German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder pays a one-day visit to the Czech Republic on Friday, for talks expected to be dominated by the European Union and trade relations. Chancellor Schroeder will meet President Vaclav Klaus, Senate Chairman Petr Pithart and Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla, and will also visit a heavy engineering plant owned by the German company Siemens. This week Mr Spidla described relations between the Czech Republic and Germany as "better than ever." The visit comes amidst controversy over calls to build a memorial in Berlin to ethnic Germans expelled from Eastern Europe after the war. Mr Schroeder has voiced his opposition to the proposal, which has been criticised by Czech officials.
Defence Minister Miroslav Kostelka has confirmed that the commander-in-chief of the Czech Air Force, Jan Vachek, is to leave his post. A spokesman for the Defence Ministry said his replacement would be announced by the end of September. Minister Kostelka admitted Mr Vachek's departure was related to planned cuts in the defence budget. Mr Kostelka held talks on Thursday with President Klaus, and said the president agreed with the reform package for the Czech armed forces.
The Czech National Bank said on Thursday its regular weekly board meeting had ended with no monetary policy decisions taken, as expected. The central bank made no further comment. The board next meets to discuss fiscal policy on September 25.
A psychiatrist from the town of Louny has been sentenced to 13 years in prison for murdering his foster daughter. Ivan Simroth told the court the girl had committed suicide, although he admitted disposing of her body instead of going to the police. He will now decide whether to appeal against the sentence.
Britain's budget airline Jet2 has launched new regular flights between Prague and Leeds in the north of England. Jet2 is the third airline to introduce cheap flights between Prague and Britain. EasyJet flies to London Stansted, Bristol, East Midlands and Newcastle, while BMI Baby flies operates a service to Manchester and East Midlands. Other budget airlines fly to Prague from various destinations in Europe.
Friday will be mostly clear, with the chance of isolated showers in north-eastern parts of the country. Temperatures will reach highs of 22 degrees Celsius, falling to lows of 5 degrees at night.
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