Police in Prague have launched an investigation after a monument to victims of the Communist era was damaged in an explosion. No-one was injured in the blast, which is believed to have occurred early on Sunday morning. Police are now examining traces of the explosive. The monument, which uses life-sized human figures to represent Communist-era political prisoners, has already been vandalised once before: in August vandals covered the statues with adhesive tape spelling out abusive slogans.
Meanwhile police in the northern town of Trutnov say the graves of 15 Jewish girls killed by the Nazis have been desecrated. Fifteen tombstones were overturned and damaged in the attack. Police are treating the incident as racially-motivated. The head of the Prague Jewish Community said the attack could be connected with the 65th anniversary of "Kristalnacht", when thousands of Jewish shops and synagogues across Germany were burned and looted by the Nazis. He said the number of attacks against Jewish monuments rose each November.
Newspaper reports say Miroslav Kalousek, the newly-elected leader of the junior coalition Christian Democrats, will not become a minister in the centre-left government. Mr Kalousek defeated Cyril Svoboda, the foreign minister, in Saturday's leadership contest. He told Mlada Fronta Dnes newspaper that he wanted to concentrate on leading the party to success in the 2006 parliamentary elections. Mr Svoboda will remain in his cabinet post, and will serve as one of the party's deputy chairmen.
A bus driver being prosecuted over an accident in which 19 people were killed has failed to appear in court on the first day of his trial. Pavel Krbec, charged with causing the crash and also falsifying his driving licence, said he was too ill to attend proceedings. Prosecutors say Mr Krbec was driving too fast for the conditions at the time of the crash, and was not paying due attention to the road. He is also accused of falsifying his bus driver's licence, which had expired. He faces 10 years in prison if found guilty. Mr Krbec himself has filed charges against the father of one of the victims, who recently launched an Internet site describing him as a murderer.
The Labour and Social Affairs Ministry has said that unemployment has fallen to below 10 percent. A spokesman for the ministry said unemployment had dropped from 10.1 per cent in September to 9.9 per cent in October. The fall was greater than analysts had predicted, with just over half a million people now out of work. Economists said the floods of 2002 had undermined the Czech economy and that economic activity was displaying a comeback.
The Czech Statistics Office said higher prices of food and non-alcoholic drinks pushed consumer prices slightly higher in October, reversing a recent trend. Prices, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), gained 0.1 per cent in October compared with September and rose 0.4 per cent from the level registered in October 2002.
Tuesday will be another cold and cloudy day with freezing fog in some parts of the country. Daytime temperatures will range from 4 to 8 degrees Celsius. Temperatures at night will fall to lows of -6 degrees.
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