Prague's Ruzyne airport was closed for some time on Tuesday due to snow
and poor visibility. However, a spokesperson said conditions were not
as bad as last Wednesday, when the airport experienced its worst
weather for a decade and was closed for over 10 hours.
Meanwhile, customs officers at Prague airport on Monday arrested a Slovak man attempting to smuggle protected rare parrots from Jamaica.
Czech President Vaclav Klaus, in Brussels on Tuesday for a NATO summit,
said discussions between the US president, George Bush, and European
leaders showed that differences of opinions over some issues had not
affected the fundamental basis of transatlantic relations. Mr Klaus held
brief talks with Mr Bush, and the US secretary of state, Condoleeza Rice.
Czech Prime Minister Stanislav Gross, who was also in Brussels on Tuesday, said NATO had a future and would play a key role in securing the stability of Europe.
The Prague High Court has overruled the decision of the Pilsen regional court in West Bohemia, which rejected the re-opening of the case of Jiri Kajinek. Mr Kajinek, who is serving a life sentence for double murder committed in 1993, insists he was framed by the police. Mr Kajinek's lawyer claims to have new evidence that proves Mr Kajinek's innocence.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the centre-right Civic Democrat's deputies group in parliament, Vlastimil Tlusty, has dismissed allegations by the Czech media that his wife Ladislava's bank loan was secured thanks to Mr Tlusty's influential post. On Sunday, Czech public television reported that her company had received a 20 million crown loan from a bank owned by the PPF group, which in turn won a lucrative tender from the Czech consolidation agency, of which Mr Tlusty is chairman of the governing board. Mr Tlusty said he had never abused his office and the link between the tender and loan was just speculation.
The number of counterfeit euro bills has increased dramatically in the Czech Republic last year, the Czech National Bank (CNB) announced on Monday. Compared to 2003, the central bank has recorded twice as many counterfeit bills. The number of fake Czech crowns and US dollars, on the other hand, have decreased. In total, the 9,289 counterfeit bills and coins uncovered amounted to 27.1 million crowns (1.2 million US dollars).
The Czech President, Vaclav Klaus, has asked Prime Minister Stanislav Gross, and the Chairman of the junior coalition Christian Democrats, Miroslav Kalousek, to find a way out of the "coalition crisis". On Saturday, Mr Kalousek called onto the prime minister to resign, over allegations about the financing of his Prague flat and his wife's business dealings that, Mr Kalousek says are damaging the credibility of the government. Mr Gross has no intention of resigning and retaliated with a call on all three Christian Democrat ministers to leave the government by Wednesday or be removed from office. Both Mr Gross and Mr Kalousek have defended their standpoints at separate meetings with the president.
The Czech President Vaclav Klaus will attend Tuesday's meeting of European Union leaders in Brussels with US President George W. Bush. The Czech Prime Minister Stanislav Gross was originally scheduled to attend the meeting along with president Klaus but Luxembourg, which currently holds the EU's rotating presidency, rejected the participation of two Czech representatives. Both Mr Klaus and Mr Gross will attend this week's meeting of NATO leaders with Mr Bush.
For his part, Stanislav Gross said on Sunday that he would not resign, and said that the Christian Democrats had violated the coalition agreement by calling on him to do so. Mr Gross said that he did not believe that the Christian Democrats could remain in his government if its leaders continued to question his trustworthiness. Party chairman Miroslav Kalousek, after meeting privately with Mr Gross the previous day, had told journalists that the prime minister should step down for having failed to provide clear answers over the questionable financing of his luxury Prague flat, and his wife's business dealings.
The Czech state last year helped to repair over 17,000 flats in the modern apartment blocs known colloquially as "panelaky", about 3,700 flats more than in 2003. The general director of the Union of developers and builders said that to keep the apartment blocs in ideal condition, about 100,000 flats per year would need to be repaired. But cooperatives often fail to agree on scheduling repairs, and private owners are reluctant to pay for maintenance on building occupied primarily by people paying regulated rent.
President Vaclav Klaus was due to meet on Sunday evening with the embattled Prime Minister, Stanislav Gross, who is under pressure to resign his post from both opposition leaders and a junior party in the ruling government coalition. Mr Klaus, on an official visit to Saudi Arabia, told journalists on Sunday before his return to Prague that the two would discuss the latest developments in what he called the coalition crisis.
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