Social Democrats to take tougher stance in talks with emerging coalition

The outgoing Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek has said his Social Democrats will take a tougher stance in the negotiations with the emerging centre-right coalition of the Civic Democrats, the Christian Democrats and the Greens. He labelled the three-party coalition as an unviable project and again called for the establishment of a caretaker government as a way out of the post-election deadlock.

On Friday, the leader of the Civic Democrats Mirek Topolanek rejected Mr Paroubek's proposal to meet along with President Vaclav Klaus in order to try and find a solution to the stalemate.

Klaus expects progress report from Topolanek by 1st week in August

President Vaclav Klaus said on Friday he expected Civic Democrat chairman Mirek Topolanek to report to him on the state of the coalition talks by the first week of August. On Thursday and Friday President Klaus held separate meetings with the heads of all parties in parliament. Last month President Klaus authorised Mr Topolanek, whose party received the largest share of the votes, to launch talks on a new governing coalition. However, the negotiations have produced no concrete result as both the right and the left have 100 deputies in the 200-member lower house after the June parliamentary elections.

New Slovak PM meets Klaus, Paroubek in Prague

The new Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico has arrived in the Czech Republic for his first official foreign visit since becoming prime minister. Mr Fico met Czech President Vaclav Klaus at Prague Castle and also his Czech counterpart Jiri Paroubek. Among the topics discussed were Czech-Slovak relations and also cooperation in approaching the traditional foreign markets of the former Czechoslovakia which split up in 1993.

First Czechs leave Lebanon

The Czech Foreign Ministry has said that a first group of Czech citizens has decided to leave Lebanon amid escalating attacks between Lebanon's Hezbollah movement and Israeli forces. A spokesman said the twelve people should arrive in Prague on Sunday. On Friday, the Czech Foreign Ministry recommended to Czech citizens in Lebanon to leave the country and asked them to contact the Czech Embassy in Beirut. About 200 Czechs were staying in Lebanon in the past days. Around 150 of them were permanent residents of Lebanon, the rest were tourists. People from both groups have used the offer to leave, the spokesman said.

Czech Republic criticises conviction of Belarusian opposition leader

The Czech Foreign Ministry has joined the EU's criticism of the court verdict that sent Belarusian opposition leader Alyaksandr Kozulin, a presidential candidate in this year's election, to prison, the Ministry said in a statement on Friday. Mr Kozulin was sentenced to 5.5 years in prison on Thursday for organising protest rallies against the re-election of Alexander Lukashenko as Belarusian president. The Czech Foreign Ministry said the decision could be viewed as another step in a series of politically motivated repressions against the opponents of the current Belarusian regime.

Czech authorities hand over convicted Mafia member to Italian counterparts

Czech authorities have handed over a top ranking Sicilian Mafia member to their Italian counterparts, a Czech police spokesman said on Friday. Forty-four-year old Luigi Putrone was given a life sentence in Italy by a Palermo appeals court in 2003 and according to Italian police was implicated in about 10 murders. Czech police swooped on Mr Putrone, one of 30 most wanted criminals in Italy, in the northern town of Usti nad Labem in August last year. He had been living in the Czech Republic for five years without people being aware of his past. The Italian authorities demanded Mr Putrone's extradition a month later with the Czech ministry of justice approving the application last month.


The rest of the weekend should be sunny with daytime highs between 22 and 27 degrees Celsius.