News

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Former party head Milos Zeman quits Social Democrats

Former chairman Milos Zeman has announced he is quitting the Social Democratic Party. The Czech Press Agency reported that Mr Zeman made the decision after learning that current leader Jiri Paroubek had initiated criminal proceedings against him over a case in which a lawyer is suing the party over unpaid fees. For his part, Mr Paroubek said Mr Zeman's resignation was a desperate attempt to influence a party conference next weekend.

Mr Zeman lead the Social Democrats for eight years and helped make the party one of the strongest forces in Czech politics. He was prime minister from 1998 to 2002.

Bursik tells Cunek to answer corruption charges or quit by Friday

Environment Minister Martin Bursik says he will demand the resignation of Jiri Cunek if he does not answer corruption charges by Friday. Mr Bursik said an investigation into alleged bribe-taking by the deputy prime minister and minister for regional development was having a negative impact on the government. But Minister Bursik said the two posts should remain open and be returned to Mr Cunek if he clears his name.

Chamber approves dissolution of IT Ministry, four years after creation

The Chamber of Deputies has approved the dissolution of the Ministry of Information Technology. Its tasks will be taken over by the Interior, Industry and Regional Development Ministries, if the move is approved by the Senate and the president. Interior Minister Ivan Langer said the Information Technology Ministry should cease to exist in the middle of this year. It was created by the last government in 2003.

Czech president sends views on climate change to US House of Representatives

The Czech president, Vaclav Klaus, sent a letter containing his views on climate change to the US House of Representatives, ahead of a committee level debate on the issue. In a reply to questions put to him by members of the House, Mr Klaus said "ambitious environmentalism" has replaced communism as the biggest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy and prosperity.

Problems of police chief Husak could damage force, says Minister Langer

The minister of the interior, Ivan Langer, says problems surrounding the head of the Czech police, Vladislav Husak, could reflect badly on the force. Mr Langer said he would talk to the police chief this week, but did not reply when asked if he was planning to dismiss him. Mr Husak has been accused of leaking sensitive police information.

Poll: Civic Democrats would win elections

The main party in the governing coalition the Civic Democrats would come first in fresh elections with almost 35 percent, suggests a poll conducted in the middle of this month by the CVVM agency. The opposition Social Democrats would come second with 29 percent of votes, followed by another opposition party the Communists on 15 percent, the poll indicates.

Three-day conference on Charter 77 begins in Prague

A three-day conference on the Charter 77 protest movement has just begun in Prague. Entitled "Charter 77 - From Human Rights Advocacy to Democratic Revolution 1977 - 1989", the conference is being attended by a number of former dissidents. They include former Czech president Vaclav Havel and current European Affairs minister Alexandr Vondra, as well as the Polish journalist Adam Michnik.

Three accused of causing train crash after leaving car on rails to claim insurance

Three men have been accused of causing a train crash on the line between Prague and Decin. Police say they left a luxury Audi car on the tracks in order to see it destroyed and then claim insurance. Two people were hurt and 40 million crowns worth of damage done during Monday's crash.

Newspaper survey: quality of life highest in Pardubice

The town of Pardubice in east Bohemia is the best place to live in the Czech Republic, according to an extensive survey carried out by the daily Mlada fronta Dnes. It used 50 indicators - including unemployment rates, property prices and air pollution - to gauge the quality of life throughout the country. Prague came third overall, though it was first when purely economic factors were considered.

Weather

It should be cloudy with some sunny spells and the chance of snow in places. Temperatures should gradually rise to around 12 degrees Celsius by the end of the week.