A 48-hour strike of the Czech Republic's train drivers due to begin on March 1 has been called off, after unions reached an agreement with Czech Rail on Friday. The national rail carrier gave in to union demands to change the pay conditions of some drivers from the beginning of next month, a union spokesman told reporters, adding that many other issues remained to be discussed with Czech Rail's management.
A Czech airlines flight from Prague to Bratislava made an emergency landing shortly after the take-off on Friday. According to TV Prima, the cause was reportedly a crack in the cockpit window. This was the fifth case this year that a Czech airlines aircraft had to return to the airport or could not take off at all. The previous one occurred just the day before. The average age of the national carrier's fleet is nine years.
As of the second half of this year, drivers will have almost no chance to park their cars in the centre of Prague free of charge. The Prague City Hall is planning to introduce parking zones in districts 2, 3 and 7. Similar zones have already been in place in Prague 1. The main aim of the introduction of paid parking zones is to limit the volume of traffic in central Prague.
The Czech public transport system often comes in for praise: tickets are affordable and there are few places in the country that are inaccessible without a car. The national rail operator, Ceske Drahy, or Czech Railways, carries half a million passengers a day, a huge figure in a country of only ten million. But a dispute between Czech Railways management and its drivers could leave hundreds of thousands of people stranded for two days.
Making headlines in the papers today - claims that British Prime Minister Tony Blair is worried about an influx of Czech Romanies following EU enlargement, a dispute in the cabinet over registered partnerships for gay couples, and denials from Labour and Social Affairs Minister Zdenek Skromach that the government has reached an agreement over regulated rent.
Coalition parties at odds over another tax hike. The railway trade unions are planning a strike in protest at mass redundancies. Stock brokers from the European Union are becoming interested in membership of the Prague Stock Exchange. Czech truck production decreased in 2003. The tractor maker Zetor is on the verge of bankruptcy. OKD mulls acquisition of Polish competitors. Czech travel agents report record sales for 2003. Number of importers from China may go out of business for failing to apply in time for a licence. Russian industrial group
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