Czech politicians have sent condolences to neighbouring Austria on the death of Austrian President Tomas Klestil. President Vaclav Klaus described the late Austrian president as a skilled politician who had contributed to "exemplary relations" between the Czech Republic and Austria, despite hurdles such as the controversial Benes decrees and the Temelin nuclear power plant. The former Czech president Vaclav Havel, who was a close friend of Mr. Klestil's, said he was deeply saddened by his death. Tomas Klestil was a great statesman, a skilled diplomat and a good personal friend, we understood each other well, Mr. Havel said.
Talks on forming a new Czech government continue. The designated Prime Minister Stanislav Gross has scheduled meetings with both opposition parties in Parliament - the right-wing Civic Democrats and the largely unreformed Communists - to try and win support for a new government. The leader of the Civic Democrats Mirek Topolanek on Wednesday rejected Mr. Gross' offer of two lucrative posts, maintaining his party's position: to support only a caretaker government and push for early elections. He expressed confidence that no member of the Civic Democratic Party would betray this line and accept an offer from Stanislav Gross. Communist Party officials who are meeting with the designated Prime Minister on Thursday have said they are ready to negotiate.
Marian Bielesz, a former Freedom Union deputy, has said he may give up his mandate this week. The announcement is being linked to Stanislav Gross' efforts to gain a Parliamentary majority for a new government. If he gives up his parliament post, Mr. Bielesz would be replaced by a loyal member of the Freedom Union, which wants to form an old-new government along with the Social Democrats and the Christian Democratic Party. With the extra vote, the coalition would have 101 votes in the 200 seat Lower House.
The world's most star-studded football club, Real Madrid, will attempt to sign the Czech striker Milan Baros if Lorenzo Sanz succeeds in becoming club president next month. Mr Sanz has also expressed interest in another young
Czech player, Tomas Rosicky. Milan Baros, who is 22, was the biggest star of the Czech team which recently reached the semi-finals at the European Championships.
Radio Prague has launched a new web page for Czech ex-pats living abroad. Its aim is to assist communication among the various ex-pat organizations abroad and strengthen links to their homeland. The address is www.krajane.net.
Thursday is expected to be partly cloudy with some showers and day temperatures between 26 and 30 degrees C.
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