Stony faces in place of polite smiles on the front page of Lidove Noviny: the visit of the Dutch Prime Minister Peter Balkenend to Prague passed under a cloud of displeasure after the Dutch head of government announced that his country would allow Czechs only limited access to the Dutch labour market after the Czech Republic joins the EU in May. The Czech Prime Minister has threatened reciprocal action, says Pravo, but given the number of EU countries which are adopting a wary stand and restricting access to their labour markets such a policy would
The Czech state provides each disabled child in institutional care with subsidies of over 70,000 crowns every year. But if parents decide to take care of their child at home, they get nothing - even though one of the parents usually has to give up his or her job to be able to provide full time assistance to the child. The National Council for Handicapped People says this practice is discriminatory and even unconstitutional. That's why it has decided to file a complaint with the Constitutional Court - in a manner it hoped would bring the public's
The Czech public transport system often comes in for praise: tickets are affordable and there are few places in the country that are inaccessible without a car. The national rail operator, Ceske Drahy, or Czech Railways, carries half a million passengers a day, a huge figure in a country of only ten million. But a dispute between Czech Railways management and its drivers could leave hundreds of thousands of people stranded for two days.
Inflation accelerates beyond expectations to its fastest rate in nearly two years. The unemployment rate rises to a record 10.8 percent but many are reluctant to take available jobs. Labour and Social Affairs Minister is planning to tighten the conditions for foreigners who want to obtain a business licence. Czech construction firms are merging so as to have easier access to large contracts financed from European Union funds.
President Klaus' growing popularity, unemployment reaching an all time high and continuing controversy over the government's fiscal reform - those are the main stories on today' s front pages. The papers also report on clean up operations on Czech roads in the wake of a damaging windstorm and the heightened number of accidents caused by bad weather.
Making headlines in the papers today - claims that British Prime Minister Tony Blair is worried about an influx of Czech Romanies following EU enlargement, a dispute in the cabinet over registered partnerships for gay couples, and denials from Labour and Social Affairs Minister Zdenek Skromach that the government has reached an agreement over regulated rent.
Inspired by a Slovak station, a Czech commercial radio station together with a daily newspaper challenged members of the Czech Parliament to try to live on the country's minimum wage for a whole month. Most of them refused, claiming it was only an empty populist gesture, but four parliamentarians did accept the challenge. Of the four, only MP Petr Bratsky managed to survive on the minimum wage until the end of January.
Changes to the country's VAT system make headline in all the dailies today - Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla features on three front pages after chairing Sunday's cabinet talks. Also making news today: the crushing to death of 244 pilgrims on their way to Mecca, and threats by al Qaeda to unleash biological weapons on passenger jets.
Czech born porn star Dolly Buster aims to become a deputy of the European Parliament, Czech mps have failed miserably in an attempt to live on the minimum monthly wage in the Czech Republic, and how long would a Czech with an average wage have to work in order to amass as much money as Bill Gates? Just a few million years...Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarova.
Since January 2003, authorities have been running a programme to attract skilled foreign workers to the Czech Republic as the country's population ages and Czechs go abroad to work. The scheme is still in the trial stages, open to applicants from just three countries - Bulgaria, Croatia, and Kazakhstan. Under the programme, potential immigrants are given fast-track access to residence permits, allowing them to settle permanently in this country after just two and a half years - instead of the usual ten.
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