News

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Paroubek: Social Democrat Party needs to modernise, open itself to public

Social Democrat chairman and former prime minister, Jiri Paroubek, says his party needs to modernise and open itself to the public. Speaking on Saturday at regional conferences ahead of the March party congress, Mr Paroubek said the party's should revitalise and rejuvenate at all levels as soon as possible. Mr Paroubek also said he would like to see the percentage of women in the 17,000-member party increase. He reiterated the Social Democrats, who came second in last year's general elections, are not going to support the proposed centre-right cabinet of Mirek Topolanek in a confidence vote. The South and Karlovy Vary regional branches of the Social Democratic Party on Saturday pledged support for Mr Paroubek for the upcoming party congress which will elect a new party chief.

Vondra: government policy statement not to include stance on European constitution

The outgoing Foreign Minister, Alexandr Vondra, says the policy statement of the new cabinet of Mirek Topolanek will most likely not include any definitive stance on the European constitution and its ratification. Mr Vondra who has been nominated for the post of deputy Prime Minister for European affairs in the new cabinet, added that a timetable will most likely be approved during Germany's presidency of the EU specifying further negotiations on the document. Mr Vondra's proposed successor, Karel Schwarzenberg, says it is vital for the EU to have a constitutional treaty. The Czech President Vaclav Klaus, however, in his New Year's address, warned against efforts to revive the European Union constitution under Germany's presidency.

PM admits extramarital relationship, calls on media to respect his privacy

Prime Minister and Civic Democrat chairman Mirek Topolanek has announced he has separated from his wife Pavla and is now living with his girlfriend, Civic Democrat MP Lucie Talmanova. The Czech media had speculated about Mr Topolanek's domestic crisis and his relationship with Ms Talmanova for six months. In Saturday's edition of Lidove noviny, the 39-year old MP Talmanova confirmed she was pregnant but declined to identify the father of her baby and said she was prepared to raise her child as a single mother. Prime Minister Topolanek, who has three children with his wife of twenty-seven years, Pavla, on Sunday called on the Czech media to respect his privacy.

Czech Republic's Temelin nuclear reconnected to grid after routine tests

The first unit of the Temelin nuclear plant in South Bohemia has been reconnected to the national grid after it was shut down temporarily for routine tests early on Saturday morning. The equipment has been tested once a month since mid last year when the Czech Republic's nuclear authority issued an order to that effect. The Temelin plant, which went into operation in 2000, has been the subject of fierce criticism in neighbouring Austria which says the plant, combining Soviet design and Western operating technology, is unsafe.

Zahrobska comes second in women's World Cup slalom

Czech skier Sarka Zahrobska came second in Sunday's women's World Cup Slalom race in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia. The 21-year old finished behind Marlies Schild of Austria; Veronika Zuzulova of Slovakia came third.

Weather

The beginning of the week should be partly cloudy with daytime highs between 5 and 9 degrees Celsius.