Daily news summary News

07-08-2006

Persistent rain raises water levels

Persistent rain over the weekend and into Monday has raised rivers levels around the country. The most affected regions are southern and northern Bohemia. As meteorologists warn of more rain until Wednesday, children at various summer camps are being evacuated and some areas are on the highest degree of flood alert. Some roads around the River Elbe have also been closed to traffic as the river continues to swell.

Prime Minister Paroubek hoping to turn outgoing cabinet into new government

Outgoing Prime Minister and Social Democrat leader Jiri Paroubek has confirmed that the make-up of his cabinet could change if the latest, seventh attempt at electing a new lower house speaker fails. The outgoing cabinet contains ministers of the Freedom Union, which did not make it into parliament in the June elections. With important decision-making ahead, such as next year's state budget, these ministers could be replaced. Mr Paroubek has also hinted that his new cabinet could be the country's next new government.

Two months after the parliamentary elections, the country has neither a new government nor a new lower house chairman. The 200 seats in the lower house of Parliament are evenly split between the left and the centre and right parties.

Civic Democrat leadership rejects "reconstruction" of outgoing cabinet

Meanwhile, the Civic Democrat leadership on Monday said it rejects what it called the Social Democrats' planned reconstruction of the outgoing cabinet and called it disrespectful of the democratic elections two months ago. The leadership also ruled out any form of coalition, including a Grand Coalition, with the Social Democrats. If its plans to form a minority Civic Democrat government should fail, the party leadership supports a temporary caretaker government that would prepare the country for early elections.

Poll: Civic Democrats enjoying rise in popularity

If elections were held today, the Civic Democrats would win with 41 percent of the vote, suggests a new opinion poll. In the parliamentary elections in June, the party won 35.5 percent of support. The other parties would get around the same number of votes as two months ago, according to the poll conducted by Factum Invenio. The agency attributes the Civic Democrats' dramatic rise in popularity to its efforts in the post-election talks.

Czech participation in US anti-missile programme almost certain, says minister

The Czech foreign minister, Cyril Svoboda, says it is almost certain that the USA will ask the Czech Republic to join its anti-missile defence programme. Speaking on Czech TV on Sunday, Mr Svoboda said that could involve the stationing of radars and the building of an anti-missile site with around ten missiles. A team of US experts has already surveyed sites in the Czech Republic.

In the same televised debate, Mr Svoboda also said the Czech Republic will not take part in an international military presence in Lebanon.

Controversial businesswoman hoping to run for post of senator

Controversial Czech businesswoman Libuse Bartova intends to run for the post of senator. Ms Barkova was sentenced to five years in prison for insurance fraud last year after making false property damage claims following the floods in 2002. Ms Barkova has appealed the verdict. She also made headlines in 2003 when her conversations with then Interior Minister Stanislav Gross and a Defence Minister were caught up in a police wiretap, and it was revealed that Ms Barkova owned a building housing a brothel. In an interview for the commercial radio station Frekvence 1 on Monday, Ms Barkova said she would stand in the Senate elections as an independent candidate.

Swimming: David Cech first Czech to swim La Manche both directions

Long-distance swimmer David Cech has become the first Czech to swim La Manche in both directions. Cech completed the swim from France to England in 19 hours 54 minutes on Sunday.

On Saturday, Yvetta Hlavacova set a new women's world record for swimming the English Channel one way. She swam the 36 km in seven hours 25 minutes. The swimmer hoped to set a record both ways but gave up after some 14 hours, with only around 12 km to go, due to exhaustion.

Weather

The next few days will remain cloudy with scattered showers. Daytime temperatures will range from 17 to 22 degrees Celsius.

07-08-2006