The government has approved an outline of reform of the pension system and a schedule for its implementation. The pension system is to be based on compulsory continual financing with optional individual pension insurance. While the compulsory part will be guaranteed by the state, the government takes no liability for the individual pension insurance schemes. The World Bank has recently urged the Czech Republic to reform its pension system as a way of cutting the worryingly growing deficit in public finances.
The government has approved a strategy aimed at livening up economic growth proposed by the Industry and Trade Minister Miroslav Gregr. Mr. Gregr's plan envisages massive investment in the Czech Republic's industry which will accelerate economic growth from the current three percent to four percent this year and five to six percent in 2002. Minister Gregr said his plan counted on extra-budgetary funding, such as revenues from privatization, bank loans and money from EU funds.
The Temelin nuclear power station was disconnected from the country's national electricity grid on Monday morning, less than 24 hours just after receiving permission to go back on-line. Operators decreased output at Temelin's first reactor to two percent and stopped the turbine, after several hundred litres of oil leaked from the secondary circuit. Temelin is undergoing a month-long stage of testing with output up to 55 percent. However, it has had to be stopped repeatedly due to unexpected technical problems. Anti-nuclear activists in neighbouring Austria say the problems are proof Temelin is unsafe. The owner of Temelin, ste-run power utility CEZ, says the problems are normal in any testing period.
The European Union has declared the Czech Republic a high-risk country for BSE or mad cow disease, even though there have been no cases of BSE reported in the country. An EU expert committee based their ruling on the fact that the Czech Republic had imported large amounts of livestock and bone meal from EU countries where BSE later appeared. According to a member of the Czech permanent mission to the EU, the decision to rank the Czech Republic in the high-risk group will have no economic impact.
And finally, the weather forecast. Tuesday will be partially cloudy with afternoon highs ranging from 16 to 22 degrees Celsius. It will become somewhat more cloudy towards the evening. Wednesday and Thursday should be cloudy with scattered showers and the highest daytime temperatures between 7 and 11 degrees Celsius.
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