NATO has expressed dissatisfaction with part of a Czech law on the protection of secret information. The Alliance opposes the fact that Czech MPs and Senators can gain access to secret materials without going through a security vetting procedure at the National Security Office (NBU). In a television debate on Sunday, NBU head Petr Hostek said NATO could deny the Czech Republic access to the Alliance's secret information if the law is not amended.
Should the emerging coalition government of the Civic Democrats,
Christian Democrats and the Greens fail to get a vote of confidence in
the lower house of Parliament, the leader of the Social Democrats Jiri
Paroubek will not automatically be entrusted with the forming of a new
government, TV Prima has reported. In an interview for the country's
second largest commercial station, President Vaclav Klaus said the
Civic Democrats, which won most votes in the election earlier this
month, have an obligation to form a new government and Mr Paroubek
should not get his hopes up.
Civic Democrat leader Miroslav Topolanek expects a confidence vote on the three-party coalition government to take place in about four weeks' time. If three attempts at forming a new government fail, Czech citizens will return to the polls in early elections.
The site of the troubled Czech aircraft manufacturer Aero Vodochody, which is to be privatized, could be used as a second international airport, a transport ministry report says. The report refutes fears expressed by Transport Minister Milan Simonovsky earlier this year that the plan could have a negative economic impact on Prague's international Ruzyne airport. Aero Vodochody could be attractive for lower category aircraft. The report writes that both airports could have the capacity to serve a total of 27 million passengers in 2022.
The Civic Democrats, the Christian Democrats, and the Greens have approved a draft coalition programme that their party leaders drew up on Friday. The programme names six priorities - the European Union and international cooperation; the citizen, family, education and culture, respect for the rule of law and the fight against corruption; public finances; a modern economy and new work places; and comfortable rural and urban living standards. An agreement to form a new coalition government is expected to be signed on Monday.
More than half of the Czech population is not happy about giving up its currency for the euro, results of a poll commissioned by the European Commission suggest. In the poll on attitudes on the euro in EU member states outside the euro-zone, 52 percent of respondents also said the adoption of the euro would benefit their country. Most Czechs, an EC report says, expect the country to have adopted the euro by 2010.
Hundreds of people attended a memorial ceremony on Sunday on the site of Lezaky, one of the two Czech villages that the Nazis razed to the ground 64 years ago. In retaliation for the assassination of the Nazi governor of Bohemia and Moravia, Reinhard Heydrich, all the children in the village were transported to either concentration camps or resettled with German families whilst all adults were killed and Lezaky grazed to the ground on June 24th 1942. Among those who attended the ceremony were Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek and Senate chairman Premysl Sobotka.
The Czech Army celebrated a Day of the Ground Forces on Saturday. Dozens of thousands of spectators flock to west Bohemia's Strasice near Rokycany every year to watch presentations of military technology and various operations of Czech and also foreign forces. One of the main highlights this year is the presentation of the new Pandur II, which the Czech Army will be adding to its fleet of light armoured vehicles in 2007. The annual "Bahna 2006" event is held for the seventeenth time.
Meanwhile, the emerging three-party coalition came close to a crisis
after one of its MPs - Civic Democrat Milos Patera, suffered a stroke
and had to be rushed to hospital on Friday. The coalition is already
one vote short of a majority in parliament. Without Mr Patera it would
only have 99 deputies in the 200-seat lower house during the crucial
voting for the new speaker of parliament.
No official details on Milos Patera's state of health have been revealed but according to Civic Democrat Vlastimil Tlusty, his party colleague is well enough to take part in next week's vote.
The number of new ordained Catholic priests in the Czech Republic is failing to make up for the number of priests passing away, Czech Cardinal Miloslav Vlk said on Saturday. There are currently 1,800 priests in the Czech Republic but some ten percent are from Poland. Many priests are responsible for more than one parish. In the Prague and Central Bohemia regions, for example, priests reside in only 140 of the 250 vicarages. At a ceremony on Saturday, Cardinal Vlk ordained three new men at Prague's St. Vitus' Cathedral.
The leader of the Communists, Vojtech Filip, has said his party would support the Social Democrats' candidate for the post of lower house speaker. The vote is scheduled for next Thursday. Election of the speaker is a precondition for the old government to step aside to make way for the new. The speaker also elects a prime minister, should two attempts at forming a government fail. The three parties of the emerging centre-right coalition are expected to vote for Civic Democrat candidate Miroslava Nemcova but the Social Democrats would like the current speaker, Lubomir Zaoralek, to remain in the post.
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