News

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Nedelni Svet: Outgoing PM rejects possibility of early elections

Outgoing Social Democrat Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek has ruled out early elections as a way out of the political stalemate that followed results of the general election last month. Mr Paroubek made the statement in an interview for the Czech Sunday paper "Nedelni Svet", stressing that - in his view - all five parliamentary parties, including the Communists, should have a say in negotiating the next government's programme. In Mr Paroubek's view, concessions need to be made on all sides. The Civic Democratic Party which won last month's election and agreed on a centre-right coalition with the Christian Democrats and the Greens, has been trying to negotiate a deal with the opposition to support the coalition in a confidence vote - but so far without success. The proposed coalition is one mandate short of the needed majority.

Rivals, the Social Democrats, have instead renewed calls for a caretaker government.

First members of 9th KFOR contingent depart for Kosovo

Almost 90 of some 450 Czech soldiers serving in the NATO-led international force KFOR have departed for a six-month mission in Kosovo. They are to be joined by the rest of their colleagues by the end of the month. The latest soldiers are part of the 9th contingent and will be responsible for continuing to maintain peace and order, as well as conducting searches for illegal weapons, munitions, and drugs. The Czech Army has taken part in peace-keeping in Kosovo since 1999. Yearly Czech military operations abroad - including hot spots in Iraq and Afghanistan - cost some 1.5 billion crowns, (the equivalent of around 68 million US dollars).

US film "Sherrybaby" gets Crystal Globe

A film by US director Laurie Collyer has won the the Crystal Globe, the main prize at the 41st Karlovy Vary international film festival. Titled "Sherrybaby", it is sadi to tell the story of a former drug addict who attempts to establish contact with her daughter following time in jail. The Best Actress Award went to Maggie Gyllenhall for the same film; the actress is known to Czech audiences for performances in films like "Secretary" and "Adaptation".

Also, in Karlovy Vary two films - "Beauty in Trouble", by Czech director Jan Hrebejk, and the Bulgarian film "Christmas Tree Upside Down" by filmmakers Ivan Cherkelov and Vassil Zhivkor - received the Special Jury prize.

Skromach site hacked

A computer hacker reportedly hacked a website belonging to Social Democrat deputy leader Zdenek Skromach on Sunday. The site has since been restored to integrity. Notable cases of hacking in the Czech Republic in the past included the 2002 hacking of the Communist Party's website, where the perpetrator inserted a portrait of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin on the Internet pages. In 2001, the Senate and Agriculture Ministry sites were also hit.

Canoeist Martin Doktor earns silver at European Championships

Racer Martin Doktor has earned silver in the 200 metre speed canoeing race at the European Championships in Racice, in the Litomerice region. Doktor - who last won a silver in 1999 in Zagreb, Croatia - now has a total of 12 European championship medals. In the race for the gold Doktor was edged by Russian favourite Maxim Opalev. Lithuanian racer Jevgenij Suklin came 3rd.

Weather

Sunny weather is expected to continue well into the new week, with temperatures hitting highs between 31 and 34 degrees Celsius on Monday and Tuesday.