Czech GDP accelerated in 2003 in year-on-year terms. Czech consumer prices subsided in February. The unemployment rate in the Czech Republic has reached an all-time high. The Czech construction sector began the year with a 15 percent year-on-year jump. Japanese automotive company Asmo is to start production at its new plant in the town of Zruc nad Sazavou.
When the Czech Republic joins the European Union, its citizens will not only benefit economically but they will also be able to enjoy the advantages of travelling, studying and working in the union without restriction. Or at least that was the argument used by the Czech government to convince its citizens to vote in favour of EU membership, and it worked. With an unemployment rate of ten percent, the country's younger generation hopes to have the opportunity to work freely elsewhere, while learning a new language and gaining international experience
Last week, an amendment to the Czech Labour Code, which includes a precise reference to "sexual harassment" for the first time, finally took legal effect. The amendment brings the Labour Code into line with that of other EU nations, and it is hoped that it will give more rights to working women. Nevertheless the law is not without its critics.
Czech forwarding firms and customs agents ended their one day strike on Friday night, slamming the government's unwillingness to negotiate their demands and saying that a future blockade of the border could come without warning. The strike affected eight of the country's busiest border crossings with Germany and Slovakia, resulting in confusion and long pile ups. However due to early warnings of the strike many truck drivers opted to pass through other check points. The association of forwarding firms and customs agents wants the government to compensate forwarding companies that will have to sack up to 1,500 employees after Czech accession to the EU. The government has refused to do so, saying that it is only prepared to finance re-qualification courses for laid off employees.
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.
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Czechs observe day of mourning for pop idol Karel Gott
Thousands pay tribute to deceased national pop icon Karel Gott
In memoriam: Karel Gott, the ‘Bohemian nightingale’