News of Radio Prague

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Social Democrat Lubomir Zaoralek set to become new chairman of the lower house

Following a meeting of the Social Democratic party's leadership in Prague on Friday, party leader Vladimir Spidla has announced that Social Democrat Lubomir Zaoralek is likely to become new Chairman of the lower house of the Czech parliament. In the previous parliament, Mr. Zaoralek held the post of chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee. Mr. Spidla also informed journalists that early next week consultations on the composition of a new cabinet should be finished. It remains to be seen if the Social Democrats will agree to the candidates put forward by the centre-right Freedom Union and the Christian Democrats. The three parties have conducting coalition talks on forming a new cabinet and on Wednesday they signed a coalition agreement.

No names for the new cabinet revealed yet

Social Democrat leader Vladimir Spidla has said that the new cabinet will have 17 ministers, but an 18th ministerial post could be created for a minister for European matters. There will be yet another new ministry - the ministry of information technology. The two centre-right parties, the Christian Democrats and the Freedom Union should occupy six seats in the new cabinet, but no concrete names have yet been mentioned. President Vaclav Havel expects the new cabinet be appointed on July 15th, and Vladimir Spidla said he would do his best not to disappoint Mr. Havel's expectations.

Freedom Union in discussion over state budget deficit

The leadership of the Freedom Union has been discussing the pace of lowering the state budget deficit, that formed part of coalition talks with the Social Democrats on Wednesday. The slower pace put through by the Social Democrats led the Freedom Union leader, Hana Marvanova, to step down from her post on Thursday. However, Mrs. Marvanova said that although she did not agree with the new cabinet's financial policy, she would give it her full support because of its pro-European orientation.

Cyril and Methodius Day commemorated throughout the Czech Republic

The Czech Republic has been commemorating the saint's day of Cyril and Methodius, two Christian missionaries who came from the Greek city of Thessaloniki in the 9th century and brought the Christian faith to the country as well as the Cyrillic alphabet, still used by several Slavonic languages. St. Cyril and Methodius Day reminds people of the spiritual legacy of the Christian faith in Czech history, and the two Byzantine brothers are considered by Christian churches around the world as exemplary missionaries. Friday's holiday, remembered in many places around the Czech Republic, culminated in the Moravian pilgrimage town of Velehrad, where several masses for thousands of believers were served by Czech and Moravian bishops.

Czech-Chinese trade exchange could boost in the future

Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman held talks in Prague on Friday with the Chinese State Council member Wu I on trade exchange between the two countries. Government spokesman Libor Roucek said Mr. Zeman had proposed that the Czech Republic export more Skoda cars, Tatra trucks and L-159 trainer planes to China. While last year a thousand Skoda cars were exported to China, this year a contract for only 700 cars is to be signed. Mrs. Wu I said mutual trade could boost if Czech entrepreneurs showed more interest in introducing their products to the Chinese market.

Weather

And finally a quick look at the weather: this coming weekend will bring more rain to the Czech Republic, including thunder storms. Daytime highs will range from 20 to 27 degrees Celsius, while nighttime lows will be around 14 degrees Celsius.