The Interior Ministry has said that some 90 refugees, who had applied for asylum in the Czech Republic, escaped from two refugee centres in North Moravia and Central Bohemia at the end of last week. The ministry says it was most likely an organised escape masterminded by people smugglers and the asylum seekers are expected to try and cross the Czech border to get further west. Under Czech legislation, an escape from a refugee centre is an infringement on the asylum law. The Interior Ministry added most of the refugees were economic migrants who would not have qualified for asylum in the Czech Republic.
Outgoing Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda and outgoing Transport Minister Milan Simonovsky, both deputy chairmen of the Christian Democratic Party, have resigned from their party posts. They did so amid a tense atmosphere in the party caused by the negotiations last week between party chairman Miroslav Kalousek and the Social Democrats on a communist-supported government. Mr Kalousek's move met with a negative response among party members resulting in his resignation on Friday.
Hamburg's Czech international midfielder David Jarolim will be out for four to six weeks after tearing a muscle in his forearm, his club's doctor said on Monday. The 27-year-old suffered the injury in Hamburg's 1:1 draw with Hertha Berlin on Sunday and has had his arm put in plaster. It means Jarolim, named in Karel Bruckner's national squad for upcoming Euro 2008 qualifiers against Wales and Slovakia in the next ten days, will miss those two matches.
Prague police say the police officer who took part in a neo-Nazi demonstration on Sunday has been dismissed from the police force. He was among the 26 people detained during a far-right protest outside the Israeli embassy on Sunday. The rally was held against Israel's foreign policy in the Middle East and was attended by several dozen people. Knives, truncheons, and other weapons, including gas pistols were confiscated.
Customs officers have confiscated around 3,000 pairs of counterfeit brand shoes worth several million crowns in shopping centres around the country. All the fake brand products belonged to one company based in the eastern city of Ostrava, according to the CTK news agency owned by a Polish businessman.
The Civic Democratic Party which won the largest share of the votes in June's national elections, is considering the possible types of government that party leader and Prime Minister designate Mirek Topolanek is going to propose to President Vaclav Klaus on Friday. Mr Topolanek speaks of three versions of temporary cabinets which would lead the country to early elections next year. Some party officials also speak of the possibility of a regular government which could serve a full term on condition that outgoing Prime Minister and chairman of the Social Democrats Jiri Paroubek steps down as party leader, thus allowing for a compromise deal on the future government. The June elections produced a deadlock on the Czech political scene where no political block has a clear majority in the lower house of parliament.
An opinion poll commissioned by Czech Television suggests that most Czechs would blame the Social Democrats for failed post-election talks with the Civic Democrats. Some 48 percent of those polled by the STEM agency blamed the Social Democrats, who came second in the June elections; 43 percent on the other hand said that the Civic Democrats, who won the elections, were responsible. While it was mainly the elderly and people with a lower education who supported the Social Democrats, younger respondents with a higher education and people with successful jobs supported the Civic Democrats. 51 percent of those polled also said that the Civic Democrats should go into opposition following failed post-election negotiations.
The President's secretary, Ladislav Jakl, has said that claims that
President Vaclav Klaus has called a meeting with the leaders of all
parliamentary parties for next week are false. On Saturday, media
reports said that Mr Klaus - taken aback by the recent political turns
- called the meeting but stressed he would not intervene in government
negotiations. In a televised debate on Sunday, Mr Jakl said the
president never made any such plans. In the same debate, Civic Democrat
leader Mirek Topolanek also said he knew nothing of such a meeting.
On Saturday, Mr Klaus said the political developments of the last few days had taken him by surprise but also reiterated that politicians should not be held responsible for the political deadlock that the country has been battling since the elections in early June. Their attempts at forming a majority government are hindered by the fact that the number of seats in the lower house of Parliament is evenly divided between the left parties and the centre and right parties, Mr Klaus stressed.
Police say two members of the so-called Berdych gang were arrested in Ireland on Friday night. The gang, named after their leader David Berdych, is allegedly responsible for kidnapping, robbing and in several cases killing wealthy businessmen. Several high-ranking policemen were also involved. The fugitive Tomas Puta and Maros Sulej are wanted by the Czech police for assault and robbery; Mr Puta - a former Slovak police officer - is also suspected to have murdered an antiquarian whose body is still missing. The men fled the Czech Republic in 2002 and 2003. They are now in police custody in Ireland.
Civic Democrat leader and prime minister designate Mirek Topolanek is
planning to propose one of three types of governments to President Vaclav
Klaus next week. The first is a political government with ministers from
all parliamentary parties except the Communists. The second is a minority
Civic Democrat government that will also include independent experts. The
third government that Mr Topolanek is considering is a caretaker
Speaking on Czech TV on Sunday, Mr Topolanek said one of the three cabinets would lead the country to early elections, preferably to be held around April or June next year. The type of government that he will propose next Friday will depend on the results of negotiations that will take place in the next few days.