News

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Czech coach -accident

A Czech coach traveling through Austria plunged into a ravine Sunday morning killing four passengers and injuring 45, according to the APA news agency. Police said the coach driver told them a car had cut in front of him on a main road near the town of Schrems making him swerve. The coach then hit a tree before careening into a five-metre (16 foot) deep ravine and landing upside down. The injured passengers were hospitalised in the region.

According to police statistics ten Czechs were killed in car accidents over the weekend - the worst figure since the introduction of a new road legislation intended to curb the number of deaths on the road.

Government aims to sell a part of CEZ

The new Czech finance minister Vlastimil Tlusty said in a televised debate on Sunday that the government intends to sell a part of the Czech power giant CEZ. Mr. Tlusty said the plan was to sell 16 percent of the company's shares on the Prague stock market. This would still leave the state a majority owner. It currently has a 67 percent stake.

The finance minister also said that the state was short of 153 billion crowns to cover the cost of environmental damages, which could result in huge fines. He indicated that the former Social Democrat-led government had left the country with many hidden debts and said there was no way the deficit in public finances for next year could be kept below 100 billion crowns. The opposition Social Democrats have said they will not support a budget with a higher deficit.

Czech expats meet in Bratislava

Czech expats from around the world met in the Slovak capital Bratislava over the weekend to establish new contacts and exchange information about the work of expat associations in their home towns. Czechs living in Bratislava organized a cultural evening of poetry, song and dance. The weekend programme in Bratislava marks the start of a Week of Czech Expats held in Prague under the auspices of Czech President Vaclav Klaus.

The king of Cambodia to visit Czech Republic

King Norodom Sihamoni of Cambodia is expected to arrive in Prague on Monday for a week-long visit. The 52 year old monarch, who speaks fluent Czech, is expected to meet with the country's top politicians and cultural figures. King Sihamoni will also receive honorary citizenship of Prague where he lived for 13 years, studying ballet at the Prague conservatory.

Minister Riman fighting for Tatra Koprivnice

The new trade and industry minister, Martin Riman, says he wants the new Civic Democrat government to ensure that the planned purchase of over 500 transport trucks for the Czech military from Tatra Koprivnice go ahead as planned. Plans for the sale were allegedly shelved by the former government due to significant cuts in the military budget. Mr. Riman said that he considered it unacceptable for purchases involving foreign companies to receive full-scale funding while domestic-oriented ones, which were important for the country's industry, to be shelved. The Defense Ministry said the purchase had been merely postponed not cancelled but Trade Minister Riman said he would push to find a solution so that the military could confirm the order as soon as possible.

Police chiefs may have to leave their posts

The head of the special police squad for fighting organized crime Jan Kubice may be forced to leave his post by the end of the year because he will no longer fulfill the criteria required for the job. According to a new law which takes effect as of January 1st of 2007 all persons serving in top posts within the police force must have university degrees. Both Mr. Kubice and the head of the anti-corruption unit Miloslav Brych only have a secondary school education. The new interior minister, Ivan Langer, who has had no complaints about their work, said the new criteria would have to be met without exception.

Weather:

The next few days are expected to bring partly cloudy skies with scattered showers and day temperatures reaching 23 degrees Celsius.