Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla is continuing his two-day official visit to Bulgaria. On Friday he held talks with Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov about bilateral trade and cultural relations and European integration. A government spokesman said the Czech Republic saw Bulgaria as a stabilising factor in the Balkans, and supported the country's bid to join NATO and the European Union. Mr Spidla is being accompanied by Trade and Industry Minister Milan Urban and Agriculture Minister Jaroslav Palas, as well as a large delegation of Czech businessmen.
Former president Vaclav Havel has said he is delighted that this year the Nobel Peace Prize was given to the Iranian human rights activist and lawyer Shirin Ebadi, Mr Havel's secretary told the CTK news agency. Ms Ebadi was awarded by the Nobel committee for a fearless defence of human rights in an award designed to spur wider democracy in the Islamic world. This year's Nobel Peace Prize winner was selected out of 165 candidates. Mr Havel was considered one of the top ones. Mr Havel, who turned 67 on October 5, was nominated for the prize eight times in the past decade. As a dissident playwright under the communist regime and a protagonist of the Charter 77 movement striving for democracy and human rights observance in Czechoslovakia, Mr Havel spent many months in communist prisons.
The Czech Finance Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has said that the state loses 40 to 50 billion crowns a year in taxes because of grey economy. He explained that the often cited sum of 200 billion is the estimated turnover in grey economy. Minister Sobotka added that even if grey economy was completely eradicated only 20-25 percent of that amount would be collected as taxes. If the government pushes through the bills it has drafted in order to prevent tax evasion, open-air market vendors as well as restaurants and small shops will have to be equipped with monitored cash registers. Spirits would have to be stamped, like cigarettes. The government-drafted bills, if passed, could bring several billion crowns to the state coffers in the next three years.
Pensioner Milada Novakova, thought to be the oldest inhabitant of the capital city Prague, has died at the age of 108. Miss Novakova celebrated her 108th birthday last month. For the last nine years, Miss Novakova lived in an old people's home in the north of Prague. Milada Novakova started working as a teacher in 1918 and later she worked as a clerk. She never married.
Saturday should be partly cloudy with daytime temperatures ranging from 8 to 11 degrees Celsius. In South Moravia, daytime temperatures are expected to reach highs of 14 degrees Celsius.
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