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The government is preparing a plan in response to the prospect of a “social catastrophe” in the industrial region of Ostrava in the eastern Czech Republic, reports MF Dnes. According to the newspaper —

… the region, which is already burdened with record long-term unemployment [of 9.68 per cent as opposed to the national average of 7.5 per cent], is threatened with a fresh wave of layoffs, in which as many as 71,000 people could lose their jobs.

Several measures are under consideration: a reduction in electricity prices for major metallurgy, steel and mineral companies, which have been made uncompetitive by American shale gas, the nationalisation of a mine that is close to bankruptcy, and even direct financial aid from the state.