Social Democrats, Freedom Union to decide leadership this weekend

The leadership of two of the three parties in the governing coalition will be decided this weekend, with most attention focused on the battle for the top post in the Social Democrats. Party chief Vladimir Spidla faces a vote of confidence on Saturday - if he is loses and is replaced by challenger Stanislav Gross, Mr Spidla says he will also step down as prime minister and bring down the government.

Meanwhile, the smallest party in the coalition, the Freedom Union, are choosing a new leader, after Petr Mares resigned in the wake of their disastrous showing in European Parliament elections. The man most likely to succeed Mr Mares is Local Development Minister Pavel Nemec. Mr Nemec is in favour of the Freedom Union remaining part of the government, though the issue is sure to be hotly debated at this weekend's party conference in Hradec Kralove.

President's wife to represent him under agreement with Foreign Ministry

The Foreign Ministry and President Vaclav Klaus's office have reached an agreement under which the president's wife Livia can stand in for him on trips abroad, the newspaper Mlada fronta Dnes reported on Friday. Mrs Klausova is due to attend the inauguration of President Gloria Arroyo of the Philippines on Monday when Mr Klaus will be at a NATO summit in Istanbul.

Police investigating whether Ostrava gas leak was deliberate

Police in the Moravian city of Ostrava are investigating whether a gas leak which paralysed the centre of the city on Thursday was caused deliberately. No arrests have been made in the connection with the incident, which occurred just days after a building in Brno collapsed after a gas explosion, killing three people.

Record number of takes-offs, landings at Prague Airport

Prague Airport saw a record number of 521 take-offs and landings on Thursday, said a spokesperson. Last year the record number of flights was also recorded in June, though the number was 20 percent lower than that recorded on Thursday.

In related news, the Hungarian budget airline Wizz Air has opened a low-cost route between Budapest and Prague. It will fly between the two capitals four times a week.

Prague metro opens two new stations

Two new stations were opened on the C line of the Prague metro system on Friday. The new stations are at Kobylisy and Ladvi in the north of the capital. Prague's underground rail network recently celebrated the 30th anniversary of its opening; in 1974 the system consisted of just nine stations, and ran from Kacerov to Florenc.

Footballers gearing up for Euro 2004 quarter-final game against Denmark

The Czech football team are preparing for a quarter-final clash with Denmark at the European Championships in Portugal on Sunday evening. Czech striker Milan Baros said on Friday he hoped the footballers would not go the same way as the country's ice hockey team, who promised a lot but were beaten in the quarter-finals of this year's World Championships.


Saturday is expected to be a mostly sunny day, with temperatures ranging from 19 to 23 degrees Celsius.