President Vaclav Klaus indicated on Thursday that talks on forming a new government could soon produce results. In the course of the past week the president met with representatives of four parliamentary parties -the Civic Democrats, the Social Democrats, the Christian Democrats and the Green Party - in order to ascertain their position on a future government set up. He is expected to meet with representatives of the Communist Party next Tuesday after which Mr. Klaus should announce who he will entrust with the task of forming a new government.
Green Party representatives with whom he met on Thursday have put forward two possible solutions both of which lead to early elections in 2007. Party leader Martin Bursik said that in the meantime the country should be governed by a caretaker government which would be acceptable to all.
Former deputy local development ministr Vera Jourova, who has been accused of mishandling EU structural funds told police investigators on Thursday that she acted under indirect pressure from the former Social Democrat prime ministr Jiri Paroubek. Mrs. Jourova said that Mr. Paroubek's assistent Martin Vlasta relayed the prime minister's orders which were that she should favour certain applicants. Besides Vera Jourova, three men have been accused of corruption in the same case. They are Zdenek Dolezel, a former senior aide to two former Social Democrat prime ministers, Ladislav Peta, mayor of the town of Budisov, and Miloslav Rehulka, an Agriculture Ministry employee. All three have been in custody since Friday.
The former prime minister and Social Democrat leader has reacted with anger to the accusations saying that they were a pack of lies intended to discredit him in the eyes of the public. He is also demanding an investigation into who leaked the police records to the media.
Czech hospitals may be applying a double standard to Czech and foreign patients. According to the daily Lidove Noviny many hospitals, including state-run facilities, charge foreign patients higher medical fees. The paper said this was the case in five out of eight hospitals which it checked out. The cases all concerned services that are not covered by health insurance. The Health Ministry has said it would look into the matter immediately.
Three baby giraffes have died in a stampede as a result of a massive power failure in eastern Bohemia. A spokesperson for the Hradec Kralove Zoo said that the sudden blaze of lights when power was restored threw the animals into a panic and the baby giraffes were trampled in the stampede. The zoo is said to have sustained 400, 000 crowns in damages as a result of the black out. The power cut in eastern Bohemia affected some 180,000 homes and is said to have been the worst in 15 years.
The FA will not take any formal disciplinary action regarding the injuries sustained by Peter Cech and his fellow Chelsea goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini in last Saturday's Premier League match at Reading. The FA said on its web site on Thursday that it had reviewed the circumstances and had contacted referee Mike Riley, who confirmed that the match officials saw both incidents at the time. "There will therefore be no further action," it said.
Czech Republic goalkeeper Cech, who has had an operation on a fractured skull, is likely to be out for several months after he was caught on the head by a sliding Stephen Hunt. Hunt has apologised and denied the challenge was deliberate, a view supported by his club and the players' association.
The next few days are expected to be partly cloudy with some scattered showers and afternoon highs reaching 15 degrees Celsius.
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