Daily news summary News

16-02-2005

Coalition in crisis after Christian Democrats call for replacement of prime minister

The three-party governing coalition is in crisis, after the Christian Democrats called on the Social Democrats to replace Stanislav Gross as prime minister. Christian Democrat leader Miroslav Kalousek said at a special news conference on Wednesday such a move would allow the coalition to continue.

Earlier Mr Gross said the government - which has a majority of just one - could continue without the Christian Democrats. However, it is hard to see where a minority government could find support.

Stanislav Gross is due to hold individual talks with Mr Kalousek and Freedom Union leader Pavel Nemec on Thursday.

Mr Gross has been under fire for weeks over allegations his luxury Prague flat cost more than he had officially earned. His wife's financial dealings have also been criticised; on Wednesday the prime minister said she would cease her business activities while he was in office.

Vote on anti-smoking law postponed by lower house

The lower house has postponed a vote on a new anti-smoking law. After two years of debate on the issue, the bill was returned again to the second reading on Wednesday. Under the legislation smoking in restaurants would be restricted to "separate rooms", a measure owners say is unfeasible.

Bill on adoptions, fostering passed by lower house

A bill aimed at ensuring that fewer children spend their childhood in institutional care has been approved by the lower house. It envisages the speeding up of the Czech Republic's adoption process and tax free benefits for certain foster parents.

Cesky Telecom reverses loss

Cesky Telecom made a net profit of 5.6 billion crowns last year (almost 250 million US dollars). That followed losses of 1.8 billion crowns in 2003. Last year's results make Telecom - which has yet to be privatised -one of the most profitable companies in the Czech Republic.

Prague airport closed for ten hours due to snow storm

Prague's Ruzyne airport was closed for over ten hours on Wednesday following a snow storm. Flights were restricted after the airport reopened at 3:30 in the afternoon.

Tsunami victim Nemcova may quit modelling

Czech model Petra Nemcova, who was seriously injured in the Asian tsunami disaster in December, says she may quit modelling. The 25-year-old broke her pelvis and suffered internal injuries before surviving the disaster by clinging to a palm tree for eight hours. Her boyfriend, a British photographer, is still listed as missing. Ms Nemcova told the Czech daily Blesk she would like to return to Asia to do aid work.

Weather

Temperatures will reach up to 1 or 2 degrees over the next few days. The heavy snow which has been causing problems on roads in many parts of the country is set to continue, but we can also look forward to some sunny spells.

16-02-2005