News

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Lower house again fails to elect chairman

The lower house of the Czech Parliament has again failed to elect its chairman. The only candidate, Christian Democrat MP Jan Kasal running for the emerging centre-right coalition, did not receive enough support in the chamber on Friday morning. He received 100 votes in the 200-member lower house which is evenly split between the leftist and the centre-right parties after the June national election.

The lower house will meet again next Friday. New candidates for the post of chairman are to be nominated by Wednesday. Before the lower house elects a chairman, the government of Prime Minister Paroubek cannot resign.

Topolanek to report to President Klaus on state of coalition talks

The chairman of the Civic Democrats, Mirek Topolanek, who was authorised in June by President Vaclav Klaus to lead the post-election coalition talks, has said that early elections may be the way out of the political deadlock in the country. Mr Topolanek said after Friday's failed election of the lower house chairman that he was going to report to President Klaus on the state of the coalition talks on Wednesday. The would-be coalition of the Civic Democrats, the Christian Democrats and the Green Party has not been able to negotiate tolerance in the lower house with the second largest party, the Social Democrats.

Three remanded in custody in state bail-out agency case

All three people charged with corruption in the case the Czech Consolidation Agency have been remanded in custody, a Prague court announced on Friday. The agency's executive board member Radka Kafkova was arrested on Tuesday night after she made a money exchange. She has been charged with large-scale corruption, along with a former employee of the agency, Josef Tykva and businessman Pavel Hrach. Police have seized 420 million Czech crowns from their bank accounts. One of the Consolidation Agency's main tasks is to bail state-owned companies out of problematic loans.

Jehovah's Witnesses meet in Prague

Over 18,000 people from 18 countries of the world have arrived in Prague for a three-day open-air meeting of Jehovah's Witnesses. The meeting started on Friday afternoon at the Rosicky Stadium in Prague and will include a baptism ceremony on Saturday. A spokesman said there are around 15,000 followers in the Czech Republic. The religious association was registered in the Czech Republic in 1993.

Family of dead teenage chess star pays tribute to 'exceptional' player

The family of a promising British chess player who plunged to her death from a hotel window in the Czech Republic paid tribute on Friday to the "exceptionally talented" teenager. Nineteen-year old Jessie Gilbert fell on Wednesday from the eighth floor of her hotel in the central city of Pardubice, where she had been competing in a chess tournament. Her family said fellow British players participating in the Czech Open tournament abandoned matches as a mark of respect. Police were continuing Friday to investigate Gilbert's death amid newspaper reports that the teenager from Surrey, southeast England, had been taking medication for depression.

Weather

The hot weather should continue into the weekend but rain and cloudy skies have been forecast for both Saturday and Sunday. Daytime highs should hover around 30 degrees Celsius.