Daily news summary News of Radio Prague

24-09-2003

Bill on reduced sickness benefits faces third reading

The government's bill on reduced sickness benefits in the first three days of illness faces a third reading in Parliament, after the Communist Party on Wednesday failed to push through a proposal for it to be rejected outright. The bill, which envisages cutting sickness benefits in the first three days by half, is part of the public spending reform and the government expects to save an estimated four billion crowns on it next year. The sickness benefits and the proposed changes to the pension bill have created considerable friction between the government and trade unions, who are still lobbying for the bills to be moderated in favour of employees.

The Lower House also passed into its third reading a bill which would place a three year freeze on parliamentarians' wages. The bill, passed without major objections, stipulates that parliamentarians' wages should in future be three times higher than the average wage in the non-business sector.

Senator may face corruption charges

The Senate's immunity committee has recommended that senator Alexander Novak, of the opposition Civic Democratic Party, be stripped of his immunity and made to face charges of corruption. A final decision is to be made by the Senate at the end of October. Senator Novak, who is accused of having unlawfully enriched himself through a dubious sales transaction of property, claims that this is an attempt to discredit him politically. If the senator is found guilty he could face up to ten years in jail.

EIB lends Czech Republic 75 million euro for construction of Prague Metro

Representatives of the European Investment Bank and the City of Prague on Wednesday signed a 75 million euro loan for the construction of the extension of Prague's metro line C. Prague is investing massively in its public transport system with the goal to reduce congestion and pollution, and to modernise its system in line with European standards. The project will extend Prague's metro line C from Ladvi to Letnany, in the north-eastern part of the city, adding 4.6 km of tracks and 3 stations. The extended metro line will make the residential quarters in the served areas more attractive and will help the Czech Republic to implement EU environmental standards through a significant reduction of pollution due to usage of environmentally friendly transport.

Weather:

Thursday should be partly cloudy with day temperatures between 14 and 18 degrees Celsius.

24-09-2003