted when they tried to cross the border on foot.
And finally, some sports news - and Czech Roman Sebrle has won the gold medal in the heptathlon event at the World Indoor Championships in Lisbon. Sebrle got within 56 points of Dan O'Brien's world record in the heptathlon. Sebrle earned a total of 6,420 points to take the gold, ahead of Iceland's Jon Arnor Magnusson and Russia's Lev Lobodin. This is the second Czech gold at the athletic championships, as Pavla Hamackova won the pole vault on Friday.
And finally, let's take a look at the weather. We are expecting a cloudy day with occasional showers, the highest daytime temperatures on should range from 11 to 15 degrees Celsius. Tuesday and Wednesday should be also cloudy with scattered rain showers but a little colder, with afternoon highs only up to 10 degrees Celsius.
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