Jiri Paroubek attends European Socialists meeting

Outgoing Czech prime minister and Social Democratic Party chairman Jiri Paroubek is attending a summit of European Socialists in Brussels. Mr. Paroubek told reporters that he will complain to his European socialist party colleagues about what he feels was a lack of support from them in the last days of the Czech election campaign. Mr. Paroubek says that an "anticommunist hysteria" gripped the Czech Republic just prior to the elections, and that European socialists could have done more to help the Social Democrats in the tight election race.

Among those also at the European Socialist Party (ESP) meeting are Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates, the new chairman of the German Social Democrats, Kurt Beck, and European Parliament President Josep Borrell. The gathering is taking place on the eve of a European Union summit, and European Socialists are discussing EU enlargement, as well as the planned admission of Romania and Bulgaria.

President Vaclav Klaus will be representing the Czech Republic in Brussels at the EU summit. Before the elections, it was decided that if the Social Democrats lost, President Klaus would attend the summit.

Czech Republic establishes diplomatic ties with Montenegro

The Czech Republic has established diplomatic ties with the newest state in southeastern Europe. Montenegro declared its independence from Serbia after a national referendum in late May, and became the 45th state in Europe. The Czech Republic acknowledged the independence of Montenegro earlier this week, and diplomatic ties were made formal on Thursday.

BBC World Service FM broadcast under threat

The Czech broadcasting council has ruled that the BBC World Service has broken license regulations by sharing its local frequency with a Czech Radio station. The Council says the BBC acquired the license for the FM frequency on the basis that its broadcasts would contain programmes from its own Czech service. The BBC Czech Service, however, was discontinued earlier this year. The BBC - on the airwaves in this country for over 15 years - will now broadcast in English only and faces the threat of losing its license.

Former Czechoslovak Interior Minister Jan Langos killed in automobile accident

Jan Langos, a former anti-communist dissident who served as Czechoslovak Interior Minister after the fall of communism in 1989 has died in a car accident in eastern Slovakia. Mr. Langos, a Slovak who maintained close ties with the Czech Republic after Czechoslovakia split in January 1993, was instrumental in establishing the Slovak Institute of National Memory in Bratislava - he served as its director since 2003. Mr. Langos was also a key source of support for Czech politicians lobbying for a similar institute in the Czech Republic. Jan Langos was 59.

Operation Nightfall arrests seven foreigners

Czech customs officers have arrested a total of seven foreigners operating in the drug trade near the Czech - German border. Operation Nightfall involved customs officers from the west Bohemian border crossings of Rozvadov, Cheb, Sokolov, Teplice, as well as Prague, and the undercover investigation lasted for over a year. The foreigners—six Vietnamese nationals and one Albanian—have been charged with illegal drug manufacturing as well as possession with intent to sell. Nearly two kilograms of the methamphetamine pervitine was uncovered during the police raids, and the accused are suspected of selling about 10 000 grams of pervitine for use on the German drug market. If convicted, they face up to 15 years in jail.

Meanwhile, police in the west Bohemian city of Plzen have arrested a 49 year-old German male for drug trafficking in the downtown core. The man is accused of figuring as a core heroin dealer in Plzen since 2001.

Prague residents keen to recycle

Residents of the Czech capital are becoming avid recyclers. According to the latest statistics, nearly 37 000 tons of glass, plastic, and paper was recycled in Prague last year—that is about 3000 tons more than in the previous year. In 1998 City Hall began introducing communal recycling bins, making it easier for residents to participate in the city-wide effort. Today the bins are located in about 3000 places throughout Prague, and schools and businesses run their own paper recycling programs.

Heat wave claims first fatality

Several days of high temperatures in the Czech Republic have claimed the summer's first victim. A 72 year-old man in the town of Radous, near the central Bohemian city of Beroun, died Thursday of a heart attack likely caused by heat exhaustion. The victim was nailing tiles on the roof of his house when he lost consciousness—ambulance attendants could not revive him and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Doctors are warning the elderly and people with respiratory problems to stay indoors, and reminding people that they should drink at least 2.5 liters of water per day.

The current warm and sunny weather is expected to continue throughout the end of the week and into the weekend. Daytime highs will reach 32 degrees Celsius.