News of Radio Prague

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President Havel appoints new cabinet

President Vaclav Havel appointed a new centre left coalition government on Monday, one month to the day after the general elections. The new Cabinet, which is expected to lead the country into the European Union, is headed by Social Democrat Vladimir Spidla. The government is dominated by the Social Democratic Party which has 11 ministerial posts, the remaining 6 have been divided between the centrist Christian Democrats and the liberal Freedom Union. With an average age of 42, the cabinet is the youngest ever in the country's history. The new government commands a one-vote majority, with 101 votes of the 200 seats in the lower house.

City councillors elect new mayor

Prague city councillors elected Igor Nemec of the Civic Democrats as the new mayor of Prague on Monday. Mr Nemec was the only candidate. The post was vacant for more than a month since the former mayor and ex-Civic Democrat, Jan Kasl, resigned in May shortly before the general elections, saying he no longer wished to share the responsibility of running the capital. Mr Kasl then accused the city council of being riddled with corruption.

Civic Democrats to form a shadow cabinet by end of September

The leadership of the opposition Civic Democratic Party met on Monday to discuss the causes of their election defeat in June. At the meeting, the Civic Democrats agreed to form a new shadow cabinet by the end of September. The previous shadow cabinet, much criticised by the party's chief Vaclav Klaus, was dissolved on Monday. The Civic Democrats' leadership also endorsed a study the party had commissioned analysing its poor election results. A new party convention where the leadership is expected to offer its resignation will take place in December this year. Only one high-ranking member of the Civic Democrats resigned in the wake of the party's poor showing in the elections.

Austrian MEP welcomes Spidla's statement about Sudeten Germans

The MEP for Austria's far-right Freedom Party, Daniela Raschhofer, has warmly welcomed a new statement regarding Sudeten Germans, made by the Czech Prime Minister, Vladimir Spidla. Mr Spidla said recently that if any crimes against humanity were committed against the Sudeten Germans in Czechoslovakia after WW2, they should be investigated. The Austrian politician said she considered the statement a great opportunity to finally start a dialogue with Prague in order to find a constructive solution.

Young woman injured in police chase

A young woman was injured on Monday when police opened fire on the speeding car in which she was travelling as a passenger. The incident occurred in the early hours on Monday morning, close to the north Bohemian town of Most. Police had stopped the car for breaching traffic regulations, but the car's male driver attempted to flee the scene, knocking down one of the officers in the process. The driver was later arrested and charged with assaulting a police officer.

Weather

Monday night is expected to be cloudy and rainy. Night time temperatures should drop to 15 degrees Celsius. Tuesday should be overcast and rainy too, with daytime temperatures ranging from 21 to 25 degrees Celsius. Weathermen warn about possible thunderstorms and hailstorms in the next two days. Gale-force winds and possible torrential rain are forecast in most parts of the country.