Czech and Slovak soldiers should work together more frequently, Czech President Vaclav Klaus and his Slovak counterpart Rudolf Schuster said on Friday. The two presidents agreed on closer co-operation in the military during a ceremony in Prague honouring members of the joint Czech-Slovak anti-chemical unit, which recently returned from its mission in Kuwait. However, the heads of state are yet to decide in what form this increased co-operation should to be.
The President of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), Thomas Dine, has confirmed that the station's headquarters will be moved to a different location in Prague. Situated in the city centre, next to the National Museum at the top of Wenceslas Square, the US-funded RFE/RL is considered a security threat by many Prague citizens who fear further terrorist attacks against US interests since September 11 2001. Mr Dine said on Friday that negotiations with several real estate owners are underway. However, he did not confirm whether the re-location is scheduled for next year when the current contract with the Czech state expires. RFE/RL is paying a symbolic one US dollar in rent but invests two million dollars yearly in the building's maintenance.
Pilots at the country's national air carrier, Czech Airlines (CSA), say they will go on strike, should CSA management fail to give them suitable contracts next week. Six of seven trade union organisations disagree with a proposal to have one collective contract for one whole organisation and are pushing for individual contracts instead. CSA has been given until next week to come up with a compromising solution. The president of the Czech Pilots' Trade Union Association Radomil Kratochvil has promised radical protests, should talks with CSA management fail.
The Czech government could speed plans to privatise the state-controlled telecommunications company, Cesky Telecom, if a strong buyer appears on the scene, Information Minister Vladimir Mlynar said on Friday. Mr Mlynar who oversees Cesky Telecom said the company will be more attractive to strategic investors after Thursday's decision to acquire the cash-rich Eurotel for 1.05 billion US dollars and pay large dividends, which sent its share sharply higher. Although no bidder has come forward so far, Mr Mlynar is positive that the government could privatise Cesky Telecom ahead of the planned 2005 sell off.
The Czech government is expected to discuss a proposal to a well-needed new law on employment this month. A spokesperson for the Labour and Social Affairs Ministry said on Friday that the law was imperative as the issue of child labour has received little attention and is not being addressed legally. Under the proposal, children up to fifteen years should not be permitted to work.
Austria will not open its market to Czech electricity, Susanne Pachov from Austria's Energy-Control Institute said on Friday. Following a decision by the Czech Republic's neighbour to prohibit any imports of electricity from companies that fail to use the most up-to-date technology, the Czech government has asked the European Commission to make a statement. However, Austria stands firm, despite a recent EC appeal, Mrs Pachov said.
The Civic Democratic Party (ODS) continues to stand high on the popularity ladder among Czech citizens, according to an opinion poll conducted by the Czech Centre for Public Opinion Research. If parliamentary elections were held last month, the ODS would have received 32.5% of the votes. The Social Democratic Party - the senior partner in the ruling three-party coalition - would only get the support of 15.5%, while the Communists follow closely behind with 15% of votes. The results of the poll are almost identical to the results of a similar poll conducted by the STEM agency last month.
Saturday has been forecast with partially clear skies and scattered temperatures. Day-time temperatures will range from 26-30 degrees Celsius.
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