Russian plane makes emergency landing in Prague
A drunken passenger caused a Russian plane flying from Moscow to Geneva to make an emergency landing at Prague's Ruzyne Airport on Thursday morning. There were fears of a possible hijacking after the pilot reported a state of emergency on board. A spokesperson for Aeroflot has now confirmed that the panic on board was caused by a drunk who made threats and started a fight. The man is a thirty two year old Russian national who was traveling with eight other family members, among them three children. He allegedly threatened to blow up the plane and demanded that it change course for Cairo. He was quickly overpowered by some of the passengers and handed over to the police in Prague. The plane was carrying 168 passengers and everyone on board is reported to be safe and sound. The plane is expected to continue on its flight to Geneva later today.
Centre-right parties sign coalition agreement
The Civic Democrats, Christian Democrats and Greens have signed a coalition agreement on a centre-right government. The agreement, which follows weeks of tough negotiations, specifies the future government's policy programme, its line up and guidelines for cooperation. The Civic Democrats, who won the June general elections, will hold nine seats in the 18 member cabinet, the Christian Democrats five and the Greens four. One post - head of the legislative council - remains to be filled after the Christian Democrat's candidate unexpectedly rejected the offer at the last minute.
The government line up has caused controversy within the Civic Democratic Party where some party members are highly critical of the fact that the strongest party had not laid claim to influential ministerial posts. The posts of finance and foreign minister have gone to the Christian Democrats and the Greens respectively. The Prime Minister on Thursday dismissed suggestions that some of his own party deputies were considering boycotting the new government.
It is not yet clear if or when President Klaus will appoint the new government. Its set up is almost identical to the one he rejected earlier this month, expressing reservations both with regard to its line-up and the fact that the prime minister had not secured majority support for it in the lower house. The three-party alliance is one vote short of a majority in the Chamber of Deputies and would need the support of at least one rebel left-wing MP to pass a confidence vote. The Prime Minister has refused to enter into negotiations with the opposition Social Democrats and his party has indicated that it is hoping to win support from individual Social Democrat MPs.
President Klaus sends letter of condolence to widow of late US president
President Klaus has sent a letter of condolence to the widow of the late US president Gerald Ford. Mr. Klaus wrote that Gerald Ford was an exceptional politician with great foresight and that it had been an honor to meet with him in person. Mr. Klaus praised the late president's contribution to the fall of communism, saying that Gerald Ford started the work that Ronald Reagan later brought to a successful conclusion. His work had a fundamental impact on freedom in central and Eastern Europe and contributed to the fact that the Czech Republic and the United States are close allies today, President Klaus wrote.
Romanian embassy protests against treatment of patient
The Romanian embassy has filed an official complaint against the treatment of a Romanian national by the Jihlava hospital authorities. The woman in question had an accident on Czech territory and underwent two life-saving operations in the Jihlava hospital. Since she had no health insurance card the hospital refused to discharge her until her family covered the cost of treatment. She was later discharged when the Romanian embassy guaranteed payment. The embassy's protest note says the woman was "taken hostage" and treated in a humiliating manner. The hospital management has yet to respond to the accusations.
The next few days are expected to be cloudy to overcast with some rain or sleet showers and day temperatures between 0 and 4 degrees Celsius.