News

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

President Vaclav Klaus has said he expects Civic Democrat chairman Mirek Topolanek to report to him on the state of the coalition talks by the first week of August. President Klaus said that after a round of separate meetings with the heads of all parties in parliament following a national election last month which produced a stalemate on the Czech political scene. 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.

Paroubek for joint talks with Klaus, Topolanek; Topolanek refuses

Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek proposed to President Vaclav Klaus on Friday that he arrange a joint meeting along with the leader of the Civic Democrats Mirek Topolanek to try and solve the post-election stalemate. Speaking after meeting Mr Klaus on Friday morning, Mr Paroubek reiterated the view of his Social Democrats that a caretaker government was the way out of the stalemate. However, Mirek Topolanek who met President Klaus on Friday afternoon rejected the idea of a joint meeting with Jiri Paroubek and President Klaus.

Next round of lower house chairman election to be held on July 21

The next round of the election of the leadership of the lower house will take place next Friday, on July 21, the lower house election commission announced on Friday. The chamber's constituent session was suspended after 30 minutes on Friday morning - the vote could not be held as no candidate for a lower house chairperson had been fielded. The deadline for the nomination of candidates for chairperson will be July 19.

Conservatives' Cameron creates new European alliance

The leader of the British Conservative Party David Cameron has announced a new grouping in the European Parliament made up of his party and the Czech Civic Democrats. At the request of its new partner, however, Mr Cameron said the new alliance would not be created until 2009. The new alliance will mean the Conservatives will withdraw from the European People's Party, the main centre-right group in the European Parliament.

Rath sues Macek over slap

Health Minister David Rath has filed a lawsuit against the former deputy chairman of the Civic Democratic Party Miroslav Macek over the slap he had dealt him during the May national conference of dentists, a spokesman for the Prague City Court said on Friday. Besides a one-million crown compensation, Mr Rath is demanding an apology to be published by the national news agency, and broadcast by the public Czech Television and the commercial TV station Nova. Mr Macek says he stands by his act, adding the slap was in retaliation for Mr Rath's having insulted his wife.

Mittal Steel seeks 1,000 job cuts at Czech plants

The biggest Czech steel producer, Mittal Steel Ostrava, and a subsidiary seek to cut around 1,000 posts from their combined workforce of 9,280, the group said Friday. An incentives package that encourages workers to quit the parent company and its Vysoke Pece Ostrava subsidiary is part of an ongoing restructuring aimed at increasing productivity at Mittal Steel's Czech operations, it added. The company's personnel manager Jiri Gwozdz said the company has still not achieved the productivity of Western European companies or even the European average. Mittal Steel Ostrava is 70.67 percent owned by Netherlands-based Mittal Steel, the biggest steel producer worldwide, while the remainder is held by the Czech government.

Weather

The weekend should see clear skies and a slight drop in temperatures. We can expect daytime highs of 23 to 27 degrees Celsius.