The outgoing Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla has been offered the post of European Commissioner, according to reports published in the Czech press on Thursday. According to the dailies Mlada fronta Dnes and Lidove noviny, Mr Spidla could replace current commissioner Pavel Telicka, whom the Christian Democrats, one of three government coalition parties, want to remove. The dailies say the post was offered to Mr Spidla by the acting head of the Social Democrats, Stanislav Gross, who is now responsible for putting together a new cabinet. The outgoing Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla has refused to comment on the matter, saying the priority now is to form a new government.
The Czech Statistics Office has said that the Czech Republic's population has risen for the first time in nine years. The population in May was registered at 10.212 million, 1,041 more than in December 2003. The Czech Statistics Office attributed the rise to an increase in the number of foreigners living long-term in the country as well as more babies being born. A record minimum number of marriages and maximum number of divorces was also recorded last year while the number of babies born outside of wedlock reached close to 30 percent, an almost three-fold increase since 1990, the year after the fall of communism.
At least one person was killed when two trains crashed head-on near the South Bohemian town of Strakonice on Thursday afternoon. Around 30 people are reported to have been injured in the collision. Police are investigating the cause of the accident.
Another suspected case of BSE, or mad cow disease, has been reported in Podhorni Ujezd, near Jicin, East Bohemia. The animal suspected of suffering from the condition is a five-year-old cow. The State Veterinary Authority said further tests would be carried out. If confirmed, it would be the Czech Republic's thirteenth case of the disease since 2001. Some 143 head of cattle, either offspring of the cow or animals born in the same year will have to be killed as a preventative measure.
A German court has sentenced a Czech lorry driver for three years and three months in jail for bringing 26 Chinese men into Germany in a refrigerated trailer. The man picked up his passengers in the Czech Republic in February and was intending to take them to Britain. The Chinese men, who had to squeeze into a narrow space between crates of beer in icy temperatures, were discovered in checks in the western German region of Nordrhein Westphalia.
Friday should be another hot day with occasional rain. Daytime temperatures should rise to highs of 28 degrees Celsius.
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