The number of deaths on Czech roads has decreased sharply following the introduction of a strict new road law in July of last year. According to statistics 951 people were killed in road accidents in 2006, which is the lowest figure in sixteen years. This is ascribed to the new points system which enables the police to confiscate drivers' licenses for a certain number of transgressions and the increased presence of traffic police on the roads in recent months.
However, the chairman of the lower house, Social Democrat Miloslav Vlcek, has admitted the Social Democrats might still discuss possible tolerance of the centre-right coalition government of the Civic and Christian Democrats and the Greens. He said the coalition would have to make changes to its programme. On Tuesday, Social Democrat leader Jiri Paroubek ruled out support for the centre-right coalition, saying that his party was still waiting for its chance to try and form a government.
Taiwan-based digital, mobile and electronics manufacturing group BenQ will construct an LCD screen and monitor factory in the Czech Republic's second city, Brno, the project's local promoter CTP Invest has said. According to the internet news server, Aktualne.cz, the factory will have eight assembly lines capable of producing around 500,000 LCD screens and 500,000 monitors a year. The new plant, employing around 700 people, should begin production in the third quarter of the year, it added.
The Gay Initiative has ended its activities in the Czech Republic saying its main objectives had been achieved. The civic association in support of gays and lesbians was set up in 1990, shortly after the fall of communism, to fight prejudices against gays and lobby for equal rights and opportunities for gays and lesbians. The association's chairman Jiri Hromada said at his last news conference on Wednesday that he was happy to say that most of the association's goals had been achieved and that the public's attitude towards gays had changed radically for the better. The Czech Republic was the first post-communist state to pass a law enabling same-sex registered partnerships.
Social Democrat chairman Jiri Paroubek is due to meet President Vaclav Klaus on Thursday to inform the president of the latest proposal by his party regarding the solution to the ongoing political crisis. The Social Democrats expect the new cabinet of Prime Minister Topolanek will not receive a vote of confidence from the lower house, therefore the party is offering a coalition agreement to the Civic Democrats and the Christian Democrats for a third attempt to form a government since inconclusive elections in June. If the two parties do not accept the proposal, the Social Democrats say they are ready to form a minority cabinet and seek a vote of confidence.
The Culture Ministry has finally decided that the Prague department store, formerly known as "Maj" will be declared a cultural monument. Culture Minister Martin Stepanek on Wednesday dismissed a protest by the building's owner, the Czech Republic's branch of Tesco, against an earlier decision by the ministry to that effect. The ministry says the building, located in the centre of Prague, is an important piece of architecture of the 1970s, relating to the functionalist style of the period between the two world wars.
On Tuesday, the line-up was finalised of the proposed centre-right
coalition government involving the Civic Democrats, the Christian
Democrats and the Green Party. Cyril Svoboda, former foreign minister,
is to become minister without portfolio and chairman of the
government's legislative council, while film director Helena Trestikova
is to take up the post of culture minister. Nominations to other
ministerial posts remain as originally proposed. Prime Minister Mirek
Topolanek is now expected to officially present the new government to
Once his government is appointed Mr. Topolanek will have thirty days in which to ask the lower house for a vote of confidence. So far he can rely on the support of the Civic Democrat parliamentary party in the lower chamber. Mr Topolanek said he would try to negotiate support from the opposition Social Democrats - either as a party or if need be from individual members.
The 2006 state budget posted a 97. 3 billion crown deficit in public
spending, which is over 13 billion crowns higher than expected, the
Finance Ministry said on Tuesday. Parliament originally approved a
deficit of 74.4 billion crowns, but the figure was later revised to
83.7 billion. The ministry said lower tax and social insurance revenues
were to blame. The target was also exceeded as a result of lawmakers
transferring cash to regional government coffers from funds earmarked
for mandatory government spending.
The Czech government no longer counts on adopting the European single currency by the original target date of 2010 but has not set any new deadline. In order to adopt the euro, governments must meet strict EU targets for public debt, deficits and inflation.
The proposed centre-right government was high on the agenda of a New Years' luncheon between Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek and President Vaclav Klaus on Tuesday. The president expressed reservations both with regard to its line up and the fact that the prime minister has not secured majority support for it in the lower house. Despite his critical stand, the president is bound by the constitution to appoint whatever government the prime minister proposes. The prime minister will then have thirty days in which to ask the lower house for a vote of confidence. The Czech Republic has been without a stable government since the last general elections ended in stalemate last June.
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