News

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President and PM to discuss situation after failed confidence vote

President Vaclav Klaus is going to meet Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek on Friday to discuss the current political situation after Mr Topolanek's minority cabinet did not receive confirmation from the lower house of parliament on Tuesday. Prime Minister and Civic Democrat chief Mirek Topolanek says he believes he will be re-appointed by the president. Former Prime Minister and chairman of the Social Democrats Jiri Paroubek says he believes the chance should now be his as he claims to have secured majority support in parliament.

Communists want Social Democrat government

The Communist Party has said it should now be the Social Democrats' turn to try and put together a new cabinet after the minority Civic Democrat government of Mirek Topolanek failed to get confidence from the lower house this week. Under the Czech constitution President Vaclav Klaus is obliged to appoint a new prime minister after the current government resigns but he said through a spokesman that he will not do that until after the local and Senate elections due in a few weeks' time are over. The Social Democrats came second in the June general election, trailing after the right-of-centre Civic Democats.

Christian Democrat MPs to vow in writing they would not back any Communist-supported government

The leadership of the Christian Democrats has called on all the party's deputies to sign a pledge that they will not back any government dependent on the support of the Communist Party. The party's acting head Jan Kasal says he does not expect any of the 13 MPs to refuse to sign it, not even former Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda, who recently indicated he would like the party to discuss and possibly reassess its resolution preventing the party's participation in any government that would depend on the Communists.

Prison authority to examine condition of sentenced businessman

One of the country's most influential and controversial businessmen did not report to Prague's Pankrac prison on Thursday to serve a five-year sentence, citing serious health reasons. His medical report will now be examined by the prison authority. The 35-year old Tomas Pitr, considered to be one the wealthiest Czech businessmen, was found guilty of large-scale tax fraud earlier this year.

Czech police detain alleged Spanish contract killer

Czech police say they have detained a 45-year-old Spanish man suspected of double murder in his home country. A spokeswoman for the counter-organised crime unit said that last June, the man, allegedly a contract killer, shot dead a man and a woman in Spain. The suspect has been remanded in custody and a court will decide on his extradition to Spain. The Czech police arrested the man in cooperation with their Spanish colleagues outside a block of flats in the town of Caslav in Central Bohemia where he was in hiding. Spain issued a European arrest warrant for him last month.

PM calls on Senate to help speed up process of calling early elections

Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek has called on the Senate to approve possible proposals by the lower house which would speed up the process of calling an early election. Himself a former Senator, Mr Topolanek called on his former colleagues on Thursday to facilitate a solution to the current political situation which would lead to early elections. The prime minister approached the upper house two days after his minority right-of-centre government failed to get confirmation from the lower house.

Mathematician Jaroslav Kurzweil to be awarded "Czech Brain" prize

The government has decided that the world-renowned Czech mathematician Jaroslav Kurzweil will be awarded the Czech Brain award for outstanding contribution to Czech science. Professor Kurzweil is a specialist in ordinary differential equations and defined the Perron integral, also known as the Henstock-Kurzweil integral.

Vaclav Havel turns 70

Former Czech and Czechoslovak President, Vaclav Havel, is celebrating his 70th birthday on Thursday. Some one thousand people attended a private birthday party in Prague on Wednesday, including former Polish president Alexander Kwasniewski, playwright Tom Stoppard, Czech singer Karel Gott, and Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek. A former anti-communist dissident and playwright, Vaclav Havel was the country's first president after the fall of the communist regime and held the post until 2003.

Miss World arrives home

The new Miss World 2006 Tatana Kucharova has arrived in Prague for the first time since she won the title last weekend in Warsaw. She has spent two days in London which is to become her home for the coming year. The 18-year-old blonde is the first ever Czech to win the title. She will only spend a few days in the Czech Republic and says that most of all she is looking forward to seeing her family again.

Weather

Friday and the coming weekend are expected to be cloudy with scattered showers and daytime temperatures hovering around 15 degrees Celsius.