The leadership of the Social Democrats has voted not to take part in a
"rainbow" coalition which would lead to early general elections.
The party's stance represents a rejection of a plan put forward by
President Vaclav Klaus as a way out of the deadlock which has gripped
Czech politics since inconclusive elections in June.
The Social Democrats, who came second in the elections, have also reiterated their demand to be given a chance to form a new government, after the failure of the winning Civic Democrats to put together a viable government.
The leaders of the five parties in the lower house are due to meet Mr Klaus on Tuesday. The president has indicated that if they cannot agree on a solution before then, he will choose a new prime minister himself.
Police have charged the Dutch manager of a bank in Touzim, west Bohemia with stealing 35 million CZK (1.6 m USD) from his own bank, Pravo reported. The paper said the banker had enjoyed spending the money - he apparently lives in the former Prague flat of inter-war finance minister Alois Rasin, surrounded by rare antiques.
A search is on for three men who are alleged to have tortured a Vietnamese shop owner with an electric shock stun gun in Jindrichov, north Moravia on Thursday. The man was also shot by the three, who broke into his shop at around 1 am. The police said they were examining possible motives for the attack and have not ruled out the possibility it was racially motivated.
Meanwhile, a survey carried out by Prague's transport authority found the C line was the busiest line, with 48 percent of passengers using it, Lidove noviny reported. Thirty percent said they mainly travelled on line B and 22 on line A. Passengers criticised the long intervals on line B and at night and said the system lacked clocks on carriages and sufficient dustbins in stations.
The finance ministers of the Czech Republic and Germany have announced
they will join forces to block a European Commission plan to raise
minimum duties on beer. Czech Finance Minister Vlastimil Tlusty said
Prague would veto the rise, which needs to be approved by all 25 EU
members. He said he and his German counterpart, Peer Steinbruck, would
express their joint standpoint at a meeting in Brussels next week.
The Czechs are the world's biggest beer drinkers, consuming nearly 160 litres per person per year. The Germans are the third biggest consumers.
The Czech trade surplus rose to 7.5 billion CZK (341.5 million USD) in September, a rise of 2.2 billion crowns on a 12-month comparison, according to data released by the Czech Statistical Office on Friday. The positive trade balance largely stems from a 3 billion crown increase in the trade surplus in machinery and transport equipment. Exports reached the highest level since March 2006 and the second highest level ever, the office added.
The government has selected Zdenek Hruby, currently head of the CEZ energy utility's supervisory board, as the man who should prepare the Czech Republic for its EU presidency in 2009. Foreign Minister Aleaxander Vondra introduced Mr. Hruby to the lower house's Foreign Affairs Committee on Friday. Lubomir Zaoralek, lower house deputy chairman, said the Social Democrats would not challenge the appointment. The Czech Republic is to preside over the EU in the first half of 2009.