President Vaclav Klaus has accepted the resignation of Justice Minister Karel Cermak from his post. Mr Cermak, nominated by the senior ruling Social Democrats, confirmed his resignation in protest of the government's recent decision to strip judges of additional 13th and 14th salaries. Mr Cermak has said he considered the move as an attack on the judiciary. Now Mr Cermak is expected to be replaced by another Social Democrat, Zdenek Koudelka.
The heavily favoured Czech national football side has won its opening
match at the Euro 2004 football tournament in Portugal. Despite
concentrated pressure by Czech players inlcuding Karel Poborsky, Milan
Baros, and Pavel Nedved in the first half, Latvia scored just before
half-time on a beautiful cross by Blagonadezdins to Verpakovskis. He
tapped the ball easily into the open net.
Latvia then led 1-0 well into the 2nd before Czech striker Milan Baros scored in the 73rd minute to put his side back in the game. Marek Heinz then added a 2nd in the 85th to put the Czechs ahead for good.
The public prosecutor's office has confirmed that a 29-year-old chauffeur to Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda will stand trial for negligence leading to bodily harm. This for a road accident in which the foreign minister suffered a serious neck injury in April. It has confirmed the driver was driving dangerously fast, leading to the accident. If found guilty he could face a fine or even up to five years in prison.
The Prague high court ruled has ruled that the name of popular Czech actress Jirina Bohdalova should be struck from the Interior Ministry's list compiling the names of agents who cooperated with communist-era secret police, the StB. The ruling applies, however, only to the internet version of the list, because, said the court, erasing Mrs Bohdalova's name from existing files was not technically possible.
The Chamber of Deputies has failed to discuss the possibility of an
eventual confidence vote reconfirming the mandate of the Czech Republic's
coalition government, which suffered a major defeat in last weekend's
European Parliament elections. The government saw just four elected to a
possible twenty-four MP posts. The Social-Democrat-led government is now
at a crossroads over how to react to its failure at the most recent polls,
with some calling for a cabinet shake up. Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla
has himself confirmed he will call for his party's executive committee to
reconfirm his and his deputies' mandates on July 11th.
That is not to say the government might not face a vote of "no confidence" in the near future, called by the opposition Civic Democrats. However, at the moment the opposition in the lower house lacks enough votes to bring down the government. The coalition, led by the senior Social Democrats, enjoys a slim majority of 101 in the 200 member chamber.
The largest Czech pharmaceutical company, Zentiva, will issue shares on the Prague Stock Exchange on the 28th of June, sources close to the company told the Czech news agency. It would be the first initial public offering on the Czech bourse since trading began in 1993. All shares traded now were listed at the time of the so-called coupon privatisation process in the 1990s. Zentiva, created through a merger of Czech drug maker Leciva and Slovakofarma, is the 4th largest drug maker in Eastern Europe.
The Czech football team were heavily favoured to beat Latvia on Tuesday night in their opening match at Euro 2004, the European football championship now underway in host country Portugal. The Czech national squad, runner-up eight years ago, is hoping to erase bad memories of Euro 2000 where it was eliminated after defeats in its first two games. If the Czechs defeat Lativa, they will next face the Netherlands and Germany.
Czech Defence Minister Miroslav Kostelka and his Swedish counterpart have signed a contract finalising the Czech decision to lease Gripen fighters from Sweden to replace its aging fleet of MiG-21s. The cost of the ten-year lease will be 19.6 billion crowns. As part of the deal, Sweden has committed itself to investing 130 percent of the contract's cost in the Czech Republic, 20 percent of which will be direct investments into the Czech economy. A multi-purpose simulator, a mission planning system, complete technical equipment for the jets and training for both pilots and ground personnel is all included in the deal.
A former commander of a Nazi German army unit charged with the murder of 164 people at the end of World War II worked as a double agent for the United States, writes Focus magazine. Quoting CIA documents, the weekly reports in its latest edition that Ladislav Niznansky worked as a double agent for the CIA just after he was recruited by the Czechoslovak Secret Service in 1947 to keep tabs on the communist opposition in Austria. According to Focus magazine, he supplied the CIA with codenames, the addresses of safe houses and helped turn in agents. He was sentenced to death in absentia in 1962 by a Czech court. Niznansky, who obtained German citizenship in 1996 and is now 86 years old, was arrested in January after a probe by Czech and Slovak officials and is now in custody in Munich, southern Germany.
Czech Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla has said he will call for a vote of confidence among party members in his leadership after the "unfortunate" results of the country's first-ever European parliamentary elections, held this weekend. If held, it would be the fourth such vote of confidence that has been taken on the present government. The governing coalition led by Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla was soundly defeated in the EU elections; his party, the centre-left Social Democrats, placed fifth overall, capturing only 8.8 percent of the vote. Altogether the parties that make up the governing coalition - which has a razor thin majority of one in the lower house of the Czech parliament - won just 20 percent of the vote in the European parliamentary elections. The vice chairman of Mr. Spidla's party, Stanislav Gross, who is also the Czech Interior Minister, has said the government could not "ignore" the results and should "reshuffle" the Cabinet in response. Members of the main opposition party, the centre-right Civic Democrats, which placed first in the EU elections with 30 percent of the vote, have said a vote of confidence should be held in parliament next Tuesday, when the Czech legislature reconvenes.
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