Prime Minister Stanislav Gross has said he will take legal action against Mlada fronta Dnes and Respekt, two newspapers which have questioned how he bought his luxury Prague flat. Mr Gross said in the lower house on Tuesday that what he called the campaign against him in the Czech media was damaging the credibility of the Czech Republic.
For their part, his critics say the prime minister's alleged failure to explain how he bought a flat for more than he had officially earned is tarnishing the country's reputation.
A move by the opposition Civic Democrats to raise the matter in the lower house was defeated.
A group of right-wing senators have put forward a bill under which political parties would not be allowed to use the word "communist" in their names. Senator Jaroslav Stetina said the group wanted to make the promotion of communist or Nazi ideology punishable by up to five years in prison. He said they did not want to wipe out the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia, who are second in opinion polls, but to force them to transform themselves into a modern left-wing party.
Unemployment in the Czech Republic rose to 9.8 percent in January, up from 9.5 percent the previous month, according to figures just released by the Labour Ministry. Over 550,000 Czechs are now out of work.
Year-on-year inflation in January stood at 1.7 percent. It was the lowest increase for over a year, and was slower than the Czech National Bank had predicted.
The Czech Republic received seven billion crowns (over 300 million US dollars) from the European Union more than it paid in during its first year as a member, the Czech Finance Ministry said on Tuesday. The country contributed 18 billion crowns to the EU budget, but received almost 25 billion in compensation payments and from various funds. The difference was greater than Czech officials predicted at accession talks in Copenhagen in 2002.
The pedestrian underpass at Mustek metro station in the centre of Prague is to be locked at night, to keep out drug dealers and homeless people. The mayor of Prague 1 said there were plans to also close other stations on or near Wenceslas Square during the night.
Pavel Nedved has been named Czech Footballer of the Year for the fourth time in his career. The 32-year-old midfielder retired as Czech captain after the European Championships in Portugal, where he was outstanding. Second in the poll was Milan Baros, who was the top scorer at Euro 2004. National team coach Karel Bruckner was named manager of the year at Monday's ceremony in Prague.
Temperatures are due to rise over the next couple of days, reaching up to 8 or 9 degrees Celsius at the end of the week. It will be mostly cloudy with some sunny spells.
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