News

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Czech MP admits to drinking and driving

The Civic Democrat MP David Seich has admitted to drinking and driving. The member of Parliament was stopped late at night by police this week after driving the wrong way on a one-way street. A breathalyser revealed a high alcohol level, but the MP refused a blood test and has said he had only one drink.. The MP apologised to the media and the public, saying he was giving up Parliamentary immunity in favour of a police investigation. He called his actions "a mistake" and said he would accept the consequences.

Polls suggest dissatisfaction over post-election developments at record high

A new poll released by the STEM agency has suggested that a majority of Czechs are dissatisfied with the continuing political deadlock. According to the poll, only sixteen percent of respondents said they were happy with performance by the government as well as Parliament. Another poll, conducted by CVVM, showed the number even lower: at just eight percent.

The highest satisfaction with the government in recent years came in 2002 - shortly after the country was hit by catastrophic floods; the lowest was then during the leadership of former Prime Minister Stanislav Gross, who faced allegations of irregularities in his personal finances.

Prague city council will not be bound by coalition agreement

Prague Civic Democrats have agreed with the Green Party that the new city council will not be bound by an official coalition agreement. After consulting with the Greens, the right-of-centre party will now draw up conditions for cooperation on the municipal level. It is proposed that the new city council - which is made up of 11 councillors including the mayor - will include nine Civic Democrats, one Green Party member, and one member of the centre-right European Democrats. Voting on the council will take place at the end of November. The new council will the see the end of an eight-year coalition with the Social Democrats at the municipal level, after the Civic Democrats won an outright majority in Prague in the recent local elections.

Police complete investigation of bribery affair in Unipetrol sale

Czech police have completed the investigation of alleged corruption concerning the privatisation of oil and chemicals concern Unipetrol, in which a former head of the prime minister's office, Zdenek Dolezal, was accused of trying to bribe a Polish lobbyist. The amount: five million crowns. The incident was recorded by hidden camera and broadcast by commercial broadcaster TV Nova, triggering the scandal. Police have not yet decided whether to recommend Mr Dolezal be prosecuted. If he is - and is found guilty - he could face up to 12 years in prison.

Czech airline drops interest in new long-haul aircraft

The Czech airline CSA has said it has given up plans to buy new long-haul aircraft and might even sell its current four Airbus 310 planes. Earlier, the carrier had sounded out both Boeing of the United States and Europe's Airbus about the purchase of new aircraft. But, a spokeswoman said on Friday intentions had changed. CSA,

majority-owned by the state, will decide whether to sell its existing four Airbus aircraft by next summer. The planes are currently used on scheduled routes to New York, Toronto, Montreal and Dubai, as well as on charter flights. Their sale will not necessarily mean that CSA will abandon its long haul routes. The carrier can decide to lease long haul planes instead.

This year the airline expects to post a full-year loss of around 500 million crowns (the equivalent of around 23 million dollars). It is hoping to return to profit in 2008 following major restructuring.

Former director of Prague Zoo dies

Zoologist and former director of the Prague Zoo Zdenek Veselovsky has died at the age of 78. The former director was often credited with helping transform the Prague Zoo into an important European institution. He headed the facility from 1959 to 1988 and also authored dozens of books popularising nature and the natural sciences.

Police arrest Ostrava heroin supplier

Police have reportedly arrested a man being described as the main heroin supplier for the city of Ostrava in eastern Moravia. The suspect is believed to have trafficked heroin to the area for the last two years. The suspect was arrested with 130 grams of the drug on his person. The amount is worth around 500,000 crowns - the equivalent of more than 23,000 US dollars. Police monitored the suspect over the period of several months. Recent statistics suggest there are some 18,000 - 20,000 drug users in Ostrava, the hardest drugs including heroin and a local methamphetamine known as pervetin.

Weather

Mostly cloudy weather is expected into the weekend: daytime temperatures are expected to reach highs of 11 degrees Celsius.