The Czech economy grew by 5.1 percent in the second quarter of this year, its fastest rise since the same period in 1996, the Statistical Office said on Friday. Deputy Prime Minister for the Economy Martin Jahn said the growth was due to foreign investment and the utilisation of European Union funds.
The interior minister, Frantisek Bublan, says the government will try to persuade Czech telecommunications operators to help finance the provision of data on users, as part of the state's anti-terrorism strategy. Operators now keep such data for three months, but under proposed European Union legislation data would be kept for 12 months; this would cost the state a great deal in additional charges, said Mr Bublan, who was speaking at a meeting of EU interior ministers in England.
The United States will not for the moment take up a Czech government offer to send material aid and specialist workers to help deal with the consequences of Hurricane Katrina. Speaking after talks with the Czech prime minister, Jiri Paroubek, the US ambassador to Prague, William Cabaniss, said it was necessary to first establish priorities for aid in the states affected by the disaster.
Businessman Radovan Krejcir, who escaped police custody in the Czech Republic two months ago, is in the Seychelles, Interpol confirmed to the Czech police on Friday. Mr Krejcir, his wife - also wanted by the police - and their son all have Seychelles citizenship. The Czech Republic does not have an extradition agreement with the country.
The Romany band Kale have announced they will no longer back the singer Vera Bila. They said she was unreliable and had organised solo concerts which clashed with her bookings with the group. Vera Bila and Kale released their first album in 1996 and found considerable success on the international scene.
Roman Catholic bishop Vaclav Maly has criticised Czech politicians for not discussing human rights violations with their Chinese counterparts. Speaking after a two-week visit to China on a tourist visa, he said Czech politicians were happy to discuss trade with Chinese officials but did not mention civil liberties. A former dissident, Bishop Maly has also visited Cuba, Belarus and Moldova to assess those countries' human rights situations.
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