News

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Topolanek to present Social Democrat head with cabinet list on Monday

Newly-named Prime Minister designate Mirek Topolanek has said he will provide rival politician and head of the Social Democrats Jiri Paroubek with a list of candidates for his new cabinet on Monday. Mr Topolanek said as much in a recent live broadcast for one of the commercial Czech radio stations Frekvence 1. Although he mentioned no names, it is known that his party, the Civic Democrats, would like the new minority government to include figures like Alexander Vondra - a former ambassador to the US, and Petr Gandalovic, the mayor of Usti nad Labem, north Bohemia. Rival Social Democrats have already stated they will be willing to tolerate the minority government under certain conditions. But, some proposed candidates could supposedly prove to be sticking points, among them Vlasitmil Tlusty to head the Finance Ministry, or Ivan Langer to head the Interior Ministry. Negotiations on the new cabinet will continue next week.

Former police officer charged in Social Democrat bribe case

A former police officer has been charged for trying to allegedly bribe newly-elected Social Democrat MP Pavel Ploc shortly after June's national election. According to reports, the accused - 42-year-old Pavel Srytr, a former schoolmate of Mr Ploc's - approached the newly-elected MP, asking him to switch parties for five million crowns (the equivalent of around 230,000 US dollars). A switch from the Social Democrats to the Greens that was allegedly suggested, would have given the centre-right a slim majority in the currently deadlocked parliament. Mr Srytr - a former police officer who later worked as a driver and bodyguard for murdered businessman and suspected underworld figure Frantisek Mrazek - has not denied meeting with Mr Ploc, but he has denied the bribery charge.

Bohnice escapees caught

Following help from the public, police have caught two men who escaped from the Bohnice Psychiatric Hospital earlier this week. Twenty-five-year old Jan Burian, guilty of murdering and sexually accosting an elderly lady in 1998 ,and seventeen-year-old David Simacek, guilty of a number of attempted rapes, escaped from the hospital on Tuesday by climbing over a fence. Their escape was witnessed by a hospital employee, who was unable to intervene. After their disappearance, police asked the public to be vigilant. The patients were spotted in Nove Butovice, a district of Prague, early on Thursday morning and arrested.

Number of HIV cases in Czech Republic on rise

The number of people infected with the HIV virus in the Czech Republic has risen in the last three years and doctors registered sixty-four new cases alone since January. The news was revealed by Marie Bruckova from the State Health Institute on Thursday. According to Mrs Bruckova the rise has confirmed a trend which began in 2004 and is expected to continue. In a press conference on Thursday Bruckova cited a number of reasons why HIV prevention has lessoned: according to the specialist the lowering of state funds has had an impact. Doctors have registered almost nine hundred HIV positive individuals in the Czech Republic and the former Czechoslovakia since 1986. 202 cases later developed into full-blown AIDS.

Last year, 90 new cases of HIV positive were registered. Four-fifths of those infected are men. Unprotected sex and the sharing of dirty needles in drug abuse are the two most common factors towards catching the deadly virus.

Three Czechs arrested in Brazil for alleged drug trafficking

The Foreign Ministry has revealed to the CTK news agency that three Czech nationals have been remanded in Brazil for alleged drug trafficking. They were arrested in July; if found guilty they could face stiff prison sentences. The Foreign Ministry has stressed that more and more individuals from the former communist bloc are being recruited by the narcotics mafia for smuggling drugs to Europe. The ministry has urged travellers by no means to accept responsibility for any strangers' luggage or packages.

Czech expert named 2006 best amateur astronomer at IAU assembly

Czech amateur astronomer Kamil Hornoch - who has discovered forty-one "new" stars in the Great Andromeda Galaxy - has been named amateur astronomer of the year at the IAU (International Astronomical Union) meeting in Prague. Mr Hornoch is the first astronomer from Central and Eastern Europe to have received the prize since it was first introduced in 1979. The thirty-three year old uses a CCD camera on his backyard telescope in Lelekovice near Brno, south Moravia, to search for undiscovered stars. Upon receiving the prize he said the universe was "his love" and that receiving the prize was a "great honour".

Czechs lose as Nedved bows out

The Czech Republic's football team were beaten 3:1 at home by Serbia on Wednesday night. The friendly was the Czechs' first game since the World Cup. It was also the last international game for the greatest Czech player of his generation, Pavel Nedved. Nedved received a standing ovation when he left the field.

Weather

The next several days will see daytime temperatures rise to 27 degrees Celsius, with partly cloudy skies.