News

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Newly-elected MPs hold first meeting in lower house

The Czech Republic's newly-elected MPs have held their first meeting in the Chamber of Deputies. Tuesday afternoon's program for the new MPs consisted mainly of nominating candidates for senior posts in the lower house. MPs also decided that Civic Democrat, Petr Tluchor, will head the Chamber of Deputies' election committee, which consists of 12 members and must be formed before Thursday's key vote on the chair and deputy chairs of the lower house.

Tuesday's meeting in the lower house was also important as the new MPs were handed confirmation of their electoral mandates. Most MPs arrived to pick-up their documents, though some were missing—among them Jiri Paroubek, David Rath, and Zdenek Skromach, all senior members of the Social Democratic Party.

Miroslava Nemcova stands as lone candidate to chair the lower house

Despite earlier assertions by the Social Democrats which claimed they would re-nominate Lubomir Zaoralek for chairman of the lower house, they failed to do so in Tuesday's sitting. Reports say this decision came after the Social Democrats failed to secure behind-the-scenes majority support for Mr. Zaoralek's nomination. The deputy chairwoman of the Civic Democratic Party, Miroslava Nemcova, is thus the only nominee for the lead post in the lower house. Her election to the post will depend on the vote of at least one Social Democratic or Communist MP. MPs are scheduled to cast their secret ballots on Thursday morning.

Life sentence upheld for Viktor Kalivoda

Prague's High Court upheld the life sentence of murderer Viktor Kalivoda on Tuesday. The man better known as "the killer in the woods" was sentenced to life behind bars in March, but appealed the original verdict. Mr. Kalivoda killed three people in mid-October 2005, and police arrested him shortly thereafter. The victims were picked randomly and the shooter confessed to his crimes during the first trial. During Tuesday's court proceedings, Mr. Kalivoda said that he had also planned to conduct a shooting spree in Prague's subway system.

Bomb threat stops trains

An anonymous bomb threat called in on Tuesday afternoon stopped train travel on one of the Czech Republic's busiest rail routes. Trains traveling between the Moravian capital of Brno and the city of Breclav were stopped and bomb experts called to the scene. The train route in question is the main throughway from the Czech Republic to neighboring Slovakia and Austria. Buses have temporarily replaced the regular railway connections.

Rolling Stones concert not to be rescheduled

The Rolling Stones will not appear in the Czech Republic this summer, after plans to reschedule a date in Brno were abandoned. The British rock band had been due to play in the Moravian capital in mid-June, but pulled out when guitarist Keith Richards underwent an operation. The Rolling Stones have appeared in Prague four times in the past decade and a half.

Goalkeeper Cech has surgery on both shoulders

The Czech international football goalkeeper Petr Cech has undergone operations on both shoulders. The 24-year-old Chelsea star had been having problems with his shoulders for some time. A representative said Tuesday's double-operation had been a success.

Summer storms cause damage in southern Moravia

As Czech meteorologists warned, powerful summer storms hit some parts of the Czech Republic on Tuesday. Strong winds have caused serious damage in the south Moravian region surrounding Zlin. Firefighters are dealing with uprooted trees and downed electrical lines. Trees have blocked roads and damaged parked vehicles. Heavy rain in the region has also flooded many cellars, said a spokesman from the local fire department. Storms are expected to strike again in several Moravian regions, bringing heavy rains, winds, and hail.

Subject to similar drastic weather conditions, the chateau of Pohanska near Breclav, has been damaged by a hailstorm. The daily Pravo writes that the chateau looks as though it was the victim of a military firing squad. There is extensive damage to chateau Pohanska's façade, and eight windows were broken as a result of the storm.

Weather:

The forecast into mid-week calls for partly cloudy skies, interrupted by stormy weather. Daytime temperatures will reach highs of 26 degrees Celsius.