Civic Democrat chairman Mirek Topolanek has said he is going to meet the outgoing prime minister and Social Democrat leader Jiri Paroubek by Sunday. Speaking after a meeting on Friday with the leaders of a possible government coalition Mr Toplanek said that negotiators from both his Civic Democrats and the Social Democrats, which are the second biggest party in the lower house now, would meet next week. The emerging government coalition wants to seek the Social Democrats' support since it does not have a majority in the lower house. However, the Social Democrats say that they will not support a centre-right government.
The BBC World Service will consider taking legal steps against the decision by the Czech broadcasting council which ruled this week that the BBC had broken license regulations by sharing its local frequency with a Czech Radio news station. The former editor-in-chief of the BBC's Czech Section and now a representative of the licence holder, Radiocom, Vit Kolar, said on Friday that at the moment the London headquarters is considering three options, one of them being legal action. The BBC Czech Service was discontinued earlier this year and the BBC now faces the threat of losing the FM license for its English-language broadcasts in the Czech Republic.
Three Czech centre-right parties have agreed how they will divide seats in a cabinet they are forming after an election earlier this month, though they have offered no clues on how they will secure a majority in parliament. The right-of-centre Civic Democrats won the election but together with their partners, the centrist Christian Democrats and the Greens, they control only 100 seats in the 200-seat lower house. Civic Democrat chief Mirek Topolanek said on Friday after negotiations between the three parties that the Civic Democrats would take nine seats in the new cabinet, while the smaller parties would have three each. The party leaders reiterated that they expected to sign a coalition agreement ahead of the first session of the newly elected parliament due on June 27.
The Prague City Court has ruled that St Vitus Cathedral at Prague Castle belongs to the Roman Catholic Church and not the state, upholding an earlier verdict by a Prague district court. The Church and the state have been fighting over ownership rights for over thirteen years. A 1954 government resolution gave Prague Castle the authority to manage the cathedral and surrounding property but the court decided that the transfer of management did not automatically imply a transfer of ownership. The state plans to appeal at the Supreme Court.
Five people were killed in a traffic accident on Friday afternoon when two passenger cars collided head-on near the town of Breclav, South Moravia. Fire fighters and a helicopter were called to the scene of the accident. Only one passenger, a woman from Slovakia, survived the crash and was rushed to hospital.
Outgoing Czech prime minister and Social Democratic Party chairman Jiri
Paroubek is attending a summit of European Socialists in Brussels. Mr.
Paroubek told reporters that he will complain to his European socialist
party colleagues about what he feels was a lack of support from them in
the last days of the Czech election campaign. Mr. Paroubek says that an
"anticommunist hysteria" gripped the Czech Republic just prior
to the elections, and that European socialists could have done more to
help the Social Democrats in the tight election race.
Among those also at the European Socialist Party (ESP) meeting are Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates, the new chairman of the German Social Democrats, Kurt Beck, and European Parliament President Josep Borrell. The gathering is taking place on the eve of a European Union summit, and European Socialists are discussing EU enlargement, as well as the planned admission of Romania and Bulgaria.
President Vaclav Klaus will be representing the Czech Republic in Brussels at the EU summit. Before the elections, it was decided that if the Social Democrats lost, President Klaus would attend the summit.
Residents of the Czech capital are becoming avid recyclers. According to the latest statistics, nearly 37 000 tons of glass, plastic, and paper was recycled in Prague last year—that is about 3000 tons more than in the previous year. In 1998 City Hall began introducing communal recycling bins, making it easier for residents to participate in the city-wide effort. Today the bins are located in about 3000 places throughout Prague, and schools and businesses run their own paper recycling programs.
The Czech broadcasting council has ruled that the BBC World Service has broken license regulations by sharing its local frequency with a Czech Radio station. The Council says the BBC acquired the license for the FM frequency on the basis that its broadcasts would contain programmes from its own Czech service. The BBC Czech Service, however, was discontinued earlier this year. The BBC - on the airwaves in this country for over 15 years - will now broadcast in English only and faces the threat of losing its license.
Czech customs officers have arrested a total of seven foreigners
operating in the drug trade near the Czech - German border. Operation
Nightfall involved customs officers from the west Bohemian border
crossings of Rozvadov, Cheb, Sokolov, Teplice, as well as Prague, and
the undercover investigation lasted for over a year. The foreigners—six
Vietnamese nationals and one Albanian—have been charged with illegal
drug manufacturing as well as possession with intent to sell. Nearly
two kilograms of the methamphetamine pervitine was uncovered during the
police raids, and the accused are suspected of selling about 10 000
grams of pervitine for use on the German drug market. If convicted,
they face up to 15 years in jail.
Meanwhile, police in the west Bohemian city of Plzen have arrested a 49 year-old German male for drug trafficking in the downtown core. The man is accused of figuring as a core heroin dealer in Plzen since 2001.
The Czech Republic has established diplomatic ties with the newest state in southeastern Europe. Montenegro declared its independence from Serbia after a national referendum in late May, and became the 45th state in Europe. The Czech Republic acknowledged the independence of Montenegro earlier this week, and diplomatic ties were made formal on Thursday.
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