Daily news summary News

31-07-2004

Social Democrat executive committee approves government of PM Gross by overwhelming majority

The Social Democrat central executive committee on Saturday approved the new government of the party's acting chairman, Czech Prime Minister Stanislav Gross, by an overwhelming majority, with 110 delegates giving him their endorsement, 10 abstaining and only two of those present for the vote opposed. The strong endorsement gave an important psychological boost to Mr Gross, who must still face a vote of confidence in his government before the Chamber of Deputies in August. With only a majority of one in the 200-seat lower house of Parliament, however, it is far from certain that Mr Gross will win that vote. Even members of his own party, including MP Josef Hojdar, have spoken out against the agreement to continue in a coalition government with the Christian Democrats and the Freedom Union parties and the distribution of ministerial posts.

All but three Social Democrat ministers will be asked to give up their seats in Parliament

Prime Minister Stanislav Gross has said that only three ministers in his future Cabinet — Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Zdenek Skromach, Finance Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and Minister of Culture Pavel Dostal — will not be asked to give up their seats in Parliament. All other Social Democrat ministers in the new cabinet, including the premier, may be required to do so, so they can concentrate effectively on their ministerial work, Mr Gross told journalists on Saturday. The newly appointed Czech Prime Minister added that, as he finalises his proposed list of Cabinet members, he had informed the chairmen of the other coalition parties that the willingness of candidates to vacate their seats in Parliament would be "one of the factors" according to which he would choose new Cabinet members.

Remainder of the Czech anti-biological and chemical unit assigned to protect Olympic Games leaves for Athens

The bulk of the 100-member strong Czech biological and chemical warfare unit charged with helping to protect the upcoming Olympic Games in Greece from terrorist attack left for Athens on Saturday. An advance group of 10 members for the unit arrived in Greece on Wednesday. They will join troops from the Czech component of a NATO rapid response unit, which will be based in Athens from August 1 until September 30, at the request of the Greek government.

This year's secretive CzechTek festival attracts 30,000 techno fans

An estimated 30,000 fans of techno music have descended upon a field on the outskirts of Bonenov, some 130 kilometres west of Prague, for this year's CzechTek music festival. As in past years, the location of the free event was kept secret up until the last moment. This is in part because organisers want to generate a sense of excitement among techno fans but mainly because CzechTek enthusiasts don't want to allow locals — and local officials — time to prevent the very loud techno fest from occurring.

Radek Bonk joins Montreal Canadiens hockey team; Knee surgery takes Czech midfielder Vladimir Smicer out of Liverpool's Premiership campaign

In sports news, the Czech hockey centre Radek Bonk has signed a three-year contract with the Montreal Canadiens. He had spent all of his previous ten NHL seasons with Ottawa. The Canadiens hope that Radek Bonk, who stands 1.9 metres tall, can give them the size at centre the team was lacking in recent seasons. Meanwhile, Czech international midfielder Vladimir Smicer will miss six months of Liverpool's Premiership football campaign after having surgery on his right knee, the club revealed.

Weather

Sunday should be another warm, sunny day, with a high of 28 degrees Celsius, and light cloud cover. I'm Brian Kenety and that's the end of the news.

31-07-2004