Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek has met President Vaclav Klaus at Prague Castle and says he will present Mr Klaus with a list of new government ministers by the end of next week. Following the announcement, Green Party leader Martin Bursik expressed disappointment in the Civic Democrats' failure to include his party in behind-the-scenes talks on the make-up of the next cabinet. Discussions have already been held with the Social Democrats and the Christian Democrats.
The Civic Democrats have presented their proposed policy programme to the three parties involved in government talks - the Social Democrats, Christian Democrats and the Greens. Entitled "seven bold reforms for the future", the programme focuses on the following areas: the public budget and taxes, the pension and social systems, the health sector, the business environment and labour market, the limitations of regulations, reform in the police sector and the fight against corruption, and the Czech presidency in the EU and European funds.
Czech Police chief Vladislav Husak has ordered an investigation into steps taken by the east Bohemian police to uncover a series of mysterious hospital deaths. Media reports say that the police were too slow to react to the hospital's criminal complaint. The complaint was filed on October 23 but the suspect was not detained until December 1. The 30-year old nurse has since confessed to the crime, saying he injected 17 patients with excessive doses of a blood-thinning drug to see if doctors were able to detect the problem. Up to nine of the patients are believed to have died as a result.
The Interior Ministry plans to increase the number of police officers responsible for the country's national security when the Czech Republic joins the Schengen Zone. Some six hundred officers from the border and foreign police will be transferred to internal security forces, says Interior Minister Ivan Langer. Border-free travel to and from all of the Czech Republic's neighbours is to be introduced by March 2008.
Police say they have arrested six people believed to have organised the transport of illegal migrants to Italy. Four more members of the same international gang of people smugglers have been detained in Austria and Germany. The suspects are from Moldova, Ukraine, and the Czech Republic and are believed to have organised transports for at least 150 migrants within the last eighteen months.
The Slovak government has decided to sign a bilateral agreement with the Czech Republic that allows Bratislava to store emergency supplies of crude oil and petroleum products on Czech territory. EU countries have until 2008 to find a way to store enough crude oil to guarantee an emergency supply for 90 days. With insufficient storage space, Slovakia has agreed to pay the Czech Republic to store its crude oil.
The number of pickpocketings in the country's second biggest city Brno is rising dramatically. Police have recorded 2,100 cases since January, 400 cases more than last year. The thefts this year have so far amounted to 11 million crowns (a little under half a million US dollars). Most of them take place in department stores, in the vicinity of the train station, and on trams.
The next few days are expected to be overcast with scattered showers and day temperatures reaching 12 degrees Celsius.
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