Civic Democrat chairman Mirek Topolanek says he will resign if he is
unable to form a government after elections next June. Mr Topolanek made
the comment in a newspaper interview on the eve of his party's annual
conference in Brno.
The right-wing Civic Democrats have been ahead in the opinion polls for some time but have conceded ground to the governing Social Democrats since Jiri Paroubek became prime minister this year.
The rate of HIV infection is rising relatively slowly in the Czech
Republic, with 70 new cases recorded so far this year, Miroslav Hlavaty
of the charity AIDS pomoc said on Friday.
Mr Hlavaty warned that young Czechs were unworried about catching HIV, with only 20 percent saying they use condoms the first time they sleep with a new partner.
According to the latest available figures over 800 Czechs are HIV positive and almost 200 have AIDS.
Legendary British rock band the Rolling Stones are set to play in the
Czech Republic's second city Brno next summer, with the promoters due
to announce the exact date next week.
The Rolling Stones were one of the first big foreign rock bands to appear in Czechoslovakia after the fall of communism when they performed at Prague's Strahov stadium in August 1990. They have since played here several times.
Czechs are the leading smokers of marijuana in Europe, suggests a
survey of EU states and Norway, Bulgaria and Romania which has just
been published. Some 22% of 15- to 34-year-old Czechs questioned
admitted to smoking the drug in the previous year.
The Czech Republic is also among the leading countries when it comes to the use of ecstasy, so-called magic mushrooms and methamphetamines, suggests the data released by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction.
The environmental group Greenpeace says carp caught in the Czech Republic and neighbouring countries contains worryingly high levels of phthalate, a harmful chemical compound found in plastics. A spokesperson said Greenpeace found traces of the chemical far above prescribed limits in carp from three stores in Prague. Carp is the traditional Czech Christmas meal.
Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek has said he would like to see Health Minister
David Rath head the Social Democrats' list of Prague candidates in
elections next June. The prime minister made the statement on Thursday,
stressing that the Social Democrats needed a strong leader in Prague to
face off against opposition Civic Democrat chairman Mirek Topolanek. The
Social Democrats have been seeking for an appropriate candidate for some
time. Previously, the prime minister pushed for the deputy prime minister
for the economy, Martin Jahn, to top the list, but Mr Jahn turned his
offer down. Former Czech EU Commissioner Pavel Telicka was also
considered, but he also refused.
So far, the Health Minister David Rath has viewed the offer favourably, saying he was likely "to accept".
President Vaclav Klaus has issued nine official pardons in cases that include that of a woman abused by her husband, who shot and injured her husband and had been serving a five-year prison sentence. Mr Klaus also shortened a six-year sentence to three for another Czech woman, Jaroslava Tausova, convicted for embezzlement. The president's spokesman said on Thursday that in the cases the pardons were motivated by "humanitarian aspects".
Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek has told journalists that the abolition of an existing screening law', as proposed Wednesday by the Communist Party, can wait. The prime minister suggested the proposal could be put on the backburner for one or two years, stressing he would not risk the disintegration of the coalition government over the issue. On Wednesday Mr Paroubek expressed support for abolishing the screening law which bans former agents or police officers in former Czechoslovakia's communist regime from holding civil service posts. Mr Paroubek said the legislation had fulfilled its role and was no longer necessary. But, his statement angered both coalition parties, which consider the abolishing of the law unacceptable.
Czech ice hockey forward Jaromir Jagr is currently atop the NHL's players' list of goals and assists, one point ahead of Swedish star Peter Forsberg. Jagr has had 20 goals and 17 assists for his team the New York Rangers since the start of the season, for a total of 37. Most recently Jagr helped his team defeat the Buffalo Sabres in a deciding shoot-out.
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Rare Terezín concentration camp artefacts found in attic of private home
Czechs observe day of mourning for pop idol Karel Gott
Thousands pay tribute to deceased national pop icon Karel Gott