Daily news summary News

19-07-2004

Deputies start pledging support for emerging government

The leadership of the Christian Democratic Party on Monday approved the party's participation in a coalition government with the Social Democrats and the Freedom Union. Party deputies have started the process of pledging support for the emerging three party government. Christian Democrat leader Miroslav Kalousek said he could guarantee support from every single party deputy. The designated Prime Minister Stanislav Gross has requested a commitment in writing from all parties of the emerging coalition in order to make sure that the new government will have majority support in Parliament. Although all three parties have agreed to the measure, some deputies for the Social Democratic Party say they are not prepared to sign such a commitment until they know more about the future government's policy programme and the division of ministerial posts.

President Fischer prefers dialogue to confrontation

The new Austrian President Heinz Fischer said at his first press conference since taking office that he would not demand concessions from Prague on controversial issues which have burdened the countries' relations in the past, such as the Temelin nuclear power plant in southern Bohemia or the controversial Benes decrees on the grounds of which 2.5 million Sudeten Germans were expelled from post war Czechoslovakia. The Austrian President who is to visit the Czech Republic on August 25th, said he would come with goodwill and welcome an open dialogue on all sensitive issues.

New health care concept under fire

A new health care concept prepared by health minister Jozef Kubinyi has come under fire from his party colleagues. The concept is based on lower health insurance fees and greater financial participation of individual patients, such as paying for prescriptions, the cost of an ambulance, hospital fees and administrative fees at doctors' offices. The proposal has evoked strong criticism from members of the Social Democratic Party. Labour Minister Zdenek Skromach, a leading party figure, said it was in direct conflict with the basic principles of the Social Democrat's policy programme. The controversial concept will further decrease minister Kubinyi's chances of retaining his post.

Trams collide, five injured

Two trams collided in the Moravian city of Brno on Monday morning, injuring five passengers. No serious injuries were reported. One of the trams was forced to stop briefly in between tram-stops and the other, following it at a very fast speed, was unable to stop in time to prevent the accident. The impact was so strong that the first vehicle was pushed for some 35 metres along the tracks before de-railing. The damage is estimated at one million crowns. Police say that the driver of the second tram was clearly to blame, having driven an empty tram recklessly at breakneck speed.

Rainstorm creates havoc in Karlovice

A heavy rain and hailstorm storm in the eastern part of the Czech Republic is reported to have flooded 25 homes in the town of Karlovice. Emergency crews and firemen are now pumping water from cellars. There are two uprooted trees and some minor damage caused by the shower of hailstones which are reported to have been the size of beans. Meteorologists have warned that the stormy weather which caused damage in western Europe over the weekend may hit parts of the Czech Republic in the coming days.

Weather:

Tuesday is expected to be partly cloudy with afternoon rainstorms and day temperatures between 25 and 28 degrees Celsius.

19-07-2004