The Czech foreign minister, Cyril Svoboda, says it is almost certain
that the USA will ask the Czech Republic to join its anti-missile
defence programme. Speaking on Czech TV on Sunday, Mr Svoboda said that
could involve the stationing of radars and the building of an
anti-missile site with around ten missiles. A team of US experts has
already surveyed sites in the Czech Republic.
In the same televised debate, Mr Svoboda also said the Czech Republic will not take part in an international military presence in Lebanon.
Long-distance swimmer David Cech has become the first Czech to swim La
Manche in both directions. Cech completed the swim from France to
England in 19 hours 54 minutes on Sunday.
On Saturday, Yvetta Hlavacova set a new women's world record for swimming the English Channel one way. She swam the 36 km in seven hours 25 minutes. The swimmer hoped to set a record both ways but gave up after some 14 hours, with only around 12 km to go, due to exhaustion.
Outgoing Prime Minister and Social Democrat leader Jiri Paroubek has
confirmed that the make-up of his cabinet could change if the latest,
seventh attempt at electing a new lower house speaker fails. The
outgoing cabinet contains ministers of the Freedom Union, which did not
make it into parliament in the June elections. With important
decision-making ahead, such as next year's state budget, these
ministers could be replaced. Mr Paroubek has also hinted that his new
cabinet could be the country's next new government.
Two months after the parliamentary elections, the country has neither a new government nor a new lower house chairman. The 200 seats in the lower house of Parliament are evenly split between the left and the centre and right parties.
If elections were held today, the Civic Democrats would win with 41 percent of the vote, suggests a new opinion poll. In the parliamentary elections in June, the party won 35.5 percent of support. The other parties would get around the same number of votes as two months ago, according to the poll conducted by Factum Invenio. The agency attributes the Civic Democrats' dramatic rise in popularity to its efforts in the post-election talks.
Controversial Czech businesswoman Libuse Bartova intends to run for the post of senator. Ms Barkova was sentenced to five years in prison for insurance fraud last year after making false property damage claims following the floods in 2002. Ms Barkova has appealed the verdict. She also made headlines in 2003 when her conversations with then Interior Minister Stanislav Gross and a Defence Minister were caught up in a police wiretap, and it was revealed that Ms Barkova owned a building housing a brothel. In an interview for the commercial radio station Frekvence 1 on Monday, Ms Barkova said she would stand in the Senate elections as an independent candidate.
Persistent rain over the weekend and into Monday has raised rivers levels around the country. The most affected regions are southern and northern Bohemia. As meteorologists warn of more rain until Wednesday, children at various summer camps are being evacuated and some areas are on the highest degree of flood alert. Some roads around the River Elbe have also been closed to traffic as the river continues to swell.
Meanwhile, the Civic Democrat leadership on Monday said it rejects what it called the Social Democrats' planned reconstruction of the outgoing cabinet and called it disrespectful of the democratic elections two months ago. The leadership also ruled out any form of coalition, including a Grand Coalition, with the Social Democrats. If its plans to form a minority Civic Democrat government should fail, the party leadership supports a temporary caretaker government that would prepare the country for early elections.
Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda says the Czech Republic will not take part in an international military presence in Lebanon. He also said it is certain that the Czech Republic will be asked to take part in a US anti-missile defence programme, either by hosting an entire anti-missile base or with the approval of the presence of radars on Czech territory.
The post-election deadlock has been complicated further with no new prime minister named, says Green Party leader Martin Bursik. In a televised debate on Sunday, Mr Bursik said party representatives might as well go off to their cottages as President Klaus has not entrusted anyone with the forming of a new government. Mr Bursik believes the President would like to see some kind of an alliance between the Civic Democrats and the Social Democrats in government to get him re-elected for a second term in 2008. A statement issued by the Presidential Office says Mr Klaus considers the allegations offensive.
The make-up of the outgoing cabinet could change if the seventh attempt at electing a new lower house speaker fails, the acting chairman of the lower house of Parliament, Lubomir Zaoralek, said on Sunday. Two months after the parliamentary elections, the country has neither a new government nor a new lower house chairman. The outgoing cabinet contains ministers of the Freedom Union, which did not make it into parliament this June. With important decision-making ahead, such as next year's state budget, these ministers could be replaced Mr Zaoralek said.
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