The lower house of the Czech Parliament should decide on Friday on when
the next attempt at electing its speaker will take place. No one has been
nominated as yet and the situation from the third and fourth vote, when
the deputies met, but the vote did not take place, will repeat on Friday.
The leaders of the two largest parties in parliament, Civic Democrat Mirek
Topolanek and Social Democrat Jiri Paroubek have said they want to continue
negotiating until next week and proceed with the lower house chairman
election afterwards. Parliament sources have told the CTK news agency that
the lower house meeting could resume on August 11 or 14.
It has been two months since national elections in June resulted in a political stalemate, and efforts at a three-party coalition of the Civic Democrats, the Christian Democrats, and the Greens leave these parties one seat short of a governing majority. In recent days, the second largest party, the Social Democrats, have indicated strong opposition to the three-party coalition, thus rendering its possible government highly unlikely.
The numbers of sheep and goats have increased in the Czech Republic after a marked drop in the 1990s. According to the Czech sheep and goat farmers association, the numbers have increased by 80 percent in the last six years, mainly thanks to subsidies. The association's chairman Vit Mares says, however, that the flocks are small, 50 head on average, whereas in other European countries some farms keep from 1000 to 5000 animals. Also, consumption of lamb and mutton is extremely low in the Czech Republic. Mr Mares says it is caused by the low and irregular supply throughout the year.
Staying with Slovan Liberec, the club have confirmed the signing of Costa Rican striker Winston Parks on a two-year contract. The 24-year-old international, formerly with Locomotiv Moscow, said the Liberec signing represented "an opportunity for a new start" and was looking forward to the chance to play again in the Champions' League. Parks made his debut for the full Costa Rican squad in 2001 and played in the qualifying games for this year's World Cup in Germany. He has played in Europe since 2003 when he was signed by Italy's Udinese.
The public service Czech Television has said it will launch a new programme as of September on its news channel CT24 which will give more space to smaller political parties not represented in parliament. The weekly programme called Spektrum will be first broadcast on Saturday, September 9. A spokesman said the programme will reflect the whole political spectrum, hence its name. Czech Television was criticised at the time of the June national elections for providing too little air time to smaller political subjects, which the parties found discriminatory.
Mlada Boleslav have reached the final qualifying round for football's Champions League. A 2:2 draw with Valerenga Oslo on Wednesday gave them a 5:3 win on aggregate and set up a tie with Turkey's Galatasaray. Slovan Liberec, meanwhile, automatically reached the final qualifying round when they won the Czech league last season. Liberec must beat Spartak Moscow to qualify for the Champions' League with the first leg match being played at Liberec's stadium on August 9.
Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda has announced that the Czech cabinet will release 15 million crowns for humanitarian aid to the Middle East. The Czech government has committed to sending humanitarian aid to both sides in the Lebanese-Israeli conflict. Mr. Svoboda says that the Lebanese government in Beirut has already received a cheque for five million crowns meant to aid civilians living in southern Lebanon, and as requested, the Czech Republic is sending fire hoses to Israel. Mr. Svoboda says that although compared to what France has donated, Czech aid is mostly symbolic, though the Czech Republic is one of the first EU countries to send humanitarian aid to the troubled region. Mr. Svoboda also pledged continued Czech aid for both sides involved in the conflict.
Officials in neighbouring Slovakia have announced that they are seeking access to files of the communist-era secret police, the StB, which fell under the administrative control of the Czech Ministry of Defense after Czechoslovakia ceased to exist on December 31, 1992. The documents of interest are those that concern Slovak citizens. Slovak Minister of Defense, Frantisek Kasicky, has confirmed that his office has prepared the documents necessary to divide this portion of the StB materials between the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The Czech and Slovak ministers of defense must sign the agreement, and the parliaments of both countries must approve the transfer of the documents. According to Mr. Kasicky, experts from both ministries have already approved the text of the agreement, and the aim is to see the materials moved to Slovakia as soon as possible.
Six people have been killed in a car accident following a chase with police in neighboring Germany, and German officials say that at least one of those dead is a Czech citizen. Police near Berlin were investigating what they suspect is a smuggling ring, bringing illegal migrants into Germany. Five of those killed in Wednesday morning's accident were Vietnamese. The driver of the vehicle attempted to avoid police and after a high-speed chase the car lost control and flew off the road into several trees. Three people died at the scene and another three in hospital. According to German police, the vehicle was under surveillance before the chase began and officers were trying to uncover the base of the smuggler's operations.
Meeting on Wednesday morning, Civic Democratic leader Mirek Topolanek
and Social Democratic leader Jiri Paroubek, have agreed to begin a new
round of talks to resolve the post-election stalemate. Both men say
it's too soon to speak of early elections, and Mr. Paroubek told
reporters that an agreement between the two biggest Czech parties could
surface within two weeks. Mr. Topolanek and Mr. Paroubek will conduct a
series of meetings in the coming days.
It has been two months since the early June elections ended in a political stalemate, and efforts at a three-party coalition between the Civic Democrats, the Social Democrats, and the Greens leave these parties one seat short of a governing majority. In recent days, the Social Democrats have indicated strong opposition to the three-party coalition, thus rendering its possible government highly unlikely.
Since the beginning of this year, 2600 birds have been treated for symptoms of the bird flu in the Czech Republic, and 14 cases of the H5N1 virus have been confirmed. A Czech veterinary spokesman released the information on Wednesday, saying that the majority of cases were found in southern Bohemia. The last two reported cases of bird flu in the Czech Republic surfaced in May. Fourteen European Union countries have detected the bird flu this year, including neighbouring Slovakia, Austria, Germany, Hungary, and Poland.