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Average Wage, Visas and Cyclo-Cross

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The cost of living in the Czech Republic is certainly lower than in the United States. Health care is public, housing and most of the food and services are less expensive, higher education is tuition-free … but the average wage is also significantly lower. This is the information released in one Czech economic newspaper.
Czechs second highest earners among EU states while gap with west narrows Czechs earn the second most per hour of all the countries which joined the European Union in 2004, according to the Czech Statistical Office. Only the Slovenians earn more. The average Czech received CZK 109 (USD 5.58) an hour in 2006. That lags far behind western European wages, but the gap is narrowing. In real terms Czech salaries increased by 35 percent in the 2000-2006 period, compared to 2 percent in neighboring Germany.

Czech Republic, which has joined the European Union in 2004, has been seeking the same visa-status as the 15 original members of EU ever since. Now, with Canada lifting visas for Czechs, the visa-free relationship with the US seems to be a bit closer.
Cyclo-cross is a cycling discipline that is very popular in the Czech Republic. Riders use practically road bikes with knobby tires and tougher frames to race 60 minutes on about 2-mile off-road course. A course includes barriers, steep run-ups, stairs, jumps, sharp corners, sand pits, gravel parts and always a lot of mud. Czech is currently ranked 2nd best in the world with 22 years-old Zdenek Stybar surprising the competition and winning the first race and now standing 2nd overall. Americans Jonathan Page and Jonathan Baker are doing well too.

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