The Civic Democrats will most probably gain a second chance to form a new government. President Vaclav Klaus will ask the party that won most votes in the municipal and Senate elections to decide who should be entrusted with the task, the president's secretary Ladislav Jakl said on Sunday. The first attempt at forming a new government since the June elections ended in deadlock failed as the minority government of Civic Democrat leader Mirek Topolanek was unable to gain a vote of confidence in Parliament.
In a Czech TV discussion programme with the chairmen of all five parliamentary parties, Mr Topolanek said he favoured a caretaker government that would lead the country into early elections - preferably in May or June. Social Democrat leader Jiri Paroubek opposed the idea of early polls and said a grand coalition between his party and the Civic Democrats is the most stable way out of deadlock.
The Greens are considering naming their own candidate for the 2008 presidential elections. In Sunday's televised debate, party leader Martin Bursik said it is very likely that their candidate would be a woman. The results of the Senate elections have increased the chances of current president Vaclav Klaus being elected to a second term in office. Seventeen years after the revolution, though, the country is ready to be led by a woman, Mr Busik said. However, he did not reveal whom he had in mind.
Twenty-two personalities have been awarded with state honours and medals for bravery. The state distinctions were presented by President Vaclav Klaus at a traditional ceremony at Prague Castle, which is held every year on October 28 - the anniversary of the foundation of an independent Czechoslovak state in 1918. The Order of the White Lion, the country's highest state honour, was given to WWII veterans Antonin Spacek and Josef Bryks, who died in 1956 and was given the distinction in memoriam.
Among the others who received state distinctions were cross-country skier Katerina Neumannova, Chairwoman of the Confederation of Political Prisoners Nadezda Kavalirova, football legend Josef Masopust, and actress Iva Janzurova.
A new solar power plant, which is now the biggest in the country, has been launched in the northern town of Hradek nad Nisou. The plant is capable of generating up to 61 kilowatts and has been erected on the roof of the local T.G. Masaryk elementary school. The project of the civic association Via Regia cost 11.4 million crowns (just over half a million US dollars), 8.4 million crowns of which came from the EU's Phare programme.
This weekend saw the end of the tourist season at hundreds of castles and chateaux around the country. Visitors flocked to the sites for the last time his year, attracted by various special programmes including exhibitions, food tastings, and tours by guides dressed as historical figures. One of the country's most popular castles, Karlstejn, will remain open to visitors throughout the month of November. Krivoklat and Konopiste close their doors on weekdays.
Two gorillas at Prague zoo will be giving birth next year. Pregnancy tests show that thirty-four year old Kamba is pregnant with her first baby and is due at the end of January. Fifteen year old Kijivu, who already has a two-year old girl Moja, is expected to give birth in May next year.
The next few days have been forecast with overcast skies and scattered showers. Day-temperatures will range from 14 to 17 degrees Celsius. Monday, however, is expected to be much colder with temperatures barely reaching ten degrees Celsius.
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