Czech political leaders are once again searching for a solution to the country's drawn-out political crisis. The Civic Democratic Party, whose leader Mirek Topolanek was re-appointed prime minister on Wednesday, has refused to hold talks exclusively with the Social Democrats. The party wants to keep its options open and will negotiate simultaneously with all parties in the lower house.
Social Democrat leader Jiri Paroubek, has indicated that he is prepared to run for the post of speaker of the lower house. He told journalists on Thursday that this could lead to a breakthrough and he called for constructive talks to break the deadlock. Civic Democrat deputy chairman Petr Necas said this appeared to be a step in the right direction but he added that the Social Democrat leader was not in a position to call the shots.
Czech President Vaclav Klaus has said he is not opposed to Turkey's entry into the EU if the country can meet the required criteria. Speaking on a working visit to Denmark, Mr. Klaus said that he would rather see the EU enlarged than more closely integrated. The president did not wish to comment on the US election results, merely saying that he did not expect any significant changes in bilateral ties. On Thursday the Czech president had lunch with the Queen of Denmark, Margarethe II and met with some of the country's top officials.
The police has uncovered the whereabouts of two Czech criminals who are hiding in New Zealand, according to Thursday's edition of Mlada Fronta Dnes. The two criminals escaped from the country after being sentenced for rape, blackmail and a hold-up. They are both wanted on an international arrest warrant and the Czech authorities have asked the New Zealand police to arrest and extradite them.
The Belgian supermarket chain Delhaize is selling all of its 96 Delvita supermarkets in the Czech Republic and leaving the country. The supermarket chain said Thursday its net profit had more than halved in the third quarter mainly due to its Czech business, which had prompted the decision to sell. Company chief executive Pierre-Olivier Beckers said the divestment would allow Delhaize to focus on higher opportunity markets."
Zdenek Hruby, chairman of the supervisory board of the power utility CEZ, has been appointed to the post of government secretary for the country's EU presidency in 2009. Mr. Hruby has considerable experience in managing international projects. He was chief coordinator of the IMF and World Bank meeting in Prague in the year 2000 and national coordinator of EU funds. The Czech Republic should hold the rotating EU presidency in the first half of 2009.
The next few days are expected to be partly cloudy to overcast with day temperatures between 4and 8 degrees Celsius.
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