The two largest Czech trade union groups have announced they will hold a public rally on Saturday, September 13 in Prague in protest against the government's proposed public finance reforms. The Czech and Moravian Confederation of Trade Unions and the Association of Independent Trade Unions agree that the current state of the public finance is unsustainable and needs a thorough reform, but they find the government's draft plans unacceptable.
The reforms include tax hikes, pension, health, and social system reforms, as well as other austerity measures, including massive lay-offs in the state administration. The Unions claim that the reforms will in effect primarily hurt employees, families with young children, and pensioners. Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla admitted that minor changes were possible but he does not want make any substantial changes to the draft.
Czech Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla and the head of the Arab League Amir Moussa have agreed that the USA-supported Iraqi governing council should be replaced by a democratically elected government as soon as possible. Mr. Spidla held talks with Mr. Moussa at the end of his three-day visit to Egypt, where he also met with President Hosni Mubarak and other top ranking state officials as well as local business leaders. Mr. Spidla and Mr. Moussa also discussed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in light of Saturday's resignation of Palestinian premier Mahmoud Abbas. Mr. Spidla said that the Czech Republic was interested in a peaceful solution to the long-running conflict in the Middle East, with the ultimate goal being a safe Israel and an independent Palestinian state.
A well-known Czech war veteran General Alois Siska, died on Tuesday at the age of 89. General Siska served in the 311th Czechoslovak bombing wing in Britain during World War II. Mr. Siska joined the Czechoslovak army abroad in 1940, having fled Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia. Piloting a Wellington bomber, Siska was shot down during an air raid on Germany. After the Communists seized power in the then Czechoslovakia in February 1948, Siska was arrested several times and even banished from Prague. In 1968, he was called to active service in the Defence Ministry's commission for rehabilitation of western pilots and was promoted. General Siska was the last living Czech member of the exclusive Guinea Pig Club, associating RAF pilots who suffered burns and frostbite during the war.
And finally, a quick look at the weather. We are expecting a cloudy and rainy day, with highest daytime temperatures between 11 and 15 degrees Celsius.
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