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Civic Democrats to call extraordinary parliament session after police tap party head's phone

The senior opposition Civic Democratic Party wants to call an extraordinary session of the lower house of parliament after police disclosed they had been monitoring the phone calls and bank accounts of the party's head, Mirek Topolanek. The party wants to establish an investigative committee in parliament and Mr Topolanek himself asked the Justice and Interior Ministers to explain the police activities. Police say they have transcripts of Mr Topolanek's phone calls recorded during the investigation of a recent alleged bribery case. But it is not clear whether the police were monitoring Mr Topolanek's phone or the phones of the two suspects in the case, Mr Topolanek's assistant, Marek Dalik, and lobbyist Jan Vecerek.

Government, trade unions, employers fail to agree on minimum wage for 2005

Government officials, trade unions and employers failed to reach a consensus on Thursday on the valorisation of the minimum wage in the coming year. The government proposal envisaged an increase by 600 crowns a month but trade unions considered it inadequate and pushed for an 800 crown increase to seven and a half thousand crowns. Employers want to keep the minimum wage at its present level.

Social Democrats gain public support ahead of elections

A public opinion poll carried out by the STEM polling agency ahead of the upcoming Senate and regional elections suggests that the ruling Social Democrats are gaining on the opposition Civic Democrats, who are in the lead with 28.2 percent of public support. Since July, the Social Democrats have gained 4.7 percent and now enjoy 18.3 percent of public support. The third strongest party, the poll suggests, are the Communists with 16.6 percent.

EU inspectors examine Czech meat and milk processing plants

A team of EU inspectors are checking out hygiene conditions in Czech meat and milk processing plants. An earlier inspection at the beginning of this year revealed that some plants were still short of fulfilling all EU hygiene criteria and they were given a few more months to comply. The plants are being chosen at random. The Czech Hygiene Office has already closed down 600 out of 4,000 plants which were unable to meet EU requirements.

Longest-surviving heart transplant patient to celebrate 20 years since surgery

The longest-surviving Czech with a heart transplant is going to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of his successful surgery this Saturday. Sixty-eight-year old language teacher Rudolf Sekava from the eastern town of Jihlava is in good health. He still teaches at a local high school although long past retirement age. Mr Sekava had been diagnosed with a fatal heart condition and operated on in 1984 at the Prague Institute of Clinical and Experimental Medicine. The institute has so far carried out over 500 heart transplants out of the Czech Republic's total of 740. There are currently 400 Czechs living with a heart transplant.


Friday is expected to be partly cloudy with scattered showers and daytime temperatures between 14 and 17 degrees Celsius.