President Klaus has named a new government made up of the Civic Democrats,
the Christian Democrats and the Green Party. The three-party coalition,
which failed a vote of confidence in October, has to undergo another such
vote within thirty days. However, it is a vote short of a majority and
would need the support of at least one rebel left-wing deputy to remain in
Prime Minster Mirek Topolanek, under pressure from within his own Civic Democrats, has staked his political future on the confidence vote: if it fails he says he will step down as party chairman.
The Czech Republic has been without a stable government since elections in June ended in stalemate.
The Czech brewer Budvar has struck an historic trade alliance with Anheuser-Busch, makers of Budweiser. The American giant has agreed to distribute Budejovicky Budvar's rival beer in the US. However, the Czech beer will remain under the Czechvar name in America, due to an ongoing trademark dispute. Both firms have also vowed to continue their fight over the Budweiser brand name elsewhere in the world.
The Czech Republic's mountain rescue service has been called out 340 times since the start of December - just a quarter the number of interventions made in the same period last winter. However the unseasonably warm weather is not all good news: there has been an increase of 180 percent in the number of interventions away from the ski slopes.
Descendants of the Tugendhat family have officially petitioned the Brno city authorities and the Culture Ministry for the return of the Tugendhat Villa. It dates from 1928 and is the only example of modern Czech architecture on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The Tugendhat family, who were Jewish, left in 1938. The villa was taken over by the Gestapo and confiscated by the Czechoslovak state in 1945.
The Czech Republic has so far not been affected by a row over oil prices between Russia and Belarus. Although the pipeline between Ukraine and Slovakia was cut off on Monday evening, oil supplies from Slovakia are expected to keep reaching the Czech Republic for another week. The Czech minister of industry and trade, Martin Riman, said the country had enough crude oil to last four months.
The support team for a German man hoping to set a new world record for running around the world in less than 260 days have been robbed twice on the Czech stage of the run, Pravo reported on Tuesday. Special clothing was stolen from the team's car in Kladno, while camera equipment was taken in Pribram.
Around a hundred Czech soldiers have returned from a six-month KFOR mission in Kosovo. The rest of the Czech contingent will follow later. The task of the Czech troops was to ensure security, aid the local and international police, search for illegal weapons and prevent ethnic conflicts in the region.
Prime Minister and Civic Democrat chairman Mirek Topolanek has said his party should hold an extraordinary congress if his second government does not win confidence in the lower house. Speaking in a televised debate on Sunday, Mr Topolanek said the delegates should then set new terms for negotiations on forming a cabinet. Mr Topolanek also said he was prepared to ask the lower house for a confidence vote before the 30-day deadline set by the constitution.
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