Meanwhile, the Social Democrats, who won the second most votes during
the general elections, say a party member will only stand for lower
house speaker if he or she is the sole candidate for the post. Party
leader and outgoing prime minister Jiri Paroubek also said on Tuesday
that the Social Democrat candidate should have unconditional support in
Mr Paroubek was referring to last week's offer by the opposition to support a Social Democrat under the condition that he or she pledges to consult all five parliamentary parties before appointing a prime minister, should two attempts at forming a government fail.
If the conflict between Israel and Lebanon persists for much longer the Czech Republic could suffer economic setbacks, deputy trade and industry minister Martin Tlapa said on Tuesday. The attacks could lead to the closing off of the ports in Haifa, making it difficult for Czech goods to reach the Israeli market. The Israeli government could also decide to put off plans to launch certain projects involving Czech companies, Mr Tlapa says. These include the public tender for the supply of government limousines or steam turbines. Rising oil prices will also affect the Czech market.
The coalition of the Civic Democrats, the Christian Democrats, and the Greens will put forward a candidate to run for the post of speaker of the lower house of Parliament on Friday. According to the leader of the right of centre Civic Democrats, Mirek Topolanek, the name of their candidate will be revealed on Wednesday. Ever since the Civic Democrats won the parliamentary elections early last month the three-party coalition has been trying to form a new government. But this is proving to be difficult as the coalition is one vote short of a majority in Parliament and enjoys no support from the left parties.
US military experts have arrived in the Czech Republic to find suitable localities for an anti-missile base. Following negotiations at the Defence Ministry in Prague, they travelled to a military base in Libava, north Moravian - one of the three possible sites. The other two are in Brdy, Central Bohemia, and Boletice, South Bohemia. The US experts will base their decision on the types of infrastructure, hydrology, geology and population density in the areas. According to the head of the military facility in Libava, Vladimir Kubisa, some local officials have been critical of the prospect of housing a US anti-missile base in the region.
Should the lower house fail to elect a speaker in the near future, the Senate, which is the upper house of the Czech Parliament, will step in and call for early elections, its chairman warned on Tuesday. Speaking to journalists, Civic Democrat Premysl Sobotka said his party's Senators proposed to hold a meeting next month at which the dissolution of the lower house deputies will be discussed.
Plans to build a third runway at Prague's Ruyzne airport will have to be put on ice as the Supreme Court ruled against changes to the city plan on Tuesday. Despite objections from some 170 land owners, Prague City Hall approved changes to the city plan that are necessary for the airport's expansion. The seven billion crown project was to be launched next year.
Bohumil Kulinsky, 47, the former director of a famous children's choir, Bambini di Praga, faced his first day at trial for sexual abuse on Monday. Mr. Kulinsky is charged with sexual abuse of two underage girls, both former choir members. He denies the accusations. Mr. Kulinsky has already spent 219 days behind bars in 2005, for what police termed "threatening the moral education of youth and sexual abuse." If found guilty of the current charges, Mr. Kulinsky faces a maximum of 12 years in prison.
Construction workers have begun to tear-down the remainder of a roof on a building that collapsed in the centre of Prague on Sunday morning. No one was hurt in Sunday's accident, but building crews are now at work to secure the site. Experts say that the building's façade is safe, and construction on the building will continue once the rubble is cleared and inspectors have completed their investigation. The cubist building used to house the popular U Mysaka café and is located on Prague's Vodickova Street, just a hundred meters from Wenceslas Square and the frequented Mustek metro station.
Three more Japanese companies will set-up shop in Moravia, the eastern region of the Czech Republic. The announcement was made on Monday by CzechInvest, an agency which coordinates investment in the Czech Republic. A spokesman for CzechInvest said that the Japanese companies figure in the automobile and electronics spheres, but the names of the companies involved and their intended locations in the Czech Republic have not yet been revealed.
In light of the escalating conflict between Israeli forces and Hezbollah,
the Czech Foreign Ministry is warning people against traveling to
southwest Syria. During the weekend the ministry called on Czechs to leave
Lebanon as soon as possible, and that call has now been extended to
The first group of Czechs returned to Prague on Sunday, and another 100 or so Czechs and Slovaks are expected to arrive in Prague late on Monday, directly from Syria. Of the 200 estimated Czechs in Lebanon, some 150 are permanent residents of the country. The ministry recommends that all Czech citizens who want to leave the country, contact the Czech Embassy in Beirut as soon as possible as the security situation is worsening and convoy evacuations may soon no longer be possible.
The six-day conflict between Israel and Lebanon has already killed over 160 people, mostly civilians.