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.
The Czech Republic's unemployment rate rose to a record high of 10.3 percent at the end of December, up from 9.9 percent in November. This is the highest figure since 1993. The Labour and Social Affairs Ministry said over 540,000 people were out of work. As compared to other Central and East European countries, the Czech figure is nearly twice the unemployment rate in Hungary but well below the more than 17 percent jobless rate in Poland. The average number of job applicant increased to 13.5, while a year ago, it was just 12.7. According to economic
The human tragedy in the Iranian city of Bam continues to fill front pages. Bam is turning into a mass grave, says Pravo, reporting that the number of victims is now close to 30 thousand. A miracle in the midst of the rubble, reads the headline in Mlada Fronta Dnes, reporting on the unexpected survival of a six months old baby girl, found cradled in her dead mothers arms.
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