Meanwhile, the chairman of the Senate, Premysl Sobotka, has convened an extraordinary session of the upper house of the Czech Parliament for next Wednesday. The Senators should discuss the possibility of early elections to the lower house. They are also going to discuss an amendment to the Constitution which would enable the President to dissolve the lower chamber, provided that a majority of MPs have approved it and the government has stepped down. Under current legislation, the procedure is considerably lengthier.
Dominik Hasek, the 41-year-old Czech goaltender known as the "Dominator", signed a one-year National Hockey League contract on Monday with the Detroit Red Wings. Hasek was not kept by the Ottawa Senators and the six-time Vezina Trophy winner as the NHL's top netminder had said he would only play another season for the Senators. He was lured back to the Red Wings, who he helped win a Stanley Cup in 2002, for a 750,000-dollar contract that could bring up to 1.1 million dollars in playoff bonus money. Hasek was a hero for the 1998 gold medal Czech hockey team, helping them capture the first Olympic tournament to feature NHL players at Nagano, Japan.
Prime Minister and Social Democrat leader Jiri Paroubek has met President Vaclav Klaus to give him details about his party's plan to solve the political deadlock after the June national elections. Mr Paroubek declined to comment on what he called a "comprehensive" plan of the Social Democrats. He only indicated that it should involve an agreement between the Civic Democrats who won the elections and his Social Democrats who came second.
TPCA, the car manufacturing joint venture between Toyota and PSA Peugeot Citroen, made a loss of 2.2 billion crowns (77.3 million euros, 98.6 million dollars) in 2005, the daily Mlada fronta Dnes reported on Tuesday. According to the paper, TPCA turnover in 2005 reached 21 billion crowns (737.6 million euro, 941.9 million dollars). In 2005 the company produced only a third of its eventual capacity, TPCA president Yasuhiro Takahashi told the paper. This year turnover should rise to about 1.8 billion euros with car production climbing to 300,000 units, a spokesman added.
The would-be coalition of the Civic Democrats, the Christian Democrats and
the Greens are going to offer to Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek that their
coalition cabinet would stay in power only until an early election next
year. It would prepare a state budget for next year and a change to the
election system which would prevent political deadlocks like the one the
country is experiencing now. The Civic Democrats, the Christian Democrats
and the Green Party have been in talks since June about the forming of a
governing coalition, however, the grouping has only 100 votes in the
200-member lower house where elections in June produced a perfect split
between the leftist and centre-right parties.
Prime Minister and Social Democrat chairman Jiri Paroubek has reiterated that his party refuses any kind of agreement with the three-party coalition. Civic Democrat chairman Mirek Topolanek has said he is planning to meet Mr Paroubek and present the offer to him in person.
The number of road deaths has decreased by half compared to last year, preliminary figures for the month of July suggest. While 52 people died in road accidents in the first 26 days of the month, there were 104 road deaths in the same period in 2005. The sharp fall is attributed to the new points system for driving offences that was introduced on July 1. Police say the number of road accidents has also dropped by 30 percent.
There has been a sharp increase in the number of counterfeit brand-name goods seized in the Czech Republic. In the first half of this year the Czech Business Inspectorate confiscated over 600,000 counterfeit items, around the same figure for the whole of 2005, the Pravo newspaper reported on Monday. The most common fake goods are clothing, footwear, cigarettes, alcohol, CDs and DVDs. Experts say that while in the past most counterfeit goods were imported from East Asia, production in illegal factories in the Czech Republic is now on the increase.
Pharmacists in the Czech Republic are busy re-labelling drugs as a new health ministry directive that changes the pricing system comes into effect on August 1. The new regulation affects some 10,000 products; of which 6,700 are partly covered by insurers. Under the directive, health insurers will have to cover a much smaller share of medicine prices. Health Minister David Rath hopes pharmaceutical companies will be forced to lower their prices. But, according to the Czech Chamber of Pharmacists, patients will be at a disadvantage as they will have to pay up to forty percent more for their medicine.
In related news, the Civic Democratic Party, which won the parliamentary election and is in the process of forming a new government, says it would be in favour of raising the number of points drivers have to collect before they lose their license. Under the current points system, a driver loses his license with 12 collected points. The Civic Democrats, who say the system is too strict and leaves too much room for corruption, would like to raise the limit to 18 points.
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