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Entire new Cabinet of PM Stanislav Gross now officially in office

With the official inauguration of Karel Kuehnl as Defence Minister on Friday, the entire Cabinet of Prime Minister Stanislav Gross has now assumed office. The other new ministers in the Cabinet - Interior Minister Frantisek Bublan, Health Minister Milada Emmerova, Local Development Minister Jiri Paroubek, and Justice Minister Pavel Nemec - all officially assumed their posts on Thursday. Defence Minister Kuehnl replaced Miroslav Kostelka, who will now serve as an advisor to Prime Minister Gross. The other ministers in the 18-member Cabinet had served under former Prime Minsiter Vladimir Spidla.

Body of fifth Czech mountain climber recovered in Kyrgyzstan

The body of the fifth Czech victim of an avalanche on Thursday in Kyrgyzstan has been recovered. The Czech Ambassador to Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan has said that the nationalities of several people still missing have not been confirmed. The 22-member expedition was attempting to scale Khan Tengri, one of the highest mountain peaks in Kyrgyzstan, when the avalanche struck. The Czech victims of the avalanche identified so far were all between 28 and 32 years of age.

PwC to carry out audit for Finance Ministry on system for approving EU projects

The Czech Finance Ministry has ordered an audit into the system for approving European Union-related projects following the European Commission's suspension on Wednesday of some 2 billion crowns worth of payments earmarked for this country under the EU Phare programme. The European Commission suspended payments from the EU's pre-accession fund because the Czech system for approving projects did not adhere to EU rules. The international consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers will carry out the audit and is due to publish its findings in late September.

U.S. diplomat in charge of anti-trafficking campaign to advise Czech government against legalising prostitution

The U.S. diplomat in charge of leading an American worldwide campaign against trafficking in human beings, Ambassador John Miller, has said he will urge the Czech government to move cautiously as it considers proposed new legislation to legalize and regulate prostitution. Ambassador Miller told a press briefing held Wednesday at Radio Free Europe's Prague headquarters that while a good case could be made for decriminalising prostitution, "when it comes to the women involved," legalising the trade and thereby making the state, quote, "the chief pimp," would be a regrettable step.

Czech Republic posts unexpected $34m trade surplus

The Czech Republic posted an unexpected trade surplus of $34 million for June, the first such surplus for five months, official figures showed Friday. The surplus was driven by a rise in exports of 34 percent year-on-year with imports rising by just under 29 percent compared to this June 2003. The news prompted modest gains for the Czech currency, as the markets had been expecting a deficit in June. A poll of analysts by the CTK news agency cited Czech entry in the EU and a weak U.S. dollar as having contributed to the economic upswing.

Fresh charges as Czech football corruption scandal deepens

Just days before the beginning of the new football season, police have charged 17 people in connection with allegations of match-fixing. Sixteen referees are being questioned, along with Ivan Hornik, the director of Viktoria Zizkov football club. Czech football has been dogged by corruption allegations since May, when police arrested the director of the club Synot (now known as Slovacko) and several referees.


Saturday should be warm but cloudy with a chance of light showers in parts of the country and highs of about 28 degrees Celsius.