News

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Topolanek, Paroubek hold first TV debate since inconclusive elections

The leaders of the two biggest Czech parties have held their first television debate since inconclusive elections two months ago. During Sunday's debate Mirek Topolanek of the Civic Democrats (who came first in June's elections) called on Jiri Paroubek of the Social Democrats (who came second) to step down as prime minister. Mr Paroubek refused, saying President Vaclav Klaus had already rejected one offer of resignation.

The Social Democrats chief said Mr Topolanek was anxious because the period the president had given him to try to form a government was almost up. He said only negotiations between himself, the president and Mr Topolanek could resolve the crisis.

The Civic Democrats chairman has tried to form an alliance with the Christian Democrats and the Greens, but this coalition is one vote short of a majority in the Chamber of Deputies.

Czech soldier dies in Kosovo

A Czech soldier has been found dead in Kosovo, where he was serving with the international KFOR mission. The body of the 34-year-old military policeman was discovered by a colleague at the Sajkovac military base on Sunday morning. The Czech Army immediately launched an investigation into the cause of his death.

Bublan praises organisation of CzechTek

Interior Minister Frantisek Bublan has praised the organisation of the CzechTek free techno music festival, which this year is being held on land rented from the Czech Army in north Bohemia. It is being attended by around 40,000 people from the Czech Republic and elsewhere in Europe.

Last year Mr Bublan ordered around 1,000 riot police to break up the festival, following complaints from landowners. Critics described the intervention as heavy-handed though the minister said he had no choice but to uphold the law.

Former members of agricultural co-ops still waiting for money

Around 20,000 former members of agricultural co-operatives are still waiting to be paid for their shares, Czech Television reported on Saturday. They had been due to receive the money seven years ago and have called on the government to resolve the matter. Twenty are taking the issue to the European Court of Human Rights. There were around 1,200 agricultural co-operatives in the Czech Republic.

Vaidisova beaten in semi-finals in California

The Czech women's tennis number one Nicole Vaidisova has been beaten in the semi-finals of the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, California. The 17-year-old lost 5-7 2-6 to top seed Kim Clijsters of Belgium.

New domestic football season begins

The Czech football league resumed after the summer break on Saturday. In the most closely-watched game of the new season's opening day perennial favourites Sparta Prague drew 0:0 at home with newly promoted Kladno.

Weather

It should be quite sunny with the chance of rain over the next few days. Temperatures are expected to reach up to 30 degrees Celsius.