President Vaclav Klaus is expecting to be de-briefed by Interior Minister Frantisek Bublan on progress on the so-called Kubice case at Prague Castle on Wednesday. Jan Kubice, who heads the country's elite organized crime squad, said in a report to the lower house just days before the June general elections that high placed government officials had tried to thwart criminal investigations on a number of cases in order to protect party colleagues. He indicated that organized crime had penetrated state administration. The president has called for a speedy and unbiased investigation into the claims. The outgoing Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek insists that the allegations were part of a smear campaign against his party on the eve of the elections.
Czech striker Jan Koller has strained his hamstring and may not be fit until the quarter-final stage of the World Cup, the team's doctor said on Tuesday. "It could anything between 10 days and six weeks," doctor Jiri Foucek told reporters. Koller was carried off on a stretcher just before halftime in Monday's game against the United States, which the Czech Republic won 3:0, thanks in part to an early goal from Koller. There have been conflicting reports over the severity of the injury, with a number of media sites on Tuesday reporting that Koller would be ready to practice as early as this Friday.
The Civic Democrats, the Christian Democrats, and the Green Party are holding another round of talks on forming a centre-right coalition government on Tuesday evening. The parties' representatives say that they have reached agreement on tax reform and are now seeking to find common ground on the mainstays of health and pension reform. Despite progress in negotiations, the future of a centre-right coalition is shaky since the three parties do not have a majority in the lower house. The Social Democrats have so far refused to support a centre-right coalition although talks continue behind closed doors.
An opinion survey conducted by the Factum Invenio agency has indicated that the leader of the centre-right Civic Democrats Mirek Topolanek enjoys greater public support than his rival Social Democrat leader Jiri Paroubek. A third of respondents said they would prefer to see Mr. Topolanek as the country's next prime minister. The outgoing prime minister, Jiri Paroubek, was only supported by a quarter of those polled.
Police president Vladislav Husak has punished the deputy head of the Prague police force Zdenek Bezouska in connection with the May-day incident in which a police officer attacked human rights government representative Katerina Jacques who was taking part in a protest against a neo-Nazi demonstration in Prague. Bezouska has been demoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel for a period of six months. The police officer who attacked Jacques has been suspended and faces criminal charges. Several other officers have been punished in connection with the assault. Ms Jacques said on Tuesday that she was happy with the way the matter had been handled.
The Social Democrats are courting the Green Party as a possible coalition partner, should talks on a centre right government fail. The leader of the Green Party Martin Bursik said tentative attempts had been made to convince him that the Civic Democrats were not a good partner and cared little for environmental protection. Although in terms of their policy programme the Greens are closer to the Social Democrats, the party has refused to consider being part of a government that would have to rely on support from the Communist Party.
The Czech power utility CEZ said on Monday that Western European power companies, faced with a shortage of skilled technicians and amid expectations of a nuclear power renaissance, are headhunting Czech nuclear power experts. A CEZ spokesman said that many western European countries had run down their nuclear industries and now lacked the necessary experts. The head of the Czech Nuclear Society, Vaclav Hanus, said that some new graduates in nuclear subjects had already taken up offers in Britain. He said British companies were prepared to offer 10,000 pounds (18,400 dollars) as a welcome bonus to new recruits. CEZ, which operates two nuclear power plants in the Czech Republic, says it sees the situation as a threat.
Prague's City Court has adjourned the trial of two elderly men in connection with a murder case dating back to 1957. The two men, Milan Michel and Stanislav Tomes, both former agents of the communist-era intelligence service, are accused of sending a letter bomb to a senior French politician, which killed his wife by mistake. The case was adjourned on Monday due to the two men's age and ill health. The legal proceedings were launched in 2001 after five years of investigation by the Office for the Documentation and Investigation of the Crimes of Communism. The two men face up to 15 years in prison, but because of their age and poor health, they are unlikely to serve sentences even if they are eventually convicted.
The Czech Environmental Inspection has said it intends to fine German companies as well as Czech ones for illegal imports of waste into the Czech Republic. According to the inspection, the German companies failed to make sure their Czech partners were authorised to deal with waste. Altogether 15,000 tonnes of waste has been brought to the Czech Republic. The Environmental Inspection is dealing with 16 illegal dumps, including six or seven from which the waste has not yet been removed. Following an agreement with the Czech Environment Ministry, the German side has removed the waste from most of the sites.
The Czech Republic has beaten the United States 3:0 in a crucial World Cup Group E match. Jan Koller opened the scoring in the fifth minute, nodding home a right wing cross from Zdenek Grygera that eluded two US defenders. Tomas Rosicky gave the Czechs a 2-0 lead in the 36th minute, blasting a right-footed 25-metre shot past Keller who dived to his left in a vain attempt to deny the midfielder. Rosicky scored a third goal in the 76th minute.
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