News

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Government talks make no headway

The Executive Council of the Civic Democrats is holding a meeting to decide whether the party should form a government without the Social Democrats. Prime Minister and Civic Democrat leader Mirek Topolanek met with the leader of the Social Democrats Jiri Paroubek and the Christian Democrats Jiri Cunek for final government talks but was unable to push through the introduction of a flat tax. Mr Topolanek, who was hoping to come to a compromise by Wednesday evening before he leaves for an EU summit in Brussels, is expected to present President Vaclav Klaus with his proposed list of new ministers on Friday.

Chamber of Deputies approves state budget for 2007

The lower house of Parliament has approved the state budget for 2007 with a state income of 949.5 billion crowns (over 45 billion US dollars) but a 91.3 billion crown (an estimated 4.3 billion US dollars) deficit. Deputies from the Civic Democratic, Social Democratic, and Christian Democratic parties voted in favour of the budget, while the Communists and the Greens opposed it.

Social Democrats suspect deputy Melcak has been bribed by the Civic Democrats

The Social Democrats suspect that one of their deputies has been bribed by the Civic Democrats, who are in the process of forming a new government. Deputy Milos Melcak recently left the deputies' group in parliament saying he was facing pressure from party colleagues for voicing that the party should go into opposition. Mr Melcak has not ruled out that he might vote for the new government of Prime Minister and Civic Democrat leader Mirek Topolanek regardless of his party's stance.

Police break up organised gang of people smugglers

Police say they have broken up an international organised gang of people smugglers. The gang from Vietnam, China, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia are suspected of having smuggled at least 700 illegal migrants from Asia to Europe since 2004. They are believed to have received a total of around 200 million crowns for the service.

Anti-Temelin activists threaten to block six border crossings

A group of Austrian environmentalists are threatening to block up to six Czech-Austrian border crossings this weekend. The activists will stage the blockade if the Austrian parliament fails to approve a resolution that favours filing a law suit against the Czech Republic over the Temelin nuclear power plant. The activists say the Temelin plant in south Bohemia - just 50 km from the Austrian border - is not safe and should never have been put into operation.

Ruzyne airport records 11 millionth passenger

Prague's Ruzyne airport has handled a record number of passengers this year. It passed the 11 million mark for the first time on Wednesday. The airport expects to handle 11.5 million passengers by the end of the year; last year the total number of passengers reached 10.8 million. The airport launched its new 10 billion crown (over 470 million US dollars) North-2 terminal in January.

Czech crown reaches new record high to euro

The Czech crown reached a new record high with an exchange rate of 27.86 crowns to the euro on Wednesday. The crown also firmed to the US dollar with an exchange rate of 21.00 crowns to the dollar.

Weather

The next few days are expected to be partly cloudy to overcast with daytime temperatures between 3 and 7 degrees Celsius.