One Czech is officially known to have been among the 66 people who died
when a hotel roof collapsed in the Polish city of Katowice on Saturday
night. Meanwhile, a second Czech is believed to have been among the dead
and yet another is unaccounted for.
The Czech president, Vaclav Klaus, sent his condolences to his Polish counterpart, Lech Kaczynski. Mr Kaczynski had been due to visit Prague on Monday but cancelled the trip after announcing a day of mourning in Poland.
A group of Czech rescue workers have been helping look through the rubble of Saturday's disaster in Katowice, which is near the Czech-Polish border.
The defence minister, Karel Kuhnl, has described a case of corruption uncovered at his ministry as a personal failing. Mr Kuhnl's spokesperson told Czech Radio the minister would not neglect to take responsibility in the case, in which the director of the Defence Ministry's infrastructure division, Miroslav Bena, was arrested after being caught last week allegedly accepting a bribe of one million Czech crowns (over 40,000 US dollars). It is the biggest bribery scandal involving the ministry in some years.
The government is willing to provide assistance to Dutch company LG Philips, which shut down a factory employing 1,300 people in Moravia on Friday. The minister of finance, Bohuslav Sobotka, said the government would use the instruments at its disposal to help the TV screen manufacturer, but did not specify how. He said it was a pity, however, that LG Philips had not informed the Czech state it was in difficulties until it had shut its doors.
The three-party governing coalition has ceased to exist, says the leader of the second largest coalition party, the Christian Democrats. Miroslav Kalousek told Czech Television that the largest party, the Social Democrats, were counting on co-operating with the Communists after elections in June. But Social Democrat chief Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek,said his party had never considered, were not considering and would not consider any such a scenario.
The Czech Republic says it will probably not veto a European Union-wide sales tax, raising chances that a row between some new member states and the older members could be resolved. The Czech Republic, Poland and Cyprus had come out against an agreement that would allow value added tax on some services in several member states to be kept below EU norms. They said the plan, put forward by Austria, discriminated against newcomers, which have cut-off dates to abolish tax breaks and meet higher rates in line with EU requirements.
The Social Democrat prime minister, Jiri Paroubek, has again ruled out post-election co-operation with the Communist Party. Speaking at a party policy conference on Saturday, Mr Paroubek said a minority Social Democrat government was the most likely outcome of general elections in June. He said a third of the cabinet in such a scenario would be made up of non-party "experts".
The Civic Democrats have launched an advertising campaign linking the Communist Party with the Social Democrats, under the combined acronym KSCSSD. However an advertising company has refused to put the poster up on billboards outside the Social Democrats conference in Prague. The firm Euro AWK said such a campaign harmed the advertising profession.
President Vaclav Klaus has indicated that he may not sign into law a bill allowing for registered partnerships for homosexuals. The president has expressed opposition to the law in the past, and told journalists they could expect his decision to follow "quite clear indices". The bill was passed by the Senate on Thursday after previously being approved by the lower house.
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