A Czech man who joined a demonstration outside the German embassy in Prague for the release of a far-right extremist imprisoned in Germany for denying the Holocaust will himself face trial for the same offence. Czech state attorney Zdenka Galkova said on Monday that the unidentified 21-year-old man -- whom media have described as a Neo-Nazi - faces three years in prison. The accused was among some seventy far-right extremists who protested in support of author and Holocaust-denier Ernst Zuendel, now on trial in Mannheim, Germany. The rally on October 28, a state holiday, was shouted down by a larger much group of anti-fascists. The accused was one of two far-right extremists arrested that day.
Britain, which now holds the rotating EU presidency, is set to propose cuts to the union's 2007-2013 budget proposed by the previous presidency. Britain is expected to suggest slashing the proposed EU budget three percent in part by lowering by 10 percent regional aid to newcomers like the Czech Republic and rural development funds to several old member states. U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair is due to meet central and east European leaders on a trip to Estonia and Hungary on Thursday and Friday, and the cuts are certain to top the agenda. The Czech Prime Minister, Jiri Paroubek, appealed to Blair in a letter on Monday to reconsider the cuts.
The head of the Social Security Administration office has denied that a budget shortfall will force the Cabinet to borrow billions of crowns to pay out pensions and sick pay. The daily Mlada front Dnes reported on Monday that the Cabinet would need to take out a bridge loan of up to 7 billion crowns to make the payments, as was the case last year. Social Security Administration office head Jiri Hoidekr said that no such shortfall is anticipated, contrary to what officials from the finance and labour ministries were quoted by the newspaper as saying.
The Czech crown could join the European Exchange Rate Mechanism II in the second half of 2007, the finance ministry said in a statement Monday, stressing that the timetable would not affect plans to adopt the euro at the start of 2010. Two years of ERM II membership is a condition for joining the so-called Eurozone. During that time the currency is pegged to the euro and can fluctuate within a very narrow band. Slovakia this weekend became the fifth post-communist European Union member state to join ERM II, after Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovenia.
The antitrust office has dropped an investigation of three major Czech banks over alleged collusion in setting customer service fees. The office said it had found insufficient evidence to make a case against the banks -- Ceska Sporitelna, CSOB, and Komercni Banka - but claimed to have proof that CSOB had made a concrete offer to set at least one rate with another bank. All three banks deny any wrongdoing.
Light snowfall is in the forecast for the second half of the week, with daytime highs of 2 degrees Celsius.
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