Daily news summary News

02-07-2004

President asks Gross to begin talks on forming new government

President Vaclav Klaus has asked the acting leader of the Social Democrats, Stanislav Gross, to begin talks on forming a new government. Mr Gross is hoping to build a coalition with the same two centre-right parties who were in government with the Social Democrats under his predecessor Vladimir Spidla; he resigned last weekend in the wake of poor results in elections to the European Parliament.

However, Mr Gross must find at least one extra vote to secure a majority in the Chamber of Deputies before the president will appoint him prime minister. The previous coalition had a majority of one in the 200-seat lower house, but one MP from the smallest party, the Freedom Union, has joined the opposition and another has announced he is going to follow suit.

In the meantime, a former member of the opposition Civic Democrats has allied himself with the Freedom Union.

Newspaper reports on Friday suggested that Mr Gross, who is 34, would try to win the support of MPs from the opposition benches in order to gain a majority.

Speaking to journalists on Friday, President Klaus said the new government should offer more than just the replacement of a few faces. He said the Czech people were expecting them to deliver change.

Shop-owner facing prosecution over neo-Nazi goods

Police have seized about 500 items bearing neo-Nazi symbols from a shop in the west Bohemian town of Pilsen. The haul included clothing, badges and stickers. Police said Friday the owner of the shop would likely be charged with propagating a movement aimed at suppressing the rights of others.

Golden Boot no consolation for missing Euro 2004 final, says Baros

After the Czech Republic were beaten 1:0 by Greece in the semi-finals of football's European Championships on Thursday, Czech striker Milan Baros said finishing as top scorer would be no consolation for being knocked out of the competition. Baros looks set to receive the Golden Boot award after scoring five goals at Euro 2004.

Meanwhile, Czech manager Karel Bruckner said his players had gained credit around Europe for their style of play. Incidentally, in a strange twist of fate, the Czechs are due to play Greece again in a friendly in Prague next month.

Teplice football club comes under investigation, as Synot are allowed to stay in first division

Following earlier reports that investigations into corruption in the Czech league would intensify after Euro 2004, police have begun looking into allegations involving Teplice football club. Czech football became engulfed in what has been described as its biggest scandal ever in early May, when several arrests were made in connection with alleged match-fixing involving the club Synot.

On Friday the Czech football association announced that Synot would be allowed to stay in the first division next season. However, the club will be docked 12 points and must pay a fine of half a million crowns (over 16,000 euros).

Karlovy Vary film festival begins Friday evening

The 39th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival gets underway on Friday evening. During the opening ceremony the American acting great Harvey Keitel will receive an award for his outstanding contribution to world cinema. The festival attracts many thousands of mostly young people to the west Bohemian spa town and continues until July 10.

Weather

Saturday is expected to be cloudy with rain in places. Temperatures will range from 19 to 23 degrees Celsius.

02-07-2004