The Foreign Ministry has said that it will send humanitarian aid worth up to five million crowns to Indonesia, hit by a massive earthquake on Saturday. Ministry spokesman Vit Kolar said that the decision was taken by Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda, adding that the exact sum and form of aid has yet to be chosen. The earthquake that hit areas on the island of Java on Saturday ranked 6.2 degrees on the Richter scale. More than 4,000 people were killed in the disaster, some 20,000 thousand injured, and hundreds of thousands displaced.
The latest surveys just released have suggested different outcomes in
the upcoming election. A poll released by the Factum Invenio agency has
suggested that the ruling Social Democrats have surpassed the
opposition Civic Democratic Party in opinion polls - by less than one
percent (28.5 to 27.8). Regarding the results, the agency said that the
election could be won by either party: the race effectively being too
close to predict.
By contrast, a poll conducted by the SC&C agency (commissioned by the Czech daily Mlada Fronta Dnes) has suggested a wider margin of difference in favour of the opposition Civic Democrats. According to that survey, the opposition party will get more than 30 percent of the vote, while the Social Democrats' will come in second at 24.2.
Both surveys show just three other parties completing the future make up of the Czech Parliament following the election: the Communists, the Christian Democrats, and the Greens.
The Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek and the head of the right-of-centre
Civic Democrats Mirek Topolanek have disagreed over whether or not a
Parliamentary committee's session on Monday should be open to the
media. The Committee for Defence and Security will meet to discuss new
allegations in the so-called "bio fuel case" - following a
the head of the police unit for investigating organised crime. Its
head, Jan Kubice, said this week that a campaign was being run to
discredit the unit's officers investigating corruption in the recent
bio fuel tender. It has been suggested that there might be links between
the case and the January murder of businessman Frantisek Mrazek.
The prime minister has called for all proceedings on Monday to be open to be televised, but the Civic Democrats' Mirek Topolanek has disagreed. He says that under such circumstances the police unit head would be unable to disclose classified information.
The chairman of the Social Democratic Party, Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek, and the leader of the country's largest opposition party, the Civic Democrat's Mirek Topolanek, have faced off in a special televised debate. The programme was broadcast live by public broadcaster Czech TV on Sunday. It focused on key issues in this year's election run-up, including the state of health care and health care reforms, corruption, the state of the economy, and foreign policy issues - namely the future of the European Union. The debate comes less than a week before Czechs go to the polls - on June 2nd and 3rd - to decide on the country's next government.
Almost two thirds of the populace are not interested in the pre-election campaigns leading up to Parliamentary elections next weekend, a survey conducted by the CVVM agency has suggested. According to the poll, only around 40 percent of the public has been drawn into campaign issues, among them university students and older citizens. The least interested are those with basic educations and those between 15 and 29 years of age. 37 percent say they haven't enough information about candidates to Parliament, although they have a better understanding of party programmes. Around 1,000 people were interviewed in the survey conducted at the beginning of May. Two thirds predicted a victory by the opposition Civic Democrats, one third the Social Democrats, while only two percent said elections would be won by the Communists.
Czech President Vaclav Klaus has responded to a number of his critics - including the prime minister - in a row over comments the president made recently on a visit to Estonia: Mr Klaus said that he could not envisage a ratification of the EU constitution by the Czech Republic. The president's words drew a sharp response from a number of public figures, with Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek indicating that it was the government and not the president that was responsible for foreign policy. On Friday, the president's office responded by saying that the prime minister was stoking the clash to try and draw the head of state into a "pre-election campaign". Czechs go to the polls on June 2nd and 3rd next week.
Former political prisoners jailed by Czechoslovakia's Communist regime
in the 1950s, met at the former site of a notorious labour camp at
Jachymov, west Bohemia, on Saturday to commemorate the memory of those
who suffered and those who died. The 1950s saw the establishment of
some 15 forced labour camps in Czechoslovakia that jailed some 100,000
prisoners. The annual event organised by the Confederation of Political
Prisoners saw a number of speakers address the current political
situation in the Czech Republic - with a number of speakers warning of
growing influence of the Communist Party.
Every year, the memorial event is attended by fewer survivors: this year's ceremony was attended by some 400 people.
Police have been monitoring the activities of around 100 right-wing extremists gathered for a planned march in Hodonin. Mostly members of a single organisation, those present will demonstrate against so-called "positive discrimination". Police have refused to reveal how many officers will monitor the event. But, a spokesman has said there will be enough present for the situation to not get out of hand. A local deputy major had expressed worries that right-wing extremists and opposing anarchists might clash. Originally, members of the right-wing group had planned to demonstrate elsewhere but were not given permission. Their current demonstration has officially been allowed.
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