The Czech Republic says it will probably not veto a European Union-wide sales tax, raising chances that a row between some new member states and the older members could be resolved. The Czech Republic, Poland and Cyprus had come out against an agreement that would allow value added tax on some services in several member states to be kept below EU norms. They said the plan, put forward by Austria, discriminated against newcomers, which have cut-off dates to abolish tax breaks and meet higher rates in line with EU requirements.
The Social Democrat prime minister, Jiri Paroubek, has again ruled out post-election co-operation with the Communist Party. Speaking at a party policy conference on Saturday, Mr Paroubek said a minority Social Democrat government was the most likely outcome of general elections in June. He said a third of the cabinet in such a scenario would be made up of non-party "experts".
The Civic Democrats have launched an advertising campaign linking the Communist Party with the Social Democrats, under the combined acronym KSCSSD. However an advertising company has refused to put the poster up on billboards outside the Social Democrats conference in Prague. The firm Euro AWK said such a campaign harmed the advertising profession.
The only Czech condom maker has halted manufacturing. Vulkan Intim Brands, based in north Bohemia, has decided to import and package German-made condoms under the company's traditional Primeros brand name. A spokesperson told Mlada fronta Dnes that German-made condoms were cheaper and of a higher quality.
President Vaclav Klaus has indicated that he may not sign into law a bill allowing for registered partnerships for homosexuals. The president has expressed opposition to the law in the past, and told journalists they could expect his decision to follow "quite clear indices". The bill was passed by the Senate on Thursday after previously being approved by the lower house.
The anti-monopoly office says the European Commission should investigate whether free internet paid for out of public coffers is legal. The office said this could constitute unauthorised support to the detriment of commercial operators. The district of Prague 5 has introduced free wifi internet for all residents, a move which has been criticised by existing suppliers.
The number of 'gymnasiums' - secondary schools which prepare students for
university - could double under a new plan by the Czech Ministry of
Education. The proposal comes in response to increasing numbers of
applications in recent years.
Deputy Prime Minister for the Economy Jiri Havel said the number of Czechs taking university degrees would increase from the present 50 percent to 80 percent in the future. Mr Havel and Education Minister Petra Buzkova are to put the new plan to the leadership of their party the Social Democrats next week.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek says one or two international universities should be created in the Czech Republic in the years ahead. He said on Friday that existing Czech universities - which already operate at international standards - could be upgraded.
The Czech Republic will play Slovakia, Germany, Ireland, Wales, Cyprus and San Marino in qualifications for the 2008 European football championships. The top two teams from the group will qualify for the championships, which are being jointly hosted by Austria and Switzerland. The Czechs are currently focusing on the World Cup, which begins in Germany in June.