The number of foreigners living legally in the Czech Republic has more than doubled in the last decade, according to figures just released by the Czech Statistics Office. While in 1994 there were around 100,000 officially registered foreigners, there are now almost 250,000, accounting for 2.3 percent of people living in the Czech Republic.
President Vaclav Klaus officially appointed the centre-left government of
Prime Minister Stanislav Gross on Wednesday, 39 days after the demise of
the previous government led by Vladimir Spidla. Mr Gross has put together
a coalition of the same three parties which were in government under his
predecessor: the Social Democrats, the Christian Democrats and the Freedom
The coalition, with a majority of just one in the 200-seat Chamber of Deputies, faces a vote of confidence on August 24.
Mr Gross, Europe's youngest prime minister at 34, said he believed his government would survive until the next general elections in 2006, adding that two years was plenty of time to undertake serious, responsible and courageous tasks.
The prime minister had promised fresh blood, though while eight ministers are under 40 years old, two thirds of his 18-member cabinet served under Mr Spidla in the last government.
Czech captain Pavel Nedved has said he is considering retiring from international football. Nedved, 32 at the end of the month, said it appeared his international career was a "closed chapter". The midfielder, who plays for the Italian club Juventus, is widely regarded as the best Czech player of his generation, and this year became only the second Czech to be named European Player of the Year. And staying with football, in the latest FIFA rankings released on Wednesday, the Czech Republic is ranked fifth in the world.
Contrary to press reports, nobody has been either arrested or detained in connection with the organisation of the Czechtek techno music festival near a village in west Bohemia, a Pilsen police spokesperson said on Wednesday. On Monday night the police began breaking up the unauthorised festival, which began on Friday and attracted 15,000 people at its peak.
A 60-year-old man from Beroun in central Bohemia has become the first person to die after being bitten by an infected tick in the Czech Republic this year. Though the man died in the middle of May, the cause of death has just been confirmed. Almost 120 people were infected by ticks between the start of the year and August 1, the daily Pravo reported on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, former prime minister Spidla, who will become the Czech Republic's representative on the European Commission in November, had his first meeting with the next president of the commission, Jose Barroso, in Brussels on Wednesday. Mr Spidla discussed social issues with Mr Barroso, but said it would be up to the future chairman to decide on his role in the next commission.
Following Sunday's explosion outside a casino in the centre of Prague,
which injured 18 people, Czech officials have said they plan to tighten
regulations on granting casino licenses. The finance ministry is
drafting an amendment to the law under which the police would screen
all licence applicants, regardless of whether they had produced a clean
criminal record and the local authorities would have the right to
reject a casino in their district even if the applicant fulfilled all
the stated criteria.
Under the present law security checks are terminated the moment an applicant produces a clean criminal record and Prague has more casinos than several European countries put together. Sunday's explosion, which injured 18 people, on a busy Prague street, was linked to the criminal underworld, the result of an ongoing feud between two Israeli mafia families. The incident has raised questions about what kind of people are operating the vast number of casinos in the Czech Republic and whether the authorities have the situation under control.
A sixty one year old Czech woman has died after getting bitten by a poisonous snake while out on a walk in the eastern part of the Czech Republic. The woman was enjoying an afternoon out with her family when she complained of a stinging bite on her ankle. After walking a few metres she fainted and died shortly after being rushed to hospital. Doctors suspect that she was bitten by a highly poisonous snake which is at home in Australia, South Africa and South America. The police have warned locals to exercise extreme caution because the reptile, which is believed to have escaped from a private owner, could attack others walking out in the vicinity of Cesky Tesin. The police have found a reptile owner who could provide a serum to counteract the poison, but they warn that the victim would need immediate help.
President Vaclav Klaus has been meeting with designated cabinet ministers
before he officially appoints the new coalition government of Stanislav
Gross on Wednesday. On Tuesday afternoon Mr. Klaus met with Cyril Svoboda
of the Christian Democratic Party who is to retain the post of foreign
minister in the old-new cabinet, with Karel Kuhnl of the Freedom Union
slated to become the next defence minister and with Frantisek Bublan, the
designated head of the interior ministry.
All parties later described the talks as friendly and informative. The
swearing in ceremony is expected to take place at 11am on Wednesday. After
its appointment the government has one month in which to ask Parliament
for a vote of confidence. A likely date for the vote, already being
discussed, is August 24th.
The new Cabinet, headed by Stanislav Gross, will have 18 ministers, including six newcomers. Twelve ministers of the outgoing government will remain in office. The three parties of the centre-left coalition government on Monday signed a coalition agreement outlining their priorities for the coming years. Prime Minister Stanislav Gross has expressed confidence in the new administration, predicting that in spite of its slim one-vote majority in Parliament the new Cabinet would remain in office until the next general elections in 2006.
The Czech police have broken up an illegal techno music festival near the village of Bonenov, some 130 kilometres west of Prague. The move came after the owner of the grounds pressed charges against unknown perpetrators - the festival's organizers -who had made use of private farmland without the owner's consent. The festival drew some 15, 000 visitors but many of them left when the police closed off the area and started dismantling sound equipment early on Monday. According to the CTK news agency there were clashes between some festival visitors and police, with bottles and branches being thrown, resulting in minor injuries. Police then allegedly used tear gas and water canons to prevent further clashes. The remaining visitors left in the course of Tuesday. Two young men had to be hospitalized after collapsing from an overdose of drink and drugs.
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