The ruling Social Democrats and the right-of-centre Civic Democrats are meeting in Prague to discuss the future of the so-called 'Opposition Agreement', which has kept the minority Social Democrat cabinet in power for nearly three years. Under the power-sharing pact, the Civic Democrats support important government legislation in return for senior parliamentary posts and policy concessions. However the pact is becoming somewhat fragile, with general elections scheduled for next year. There is also considerable public opposition to the deal.
Politicians in Prague have become involved in a bitter row over a Czech-sponsored resolution condemning human rights violations in Cuba, following criticism by the U.S. Secretary of State, Colin Powell. Mr Powell expressed reservations to an addition to the resolution which describes the economic embargo against the island as 'counter-productive.' The Civic Democrats' shadow Foreign Minister, Jan Zahradil, said the Czech Republic was pursuing an over-ambitious policy which was alienating its allies. The Czech President, Vaclav Havel, has said he is unhappy with the way in which the government was seeking support for the resolution. Poland, which co-sponsored previous resolutions in the past, has withdrawn its support, after rumoured to be unhappy with the criticism of sanctions.
Police in the Netherlands have identified the pilot of a light aircraft which crashed in near the town of Heeten on Friday as the Czech acrobatic flying champion Martin Stahlik. His Dutch co-pilot was also killed in the crash. Dutch police are now investigating the cause of the accident. The light aircraft was discovered in a field by an inhabitant of the town, which lies some 75 kilometres east of Amsterdam. Stahlik, who was 38, was taking part in a routine training exercise when his two-seater plane crashed shortly after take-off. He was described as one of the best acrobatic pilots in the world.
Police in North Bohemia have launched a murder investigation after a man discovered two charred bodies on Thursday as he was walking through a local wood. The bodies were discovered on a path 50 metres away from a main road leading to the village of Milesov. Police say they have been unable to identify the bodies, described as a teenage boy and a man in his mid-twenties.
Czech and Dutch military investigators are trying to determine why an armoured personnel carrier slipped off a bridge on Wednesday, killing a Dutch soldier and injuring another during a joint training exercise near Olomouc. A Netherlands army spokesman told the DPA news agency that three soldiers had been pinned inside the wreckage after Wednesday's accident at the Libava training ground. The dead soldier was 18 years old. His colleague was slightly injured, and has been released from hospital.
A number of town halls raised the Tibetan flag on Friday, to commemorate the 42nd anniversary of the Chinese occupation. Some sixty people also demonstrated outside the Chinese embassy in Prague, and a Tibetan monk sang traditional prayers. Events to protest against the Chinese occupation have been held regularly in the Czech Republic since 1996.
A Czech tourist has died in a climbing accident on Greece's Mount Olympus. The 47-year-old man died in hospital in Thessaloniki on Friday, one day after suffering a fall on his way to the summit. The man was accompanied by four fellow tourists from the Czech Republic. No other details have been released by the Czech consul in Thessaloniki.
Police have confirmed that Agriculture Minister Jan Fencl might be asked to face questions about Thursday's traffic accident in the town of Olomouc, which witnesses say was caused by his personal driver. The driver is alleged to have fled the scene of the accident after causing the collision. A witness told police that Mr Fencl's driver was overtaking another vehicle when he noticed a car heading towards him in the opposite direction. A lorry was forced to swerve out of the way, hitting two other cars in the process. Both Minister Fencl and his driver claim they didn't notice any collision.
President Vaclav Havel has met the Tunisian Foreign Minister Habib Ben Yahia for talks on international relations and the current situation in the Middle East. Mr Habib handed President Havel an invitation to visit Tunisia from President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. The Czech President has shown considerable interest in the Middle East peace process in recent years, calling at last year's Forum 2000 Conference at Prague for Palestinians and Israelis to end the conflict.
And finally, a quick look at the weekend's weather. Friday night will be cloudy and mild, with rain in places and temperatures not falling below 2 degrees Celsius. Saturday will remain overcast and showery, with maximum daytime temperatures of 13 degrees. Sunday will be similar, with more rain.
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