The Prague city hall has finally decided to buy a special river boat to provide shelter to homeless people. The boat which will provide 250 beds, a canteen and sanitary facilities, will cost 23 million crowns (around a million USD) and should welcome its first guests in mid-January. The city hall is still deciding where exactly the boat should be anchored. According to estimates there are up to 6,000 homeless people in the Czech capital and only 600 beds available in shelters.
Social Democrat chairman Jiri Paroubek has admitted his party might be in opposition. Speaking on Czech Radio on Tuesday, Mr Paroubek said he no longer counted on the vote of MP Milos Melcak who has left the Social Democrat parliamentary party. Upon leaving, Mr Melcak did not rule out he might vote for a possible government of the Civic Democrats, the Christian Democrats and the Greens which would otherwise have the support of exactly half of the votes in the lower house.
The Regional Court in Prague has decided to reopen the case of the fugitive convict Rostislav Roztocil, who was sentenced in 1985 to 24 years in prison for murder. Mr Roztocil, who maintains his innocence, was sentenced in absentia after emigrating to the West in the 1980s. He was detained in 2000 at a border crossing while trying to enter the Czech Republic. Last year he escaped from prison and was detained in Germany. German courts ruled that Mr Roztocil could be extradited to the Czech Republic on condition he would be granted a new trial.
The upper house of the Czech Parliament, the Senate, held a special session on Tuesday to mark 10 years of its existence. Since the first session held in 1996, altogether 182 senators have been elected to the chamber. The Senate has 81 members and one third of them are replaced in elections every two years.
Beer production in the Czech Republic has grown by four percent this year and is expected to reach 19.8 million hectolitres at the end of the year, the head of the Czech Brewers' Association, Jan Vesely, said. Exports are expected to reach 3.5 million hectolitres compared to 3.1 million last year. The annual per capita consumption of beer in the Czech Republic remains at 160 litres. According to estimates, foreign tourists consume around 12 percent of the beer sold on the Czech market.
The Czech ombudsman Otakar Motejl, who has been re-elected to the post for a second term, has taken oath of office. Mr Motejl's first term of office expired on Monday and he will now hold the post for another six years. The role of the ombudsman - or public defender of rights - is to defend citizens from the country's bureaucrats, whether from discrimination or excessive red tape. In the past six years, Mr Motejl's office received around 30,000 complaints from the public.
Czech side FC Brno are to consider selling their goalkeeper Martin Lejsal to Middlesbrough of the English Premiership, their manager Karel Jarusek said on Tuesday. Faced with economic problems, the Czech club is prepared to sell its star keeper, he added. Before returning to Brno at the end of 2005, Lejsal, 24, played for the Italian clubs Reggina, Padua and Venice. He was called up to the Czech national squad for the first time in November for the friendly against Denmark which ended in a 1-1 draw.
A museum of the history of one of Prague's most important monuments, Charles Bridge, is to be opened in the Czech capital next June. The museum, to be located by the bridge, will show documents on the history of the stone Gothic bridge, its construction during the reign of Emperor Charles IV., as well as the Baroque statues later installed on the bridge. The foundation stone of the bridge was laid by Emperor Charles on July 9, 1357. The bridge was named after Charles in the 19th century. Until then it was called simply Prazsky and later Kamenny most or Prague and Stone Bridge.
The Civic Democrats have offered to give half the seats in a possible new
government to coalition partners the Christian Democrats and the Greens.
Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek said at the weekend that he would present
the president with a list of cabinet members by Thursday; he also said the
proposed three-party coalition should undergo a confidence vote by the
middle of next month.
A previous attempt by Mr Topolanek to form a government with the Christian Democrats and the Greens failed as the alliance was one vote short of a majority. The Civic Democrats, who came first in elections in June, say this time they hope to win the support of deputies from other parties.
The leftist Social Democrats have called on two rebel MPs to return to the party's deputies group. One of them, Milos Melcak, is currently under police protection, two of Monday's dailies reported. Mr Melcak reportedly believes somebody is trying to poison him.
An annual report by the Czech school inspectorate suggests that the Czech Republic will face a lack of kindergartens in a few years time while the number of high schools will exceed demand in the future. That will be the case in areas where the authorities have failed to react to a changing birth rate. The office also says it is worried by the number of injuries at primary schools. The inspectorate also examined the readiness of primary schools for an education reform scheduled to kick off in two years time.