Daily news summary News

26-07-2004

Stanislav Gross appointed Prime Minister

President Vaclav Klaus has appointed the acting leader of the Social Democratic Party Stanislav Gross the country's new Prime Minister. Mr. Gross heads an old-new Cabinet of three coalition parties, the Social Democrats, the Christian Democrats and the right wing Freedom Union. The new Cabinet will have a thin one-vote majority in the Lower House, and the new Prime Minister has obtained a pledge in writing from each of the 101 coalition deputies that he can rely on them to back the new administration. Later today, the new Prime Minister is to meet with the leaders of the two smaller parties of the governing coalition to debate government policy and personnel matters. The thirty-four year old Stanislav Gross is the youngest Prime Minister in the country's history. He has replaced his party colleague Vladimir Spidla who resigned several weeks ago, after narrowly surviving a vote of no-confidence as party chairman.

Political analysts sceptical

Political analysts have little faith in Stanislav Gross' Cabinet. Political analyst Rudolf Kucera told the CTK news agency that with its one vote majority in the Lower House the new Cabinet would be as unstable as its predecessor and was unlikely to survive until the next general elections scheduled for 2006. "The three coalition parties have only one thing in common - their fear of early elections" Kucera said. Political analyst Bohumil Dolezal likewise predicts a time of instability. He claims that the new Prime Minister's biggest adversary is in his own party - the leftist faction which would have preferred to see a minority Social Democrat government supported by the communists.

Highway collision leaves one dead, 31 injured

The driver of a Czech tourist bus was killed and 31 passengers were injured in a collision with a Polish truck on a major highway in eastern Belgium early on Monday. The accident allegedly occurred near Hasselt on a highway that links the Belgian port of Antwerp and the German city of Aachen. Eleven of the injured have had to be hospitalized.

Police arrest neo-Nazi youths who brutally attacked stranger

The police have arrested two youths who attacked and seriously injured a man who objected to their yelling Nazi slogans in public. The thirty three year old man was eating at a restaurant when two youths, sitting close to him, started yelling Nazi slogans and doing the Nazi salute. When he asked them to stop the youths both attacked him, punching him in the face and repeatedly kicking him when he fell to the ground. The man is in intensive care, having sustained severe head injuries. The youths have been charged with causing grievous bodily harm and supporting a movement which aims to restrict human rights and freedoms.

Chemical specialists prepare to leave for Athens

A train carrying equipment for the Czech chemical detection unit which is to help protect the Olympic Games in Athens has left for Greece. The 35 cars carrying special containers and equipment for radiation and chemical detection and decontamination are guarded by ten soldiers, while the group of 90 specialists will follow by plane. The team of specialists from the Liberec-based NATO rapid response unit will operate in Athens from August 1st till September 30th. The core of the group is made up of Czech specialists but there will also be chemical experts from Italy, Hungary, Spain and Poland.

Weather:

Tuesday is expected to be cloudy to overcast with scattered showers and day temperatures between 17 and 21 degrees Celsius.

26-07-2004