Gale force wind that hit the Czech Republic along with a cold front and heavy snowfall claimed one life on Friday, when a 27-year old man was killed by a falling wall near the city of Brno. The Cinovec border crossing between the Czech Republic and Germany was closed to traffic for several hours on Friday morning due to heavy snowfalls. The severe weather also halted railway traffic on the main route between the Czech Republic and Slovakia. In other parts of the country, the winds broke trees and tore away roofs.
The deputy head of the Social Democrats Zdenek Skromach has announced he will challenge the acting head of the party, Prime Minister Stanislav Gross, for the chairmanship of the Social Democrats at the party's congress next March. The heads of the party's regional branches have welcomed the announcement of Mr Skromach's candidacy, but some of them said they supported Stanislav Gross. According to the daily Lidove noviny, Mr Skromach's bid is being backed by the former prime minister, now retired politician Milos Zeman. The daily also writes that if elected chairman, Mr Skromach would aim for a minority government with support across the political spectrum, including the Communist Party. Mr Skromach is expected to unveil further plans on his bid this weekend.
The Czech Republic's state-run utility company CEZ signed a contract with the Bulgarian government for the privatisation of the electricity distribution network in the capital Sofia and two other regions of the country. Under terms agreed in July, CEZ will pay 281.5 million euros for a 67-percent stake in the electricity distributor. The company has agreed not to resell or restructure any of its shares until the end of 2008.
The Prague Stock Exchange exceeded its starting level of 1,000 points for the first time in 10 years on Friday. The deputy head of the stock exchange Vladimir Ezr said there has been growing interest in the Prague Stock Exchange from both foreign and national investors since the country joined the EU. He added that higher interest in shares of major companies that were facing privatisation, such as the dominant telecom company Cesky Telecom and the power company CEZ and, had further boosted the exchange. The Prague Stock Exchange was launched in April 1993, three months after Czechoslovakia split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia, but the PX50 index with a starting value of 1,000 points was not launched until exactly one year later.
The Czech Republic may assist in the creation of a future urban plan of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, the Czech Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda said after a meeting with Baghdad's regional governor Ali Haidari. Mr Svoboda said the project was ready and it was now up the Iraqi authorities to choose between a Czech and Japanese project. Minister Svoboda pointed out that the entire realisation of the project was connected to the reinforcement of the security situation.
After renewing a hamstring injury in the Czech Republic's bout against Macedonia, it appears Liverpool's Czech striker Milan Baros will be out of action for about one month. That leaves Liverpool currently without its two top guns: Djibril Cisse was sidelined in October with a horrific leg break.
Milan Baros' renewed injury comes after a storybook appearance against Crystal Palace in the Premier league: the striker secured a hat-trick to help his side win 3:2, the first hat-trick scored by a Czech in the Premiership's history.
In the next few days, wintry weather is expected to stay, with more snow showers and daytime temperatures slightly above zero degrees Celsius.
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