New government could be set up by mid-August
The new Czech government could seek a vote of confidence from the Lower House in mid-August, according to the acting head of the Social Democratic party Stanislav Gross. Mr. Gross met with the leaders of the other two parties of the emerging government coalition on Tuesday to discuss the situation within three parties, their respective views on personnel and policy programme matters and a timeframe for the formation of the new government. Mr. Gross has said he expects all deputies of the three parties to sign a commitment in writing pledging support for the new government, which would have a slim one-vote majority in Parliament. Some deputies have said that they want to know more about the future government's policy programme and who will be in the Cabinet before making such a commitment.
Health ministry bans caged beds
The Czech health ministry has ordered all health institutions in the country to stop using caged beds immediately. The Czech Republic was severely criticized for the practice by human rights organizations and the campaign to get these beds banned was recently joined by J.K. Rowling, author of the famous Harry Potter books. The health ministry said that beds with iron railings should go immediately, those with netting should be replaced by the end of the year.
Czech chemical warfare specialists to fly to Greece
The Czech Republic will send a military team of chemical warfare specialists, technology and support staff to Greece for the Olympic Games. Some 100 Czech soldiers are expected in Greece at the end of July to help in the security operation surrounding the games. The Czech Republic has one of the best chemical warfare detection units in the world.
Fake explosive device on train
A fake explosive devise found on a train travelling from the Czech Republic to Germany on Tuesday resulted in a three hour delay. The train was stopped at Rokycany train station and was completely evacuated along with the residents of ten nearby houses as bomb disposal experts went to work. They allegedly found a good imitation of an explosive device. Police are investigating the incident.
Chief rabbi hospitalized
The chief rabbi of the Czech Republic Karol Sidon was hospitalized with heart problems as he was about to face a tribunal after being dismissed from his Prague post. Sidon was sacked at the end of June by the Prague Jewish community, who claimed he was unable to handle his duties. When Sidon denied the claims, the community suggested a court rule on the dispute. A hospital spokesman said rabbi Sidon's condition was stable and predicted that it would not be a long hospitalization.
Smuggled cigarettes confiscated
Customs officials in Ceske Budejovice have confiscated two million crowns worth of smuggled cigarettes. The smuggled goods were found after officials searched a lorry that was supposed to be carrying fibreglass insulation. The cigarettes were probably meant for the illegal market in the south Bohemia border areas. The state would have lost one million crowns in taxes through their sale and the perpetrators now face up to eight years in prison.
Wednesday is expected to be cloudy to overcast with day temperatures between 16 and 20 degrees Celsius.