The Czech Deputy Prime Minister Martin Jahn said on Monday he would step down at the end of the year and quit politics, just six months ahead of the country's general elections. Mr Jahn, in charge of economic affairs in the cabinet, had been due to head the Social Democrats' list of candidates in Prague although he himself is not a party member. Commentators say Mr Jahn's move was motivated by a shift further to the left by the Social Democrats, shown by a more frequent cooperation with the little-reformed Communist Party in parliament in recent months. Mr Jahn denied this on Monday at a joint news conference with Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek who ruled out direct cooperation with the Communists.
Meanwhile Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek has confirmed he has been holding talks with former diplomat and European Commissioner Pavel Telicka regarding the replacement of the outgoing Deputy Prime Minister Martin Jahn. Mr Paroubek said Pavel Telicka could also head the Social Democrats' list of candidates in the Prague constituency.
The Czech and French governments will try and find a compromise solution to the issue of restricted labour movement. After meeting French President Jacques Chirac in Paris on Monday, the Czech Prime Minister Jiri Proubek said he could envisage a certain liberalisation of employment restrictions, for example for Czech university graduates. France, along with the majority of old EU members, imposed temporary labour movement restrictions for citizens of new EU countries.
The Polish petrochemical company PKN Orlen has agreed to pay an additional 1.6 billion crowns for the Czech government's stake in the Czech chemical group Unipetrol it bought earlier this year. This will make the amount PKN Orlen has paid for the share in Unipetrol almost 14.7 billion crowns or (595 million dollars). The amount was calculated by a recent audit at Unipetrol.
Meanwhile Czech police have shelved former prime minister Stanislav Gross's slander complaint against Polish lobbyist Jacek Spyra, the state attorney's office that monitored the investigation said. He added that according the police concluded that no crime had been committed. Mr Gross filed the complaint against Mr Spyra following his statement made at a secret meeting with the former head of the prime minister's office, which was secretly recorded by TV Nova. At the meeting Mr Gross's name was mentioned in connection with corruption during the sale of the Czech oil group Unipetrol to the Polish PKN Orlen company.
The Czech Republic will send another military plane carrying two doctors, a rescue group and 12 tonnes of supplies, including tents and campbeds, for Pakistan on Tuesday, the Interior Ministry said. The group will partly replace and partly reinforce a 23-member Czech medical team that has been operating in the areas hit by a devastating earthquake for several days. The reinforced medical team will remain in the town of Ravalkot in northern Pakistan for another fortnight.
A South Korean television drama set in Prague is drawing viewers to the Czech capital, increasing the number of South Korean tourists by 10 percent on a 12-month comparison, a South Korean airline manager said on Monday. "Lovers in Prague", the story of a romance between a president's daughter and a policeman in Prague, began running in prime time on commercial station SBS TV at the beginning of October. Korean Air's general manager for the Czech Republic and Central Europe Myung Yoo said Korean travel agents are now adapting their Central Europe tour programmes to take account of the increased interest in Prague sparked by the show.
We can expect partly cloudy skies and daytime temperatures to range from 13 to 16 degrees Celsius in the coming days.
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