News

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Civic Democrat regional organisations say chairman should go if government fails

A number of Civic Democratic Party regional organisations are calling on Mirek Topolanek to step down as leader if his latest attempt to form a government fails. Prime Minister Topolanek has signed a coalition deal with the Christian Democrats and the Greens. The same three parties failed a vote of confidence in October; they would need the support of at least one left-wing rebel to pass a confidence vote.

Prague Mayor Pavel Bem - first deputy chairman of the Civic Democrats - said Mr Topolanek should allow somebody else to try to form a government, if the proposed coalition fails again.

Mr Topolanek on Wednesday apologised for publicly criticising several senior party figures, including Mr Bem, President Vaclav Klaus and outgoing finance minister Vlastimil Tlusty.

Next Czech contingent in Iraq to face more dangerous conditions

Czech soldiers returning from Iraq say their replacements will be working in more dangerous conditions. Almost 40 Czech military police officers returned to Prague on Thursday, completing a tour of duty which began in December 2003. Their commander Ladislav Tvrdy said that while his officers had trained Iraqi police on bases, the next Czech contingent will have to accompany the Iraqis between stations, putting themselves at increased danger.

Machine gun used in killing of businessman

Police are investigating the shooting dead of a businessman in Prerov, northern Moravia. The man, who was 39, died after being hit several times by an unknown assailant using a machine gun, police said.

Two thirds against US missile defence base, suggests poll

Almost 65 percent of Czechs are opposed to the idea of a United States missile defence base being built in the Czech Republic, suggests an opinion poll commissioned by the Foreign Ministry in December and quoted in Mlada fronta Dnes on Thursday. The US is set to decide in the early part of this year whether to build the site in the Czech Republic or Poland.

2006 ninth warmest year since records began

Temperatures in the Czech Republic in 2006 were 0.6 degrees Celsius higher than the average over the last 30 years, according to figures released on Thursday by the Czech Hydrometeorlogical Institute. It was the ninth warmest year since 1775, when the weather station at Prague's Clementinum began keeping records.

Cech set for early return as club Chelsea struggle

Czech goalkeeper Petr Cech could make a return to competitive football as soon as January 20. He has been out of action since sustaining a skull fracture in October. Cech had been expected to return in mid February. But the manager of his club Chelsea, Jose Mourinho, says the Plzen-born star needs to return as soon as possible, after a run of poor results.

Stepanek out of Adelaide tournament after second defeat

Radek Stepanek has been knocked out of tennis's Adelaide International. After losing to Vince Spadea of the US, the Czech player was beaten by Russia's Evgeny Korolev in the tournament's round-robin group stage.

Weather

It should be cloudy and wet over the next few days, with temperatures of up to 10 degrees Celsius.