News

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Coalition government to discuss reforms with opposition and trade unions

The coalition government of the Civic Democrats, Christian Democrats, and the Greens, will discuss all planned reform with the opposition and trade unions. In a Czech TV interview on Sunday, Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek said the debate will have to take place simply because the coalition does not have a majority in the lower house of Parliament and relies on the vote of at least one opposition MP. Mr Topolanek also reiterated that the opposition Social Democrats will be offered posts in commissions formed to put some of the reforms in place.

PM Topolanek: ratification of EU constitution agreement will not be revived

The EU needs a new, simpler, and more comprehensible constitution document that will allow the union to work effectively even after further expansion, Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek says. Speaking in the same Czech TV interview, Mr Topolanek said the Czech Republic would not ratify the European Constitution agreement in its current form. The ratification process of the document was halted after France and the Netherlands rejected it. However, Germany hopes to revive the document during its EU presidency and the issue is expected to be one of the main points of discussion during German Chancellor Angela Merkel's visit to Prague on Friday.

Agriculture Minister proposes to increase tree logging quota

The newly elected Agriculture Minister, Petr Gandalovic, will propose to government to increase the quota for forest harvesting. Recent gale-force winds have devastated an estimated 70 percent of the annual quota, covering an area of 5 million cubic metres. Mr Gandalovic says the measure is imperative to avoid a catastrophic spread of engraver beetles that attack fresh wind-felled trees.

Some 7,000 still without electricity

Some 7,000 homes are still without electricity after gale-force winds damaged reception points on Thursday night. According to electricity giant CEZ, the power supply to most of the one-million people who were left without electricity has been resumed but repairing the damages caused in mountain areas or distant isolated places will take another day or two.

Poll: 52 % of Czechs feel Social Democrat MPs betrayed their party in confidence vote

A little over half of the population believe that two Social Democrat MPs who made it possible for the centre-right coalition government to gain a vote of confidence were disloyal to their party, an opinion poll suggests. Milos Melcak and Michal Pohanka left the Chamber of Deputies to give the ruling coalition's Civic Democrat, Christian Democrat, and Green Party MPs a majority during Friday's vote. In the poll conducted by the STEM agency, 52 percent of respondents said the two MPs betrayed their party, while 48 percent believe that their decision was right and responsible.

Czech ski jumper in artificial coma

Czech ski-jumper Jan Mazoch is in stable condition after a strong gust of wind threw him off balance making him hit the hill hard with his head during Saturday's World Cup competition in the Polish Tatra resort of Zakopane. He is now in a special clinic in Krakow where he was put into artificial coma, a measure often applied with such injuries.

Australian Open: Safarova and Vaidisova through to quarter final

Lucie Safarova gave a stunning victory against defending champion Amelie Mauresmo of France in the fourth round of the Australian Open on Sunday. The 19 year old Czech who ranks 70th in the world will play Nicole Vaidisova, seeded 10th, in the quarter-finals. Vaidisova defeated Russian seventh seed Elena Dementieva to become the highest-ranked player in that half of the draw. It will be the first all-Czech women's quarter-final in a grand slam since Denisa Chladkova played Jana Novotna at Wimbledon in 1997.

In the men's third round matches carried over from Saturday's rain suspensions, Czech 13th seed Tomas Berdych - Safarova's boyfriend - overcame Russian Dmitry Tursunov and will face third seed Nikolay Davydenko on Monday.

Weather

Overcast skies, showers, and snow in the higher altitudes are expected in the next few days. The start of the week will see temperatures fall to reach daytime lows of -3 degrees Celsius.