A World Cup event - Nordic skiing - traditionally held at this time of year at Nove Mesto na Morave (Moravia) has been cancelled because of warm weather and lack of snow. The event was to be held next week. The decision to cancel the race was taken on Wednesday morning by organisers together with the head of the International Ski Federation's cross-country section Jorg Capol. An alternative site is reportedly being considered in the Krkonose (Giant) Mountains in northern Bohemia.
Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek will meet with president Vaclav Klaus on Thursday afternoon to provide the president with a list of ministers for his proposed government. Together the prime minister's Civic Democrats, the Christian Democrats and the Greens have 100 seats in the 200-member lower house, meaning that the agreed coalition will need to find additional support to win a majority in a confidence vote. Mr Topolanek indicated earlier the vote would be held in January. The Civic Democrats have stated repeatedly that they will be hoping to rely on support from what they call "constructive" MPs from within the ranks of the Social Democrats.
A preliminary investigation by the Swedish military has concluded that the Czech pilot of a Czech-leased Gripen fighter jet was probably not at fault in an incident in mid-October in Sweden, in which another plane was almost shot down. The fighter jet mistakenly fired not at a mid-air target but at its tow aircraft, manned by a three-member crew. Luckily, no one was hurt. According to the preliminary investigation by Swedish authorities the accident was not the Czech pilot's fault but the result of a combination of errors in preparation for the test. The Swedes will continue their enquiry into the case in order to prevent such an accident from happening again.
Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Czech has begun recruiting future employees for its car plant in eastern Moravia. Construction on the automobile plant is to begin next year and the facility itself is expected to be operational by 2009. Over the next two years just under 3,000 people are expected to be hired. At a press conference on Wednesday the company's director Jaromir Radkovsky said that the plant would hire mostly from areas in Moravia and Silesia. But, he stressed that people returning to the region with experience from elsewhere would be welcomed. The plant is cooperating with the local employment bureau as well as a number of recruitment firms. The management has suggested salaries and benefits at the new plant will be comparable to those offered by other car manufacturers in the Czech Republic.
Negotiations on a new centre-right coalition government headed by the Civic Democrats, together with the Christian Democrats and the Green Party appear set to wrap on Thursday. That will be just hours before Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek delivers a list of proposed ministers to President Vaclav Klaus. According to Green Party leader Martin Bursik, the parties have agreed on names to head almost all eighteen ministerial posts, but a coalition agreement between the three parties will apparently not be signed before the prime minister's meeting with the president on Thursday. Nine ministerial posts are to be held by the Civic Democrats, six by the Christian Democrats, and three by the Greens.
The remains of around 4,000 WWII German soldiers are to be finally laid to rest in a new cemetery in the town of Hlucin, North Moravia. Local authorities reached the decision on Tuesday. At the moment the remains have been stored at a Czech military site in Central Bohemia. The remains of German soldiers from World War II were only recently rediscovered in storage at a factory site in Bohemia earlier this year. In the 1990s a German association for the care of war graves began exhuming bodies of the soldiers to be reburied at a Prague cemetery, but the project collapsed after running out of funds.
The Senate has decided not to support a deputies' draft amendment to the law on social services defining the role and obligations of intervention centres for victims of domestic violence. Such centres are to be established in all fourteen regions of the Czech Republic as of January. The Senate pointed out that the intervention centres could start operating without special legislation in place and returned the bill to the lower house with modifications. Under the bill that was passed by the Chamber of Deputies earlier this month, police officers would be able to expel perpetrators of domestic violence from their homes for ten days. Officers would then also report the expulsion to intervention centres whose employees would connect the victims within 48 hours and offer them psychological as well as legal help.
The Prague city hall has finally decided to buy a special river boat to provide shelter to homeless people. The boat which will provide 250 beds, a canteen and sanitary facilities, will cost 23 million crowns (around a million USD) and should welcome its first guests in mid-January. The city hall is still deciding where exactly the boat should be anchored. According to estimates there are up to 6,000 homeless people in the Czech capital and only 600 beds available in shelters.
The Regional Court in Prague has decided to reopen the case of the fugitive convict Rostislav Roztocil, who was sentenced in 1985 to 24 years in prison for murder. Mr Roztocil, who maintains his innocence, was sentenced in absentia after emigrating to the West in the 1980s. He was detained in 2000 at a border crossing while trying to enter the Czech Republic. Last year he escaped from prison and was detained in Germany. German courts ruled that Mr Roztocil could be extradited to the Czech Republic on condition he would be granted a new trial.
Social Democrat chairman Jiri Paroubek has admitted his party might be in opposition. Speaking on Czech Radio on Tuesday, Mr Paroubek said he no longer counted on the vote of MP Milos Melcak who has left the Social Democrat parliamentary party. Upon leaving, Mr Melcak did not rule out he might vote for a possible government of the Civic Democrats, the Christian Democrats and the Greens which would otherwise have the support of exactly half of the votes in the lower house.
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