The Labour Ministry has said that unemployment in the Czech Republic grew to 9.5 percent in June, up from May's 9.4 percent, as the number of jobless topped 500,000 again. Compared with June 2002, the number of unemployed people was nearly 47,000 higher. Unemployment in June of last year stood at 8.7 percent. Employment offices registered almost 51,000 school graduates in June and their share in the overall unemployment was 10.2 percent. The lowest unemployment was in Prague-west at 2.5 percent and the highest, traditionally, in the districts of Most, North Bohemia with 22 percent and 20 percent in Karvina, North Moravia.
The Austrian Sudeten German umbrella organisation SLOE tried on Tuesday to stir up a revolt by urging parliamentarians to vote "no" to EU enlargement on Wednesday. One MP for the right-wing Freedom Party already announced she would vote "no". The organisation objects to the continuing validity of the post-war Benes decrees in the Czech Republic which is one of the candidate countries. The so-called Benes decrees sanctioned the expulsion of ethnic Germans from the country after the Second World War. Observers say, however, the EU enlargement vote is certain to go through by a huge majority as all other parties are solidly in favour.
The United Nations Information Centre in Prague has said the quality of life in the Czech Republic is high, according to this year's UN Human Development Report, in which the Czech Republic's position has slightly improved against the situation last year. In the report, issued by the UN Development Programme in Geneva, the Czech Republic came 32nd among 175 countries monitored, up one position compared to 2002. Introduced more than ten years ago, the annual reports have become one of the most respected indicator of the quality of human life in individual countries. Norway, Iceland and Sweden lead the list this year. Out of ten EU candidate countries, only Slovenia is ahead of the Czech Republic, occupying the 29th position.
The Information Technology Ministry has released the first stamp bearing the portrait of President Vaclav Klaus, who was elected in February this year. The stamp will be available in post offices as of July 30 and will cost six crowns 40 hellers. The authors of the green, orange and pink-purple stamp are painter Oldrich Kulhanek and graphic designer and engraver Milos Ondracek.
Detectives from the anti-organised crime unit say they have arrested two men suspected of forging and distributing one-hundred and two-hundred crown banknotes. Technical equipment the two men had used to produce the false banknotes was found in a restaurant near the eastern town of Chrudim. The counterfeit notes already put in circulation were worth almost 250,000 crowns. The two men, aged 30 and 22, face between five and twelve years in prison.
Wednesday is expected to be partly cloudy to overcast, with occasional showers gradually proceeding to the east of the country. Daytime temperatures should range from 19 to 23 degrees Celsius.
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