Temperatures in the Czech Republic in 2006 were 0.6 degrees Celsius higher than the average over the last 30 years, according to figures released on Thursday by the Czech Hydrometeorlogical Institute. It was the ninth warmest year since 1775, when the weather station at Prague's Clementinum began keeping records.
A number of Civic Democratic Party regional organisations are calling on
Mirek Topolanek to step down as leader if his latest attempt to form a
government fails. Prime Minister Topolanek has signed a coalition deal
with the Christian Democrats and the Greens. The same three parties failed
a vote of confidence in October; they would need the support of at least
one left-wing rebel to pass a confidence vote.
Prague Mayor Pavel Bem - first deputy chairman of the Civic Democrats - said Mr Topolanek should allow somebody else to try to form a government, if the proposed coalition fails again.
Mr Topolanek on Wednesday apologised for publicly criticising several senior party figures, including Mr Bem, President Vaclav Klaus and outgoing finance minister Vlastimil Tlusty.
Almost 65 percent of Czechs are opposed to the idea of a United States missile defence base being built in the Czech Republic, suggests an opinion poll commissioned by the Foreign Ministry in December and quoted in Mlada fronta Dnes on Thursday. The US is set to decide in the early part of this year whether to build the site in the Czech Republic or Poland.
Czech goalkeeper Petr Cech could make a return to competitive football as soon as January 20. He has been out of action since sustaining a skull fracture in October. Cech had been expected to return in mid February. But the manager of his club Chelsea, Jose Mourinho, says the Plzen-born star needs to return as soon as possible, after a run of poor results.
Czech soldiers returning from Iraq say their replacements will be working in more dangerous conditions. Almost 40 Czech military police officers returned to Prague on Thursday, completing a tour of duty which began in December 2003. Their commander Ladislav Tvrdy said that while his officers had trained Iraqi police on bases, the next Czech contingent will have to accompany the Iraqis between stations, putting themselves at increased danger.
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 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.
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