News

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Lower house to decide on term of chairman election

The lower house of the Czech Parliament should decide on Friday on when the next attempt at electing its speaker will take place. No one has been nominated as yet and the situation from the third and fourth vote, when the deputies met, but the vote did not take place, will repeat on Friday. The leaders of the two largest parties in parliament, Civic Democrat Mirek Topolanek and Social Democrat Jiri Paroubek have said they want to continue negotiating until next week and proceed with the lower house chairman election afterwards. Parliament sources have told the CTK news agency that the lower house meeting could resume on August 11 or 14.

It has been two months since national elections in June resulted in a political stalemate, and efforts at a three-party coalition of the Civic Democrats, the Christian Democrats, and the Greens leave these parties one seat short of a governing majority. In recent days, the second largest party, the Social Democrats, have indicated strong opposition to the three-party coalition, thus rendering its possible government highly unlikely.

Czech Television to give more space to small parties

The public service Czech Television has said it will launch a new programme as of September on its news channel CT24 which will give more space to smaller political parties not represented in parliament. The weekly programme called Spektrum will be first broadcast on Saturday, September 9. A spokesman said the programme will reflect the whole political spectrum, hence its name. Czech Television was criticised at the time of the June national elections for providing too little air time to smaller political subjects, which the parties found discriminatory.

Sheep farming on the rise

The numbers of sheep and goats have increased in the Czech Republic after a marked drop in the 1990s. According to the Czech sheep and goat farmers association, the numbers have increased by 80 percent in the last six years, mainly thanks to subsidies. The association's chairman Vit Mares says, however, that the flocks are small, 50 head on average, whereas in other European countries some farms keep from 1000 to 5000 animals. Also, consumption of lamb and mutton is extremely low in the Czech Republic. Mr Mares says it is caused by the low and irregular supply throughout the year.

Mlada Boleslav in with chance of reaching football's Champions League

Mlada Boleslav have reached the final qualifying round for football's Champions League. A 2:2 draw with Valerenga Oslo on Wednesday gave them a 5:3 win on aggregate and set up a tie with Turkey's Galatasaray. Slovan Liberec, meanwhile, automatically reached the final qualifying round when they won the Czech league last season. Liberec must beat Spartak Moscow to qualify for the Champions' League with the first leg match being played at Liberec's stadium on August 9.

Czech champions sign Costa Rican striker

Staying with Slovan Liberec, the club have confirmed the signing of Costa Rican striker Winston Parks on a two-year contract. The 24-year-old international, formerly with Locomotiv Moscow, said the Liberec signing represented "an opportunity for a new start" and was looking forward to the chance to play again in the Champions' League. Parks made his debut for the full Costa Rican squad in 2001 and played in the qualifying games for this year's World Cup in Germany. He has played in Europe since 2003 when he was signed by Italy's Udinese.

Weather

Meteorologists warn of strong wind and heavy rain from Thursday afternoon through to Friday. Local floods might occur in South Bohemia, South Moravia, and in the Pardubice and Vysocina regions. Daytime temperatures should remain in the low twenties.