Coalition agrees on distribution of ministries in new cabinet

The new Prime Minister and acting head of the Social Democrat party, Stanislav Gross, has announced that the "new-old" ruling coalition have agreed on the distribution of portfolios in the new government. The junior coalition Freedom Union has given up the Ministry for Local Development. Instead the party will be allotted the Defence and Justice Ministries, along with the Information Technology Ministry. The Christian Democrats will retain the same portfolios as in the government of former Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla, that is the Foreign, Transport and Environment Ministries.

Czech soldiers join Olympics-NATO's special WMD forces

Some 100 Czech soldiers specialised in anti-biological and chemical warfare have joined a special-forces battalion that has begun deployment in Greece for the forthcoming Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. The weapons-of-mass-destruction-defence operation, known as "Distinguished Games", is the first major mission of NATO's new Multinational Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear Task Force. The battalion expects to have a task force of troops, vehicles and equipment from Belgium, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Poland and Spain at its base in the northern Greek beach resort of Halkida by August 1.

Test confirms 13th case of BSE

The Czech Veterinary Office has confirmed the thirteenth case of BSE in the Czech Republic in a five-year old cow from a farm near Jicin in East Bohemia. As a result, 143 animals from the same farm will have to be put down. Overall, 606,000 cows have been tested for BSE so far in the Czech Republic, and some 2000 have had to be put down as a preventative measure. The first case of BSE, or mad cow disease, in the Czech Republic was reported in June of 2001. It resulted in tightened regulations regarding animal breeding, cattle-feed, and the sale and import of meat and meat products.

Senate approves Ivana Janu's nomination for Constitutional Court Judge

The upper house of the Czech Parliament, the Senate has approved the nomination of Ivana Janu to the post of a Constitutional Court Judge. After Ms Janu is appointed by President Vaclav Klaus, she will become the 13th judge of the 15-member Constitutional Court. Ivana Janu is a former member of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and is a widely respected expert on international public law.

CKA faces slimming cure before windup

The Czech state-run bailout agency Ceska konsolidacni agentura (CKA) will slim down, change its structure and business methods as of September, its chief executive Zdenek Cap has told reporters. He added that the changes should help CKA to wind up its business by the end of 2007, as scheduled. CKA will newly split its portfolio into complex, individual and group assets, depending on the way they will be sold, in an effort to boost yields and secure transparency. CKA, which manages claims worth about 150 billion crowns, also plans to offer as much information as possible about its claims, which should help raise investors' bids. CKA reduced audited losses to 18.1 billion crowns in 2003 from 79.4 billion crowns in 2002.


Friday should be another bright and sunny day with temperatures in the daytime reaching highs of 27-30 degrees Celsius.