The Czech foreign minister, Cyril Svoboda, has said Czechs do not pose a threat to the labour markets or social welfare systems of countries in the European Union. Mr Svoboda made the statement at a meeting of ambassadors from EU states and new EU states in Prague on Thursday. His words were particularly aimed at Italy, the Netherlands and Sweden, which had promised free access to workers from new EU countries but are now imposing restrictions. Less than three months before the Czech Republic and nine other countries join the Union, only the United Kingdom and Ireland are promising new EU citizens complete freedom on their labour markets.
The aircraft manufacturer Boeing said on Friday it was willing to discuss pulling out of the Czech company Aero Vodochody, following a Czech government request for it to do so earlier this week. Boeing became Aero's strategic investor in 1998, but has failed to deliver on its promise to help the Czech company penetrate foreign markets and increase its sales. Although Boeing enjoys management control of Aero, the Czech state is the majority shareholder.
President Vaclav Klaus has signed an amendment which defines domestic violence as a criminal act. Under the new law, perpetrators of domestic violence could receive up to eight years in prison. The president also signed a law on Friday allowing doctors, dentists and pharmacists from other European Union countries to work in the Czech Republic once the country joins the Union on May 1.
Mr Klaus has also called on the Czech Foreign Ministry to begin fresh talks with the Vatican on a treaty between the Czech Republic and the Holy See. The president said he would reject the current proposed inter-state agreement, as the Chamber of Deputies did last year. A spokesman for Foreign Minister Svoboda, who is a member of the Christian Democrats, said the minister was planning to put the current wording before parliament again.
A proposal by the opposition Civic Democrats to reject a government-sponsored bill to increase regulated rents has been defeated in the Chamber of Deputies. Under the controversial plan, which will now face a third and final reading, regulated rents would be increased by 10 percent three years in a row.
Former Czech president Vaclav Havel has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, it was announced in the Norwegian capital Oslo on Friday. As a dissident Mr Havel spent years in communist prisons before becoming president in 1990, a position he held until last year. He is one of a record 173 nominees for the prize.
A new budget air route between the Czech Republic and Britain is to be launched at the end of April. The British company BmiBaby will fly from Prague to Gatwick near London, and will offer competition to another budget airline, Easyjet. Direct links from several big UK cities and relatively low prices in Prague have made the city popular with British tourists, particularly weekend stag groups.
Two-fifths of Czechs have been the victim of infidelity, according to the results of a poll published in Friday's edition of the newspaper Mlada fronta Dnes. One third of respondents themselves admitted to being unfaithful to their partner. The poll found that infidelity was more common in Czech cities and big towns.
Saturday should be cloudy with rain or snow showers in some parts of the country. Temperatures are expected to range from 2 to 6 degrees Celsius.
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