Austria's Ministry for the Environment has expressed protest at plans by the Czech Ministry for Industry and Trade to build a third and fourth reactor at Temelin, one of the Czech Republic's two nuclear power plants. On Tuesday Austrian officials said they had issued a protest at the Czech Foreign Affairs Ministry, through the Austrian ambassador to Prague. The protest is said to have stressed that presently the Czech Republic already produced a ten-percent surplus of electricity for the home market. Those numbers, Austria says, could rise to as high as 50 percent with the addition of two new reactors, a move seen as controversial by Vienna because of the full liberalisation of the electricity market in 2007.
The president's spokesman Petr Hajek has revealed that Czech president Vaclav Klaus has signed four bills, out of a total of eleven, related to the launching of the government's finance reforms. Three of the four bills signed Tuesday will provide amendments to existing laws on health insurance, social security, and a tax on the transfer of real estate, while the fourth will freeze wages for elected officials over a three-year period. The government is hoping, for example, that its amendment to social security will help cut down on social security fraud while stiffening conditions for financial support, motivating the unemployed to search more actively for work. Meanwhile, the real estate tax amendment shall make the transfer of real estate cheaper as of July 2004, cutting the current tax from 5 to just 3 percent.
New statistics have shown that Czech retail shopping grew at is fastest annual rate in three-and-a-half years in September. The results were announced by the Czech Statistics Bureau on Tuesday, reinforcing analysts' views that buoyant consumption required no further stimulus through monetary policy. Retail sales quickened to 9.4 percent year-on-year after a 5.9 percent rise in August. Consumer spending has propelled the economy in recent quarters as businesses struggled with a global slowdown and recession in neighbouring Germany, the Czech Republic's biggest export market. Almost zero inflation and about seven percent nominal wage growth spurred the Czechs' willingness to spend, leading to the rise in September.
US electronics maker ON Semiconductor has revealed it will be moving its production of semiconductors from Roznov nad Rahostem, in northeast Moravia, to Malaysia, a move costing some 450 Czech employees their jobs. Currently the Czech branch employs 1,800 employees in all. On Tuesday a company spokesman said the move would be completed in less than a year, however, the Czech branch will retain its design centre and production plant for the production of integrated circuit chips, leading to some 80 new jobs. ON Semiconductor, with annual sales around $1 billion, ranks among the world's largest semiconductor producers. The company gained a foothold in the Czech Republic in 1999, after taking over local electronic parts makers Tesla Sezam and Terosil.
Wednesday is expected to be cloudy with a maximum daytime temperature of 12 degrees Celsius.
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