Czech exports to Slovakia have risen by 22 percent year on year in the first nine months of 2001, amounting to 74.5 billion Czech crowns, or about 8 percent of all of the country's exports. Imports from Slovakia to the Czech Republic have also risen, if mildly, by some three percent at 55.9 billion crowns, which leaves a Czech trade surplus of over 18 billion. The Czech Republic only exported more to Germany during this period. Many Czech businesses are looking for new markets in Slovakia, and an increase in business between the two countries is on the drawing board as Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman prepares to visit Slovakia on Monday. Topping the list of Czech exports to Slovakia are engineering products, semi-finished products, chemicals, industrial items, food stuffs, and livestock.
Finance Minister Jiri Rusnok has said in a television debate that he will support a loan of around 7 billion Czech crowns for the Defence Ministry, reacting to a request earlier in the week by Defence Minister Jaroslav Tvrdik. The ministry is asking for the loan in order to help pay off its L-159 fighter jet project, which has a tab of some 50 billion Czech crowns. Mr Rusnok said that by taking the loan, the total cost of the project would be increased by some 200 to 280 million crowns in interest. That sum would be paid off from the Defence Ministry's budget in the coming years. The whole L-159 project has not been without controversy for some time now: the Czech Air Force ordered seventy-two L-159 fighter planes from the manufacturer Areo Vodochody, but many of the planes have yet to be delivered. More seriously, dangerous technical faults have been discovered which have led to the grounding of the air force's L-159 fleet until further notice.
A 55-year-old railway employee has been charged with criminal negligence leading to the death of a 40-year-old driver from Prerov on Saturday. Police say that the railway employee turned off the signals at a railway crossing too early, leading the driver of the car to crash into the side of a moving train. The driver was trapped in his vehicle and burned to death. If found guilty, the railway employee could face up to several years in jail. Police are also investigating whether or not the driver of the car had been drinking alcohol.
Monday morning partly foggy, clearing up later, during the day it will be partly cloudy with a chance of showers in the afternoon. Temperatures during the day will reach a high of 2 degrees Celsius.Temperatures at night will fall to lows between 0 and -4 Celsius.
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