Parties very close to coalition agreement

The leaders of the Social Democrats, the Christian Democrats and the Freedom Union have said they are extremely close to reaching a coalition agreement, one day after Social Democrat Stanislav Gross was named prime minister. The three parties have committed themselves to supporting families with children, education and faster economic growth.

Talks on the composition of the new cabinet are expected to continue until at least the weekend; though Mr Gross had earlier said some ministers would remain in their posts, Freedom Union chairman Pavel Nemec told reporters on Tuesday it had not even been decided which parties would get which ministries.

All three parties were in the previous coalition led by Vladimir Spidla, who stepped down a month ago after the Social Democrats did badly in elections to the European Parliament.

Confederation of Industry opposed to trade in emissions credits

The Czech Confederation of Industry has expressed its opposition to government plans to take part in an emissions trading scheme envisioned in the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement designed to reduce greenhouse gases. A spokesman said the move would lead to increased energy prices in Europe and would benefit the USA, Russia and Asian countries.

Economy to grow 3.1 percent this year, says Finance Ministry

The Czech economy is expected to grow by 3.1 percent this year and 3.2 percent in 2005, according to figures just released by the Finance Ministry. Inflation this year should be 2.9 percent, according to the Ministry's calculations.

T-Mobile complains to European Commission over Eurotel 'monopoly'

T-Mobile has taken a complaint about the Czech Republic's other biggest mobile phone operator, Eurotel, to the European Commission, the company announced on Tuesday. T-Mobile says Eurotel's planned launch of a fast internet system called CDMA contravenes European Union regulations on competition, because Eurotel has an exclusive contract to provide the service in this country.

Policeman gets suspended sentence after covering up for colleagues

A policeman who covered up for a crime committed by his colleagues has received a six-month suspended sentence from the court in the eastern town of Frydek-Mistek. Roman Byrtus was found guilty on Tuesday of trying to prevent an investigation into the theft of World War II medals by two fellow officers.

Traffic policeman dismissed for shooting at pedestrian

A traffic policeman who shot at a pedestrian in the west Bohemian town of Pilsen last week has been dismissed. Police say it has not yet been decided whether charges will be filed against the former officer, who took aim at a pedestrian crossing a busy street at a red light but hit a nearby car.

Crash victim had been taking drugs, say Ostrava police

A young man who was killed when his car crashed into a bus in north Moravia at the weekend had been drinking and taking drugs, police in Ostrava said on Tuesday. Traces of alcohol, marijuana and the Czech amphetamine pervitine were found in the 23-year-old driver's blood. One passenger in the car died of her injuries while three others suffered serious head injuries.


Wednesday is expected to be cloudy with rain in places. Temperatures will range from 17 to 21 degrees Celsius.