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Czech military police unit in Iraq to stay two months longer than planned

A Czech military police unit serving in Iraq is due to stay two months longer than originally planned, and will now remain in the country until the end of February. The move was approved by both houses of parliament on Thursday after a request from the Iraqi authorities to keep the 80-strong Czech unit in place until after planned elections in January, when tensions are expected to rise. The Czech officers, who are based near Basra in the south of Iraq, have been training local police, helping keep law and order and fighting insurgents.

Senate approves discontinuation of compulsory military service

Meanwhile the Senate has approved the discontinuation of compulsory military service in the Czech Republic from the beginning of next year. Now only the president's signature is needed to make the bill law, bringing to an end 140 years of military duty in this part of the world. The last group of Czech conscripts are due to be complete their service just before Christmas.

Karasek appointed human rights commissioner

Former dissident and Freedom Union MP Svatopluk Karasek has been appointed the government's human rights commissioner, after the recent resignation of Jan Jarab. Mr Karasek, who is a priest of the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren and also a singer, says he has no plans to relinquish his seat in the Chamber of Deputies.

Czech, Polish ministers criticise EU restrictions on labour movement

Most European Union states are over-protective of their labour markets and discriminate against service companies from central European countries, the Polish Finance Minister Jerzy Hausner and the Czech Labour Minister Zdenek Skromach said after talks in Prague on Thursday. Mr Hausner said there was no reason to maintain transition periods for workers from new EU countries.

Crown hits new high against US dollar

The Czech crown hit a new high against the US dollar of 24.46 crowns on Thursday, following the US elections and downbeat data on the country's economy. Analysts said, however, that the dollar was likely to recover somewhat in the next couple of months.

National Bank: public finance deficit should fall to 3.5% of GDP in 2005

The Czech Republic's public finance deficit should fall to 3.5 percent of GDP in 2005, according to new estimates just released by the National Bank. That would mark a fall from this year's figure of 4.3 percent.

Czech Telecom fined for abusing dominant position

Czech Telecom has been fined 23 million crowns by the Anti-monopoly Office for abusing its dominant position on the telecoms market, a spokesman for the Office said on Thursday. Between February 2002 and January 2003 the company prevented rivals from entering the internet and data transfer markets using ASDL technology.

Sparta Prague beaten 4:1 by Manchester United in Champions League

Sparta Prague were beaten 4:1 by Manchester United in a Champions League football game on Wednesday night. The Czech team's only goal was scored by Lukas Zelenka. Sparta captain Karel Poborsky - a former Man United player - left the field to applause from the home crowd after being sent off minutes from the end after receiving a second yellow card.


Friday is expected to be cloudy with rain in places. The maximum temperature should be 12 degrees Celsius.