Daily news summary News

24-08-2004

Chamber of Deputies to vote on new coalition government late on Tuesday

The Chamber of Deputies, in session on Tuesday, heard a number of speeches from MPs ahead of a confidence vote on the new coalition government led by Prime Minister Stanislav Gross. Earlier in the session on Tuesday the prime minister spoke at length about the goals of his government, saying it would make social issues a priority.

However, the opposition Civic Democrats, expressed their dissatisfaction with the new government, warning it would lead the country to stagnation and debt. None among the official opposition, neither the Civic Democrats, nor the Communists, are expected to vote in the cabinet's favour.

Finally, because the government enjoys just the slimmest of majorities - 101 votes in a 200 member parliament - two ill MPs were required to leave hospitals on Tuesday to make an appearance in the chamber, in order to ensure the new government was in postion to gain enough support.

The confidence vote is expected later on Tuesday night.

Civic Democrats to take legal action against MP Zdenek Koristka

Members of the country's largest opposition party, the Civic Democrats, have decided to take legal action against government MP Zdenek Koristka for slander. The party made the announcement on Tuesday following the MP's actions last week, when he claimed an unnamed member of the Civic Democratic Party had offered him a bribe of 10 million crowns - or 300, 000 euros - to help sink the country's new government in Tuesday's confidence vote. The case is now the matter of a police investigation - additional details have not been released.

Finance Minister: Czech National Bank should not rush interest rate hike

Ahead of the Czech National Bank's meeting later this week, Finance Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said on Tuesday the National Bank should not rush an interest rate hike. It has been widely expected the bank will raise rates by a quarter point to 2.50 percent. But, the finance minister said he had a more optimistic prognosis for inflation in 2004 and 2005, expecting the inflation rate would stay below 3.00 percent.

The Czech National Bank is an independent institution on which the government wields only limited influence. Nevertheless, on Tuesday Minister Sobotka suggested the bank should "act responsibly" in lieu of the cabinet's plan to kick-off high growth.

Thousands pay last respects to hockey hero, national side coach

Thousands of Czechs - including the current line-up for the Czech national hockey team - paid final respects to the late Ivan Hlinka on Tuesday at Prague's Zofin Palace. The charismatic Hlinka, the coach who led the Czech Olympic ice hockey team to victory in Nagano, Japan, in 1998, was killed in a car accident last Monday.

This Tuesday he remembered by his wife, mother, son, and former team mates as well as current players.

Ivan Hlinka was just 54 when he died.

Football: Nedved to return to the playing field

Czech football star Pavel Nedved, who plays in the Italian league for Juventus, is expected to return to play for the first time since he suffered a knee injury at Euro 2004 in July. Nedved's team currently faces the Swedish side Djurgarden in the prestigious Champions League. Two weeks ago Juventus was only able to eke-out a 2:2 tie against the Swedish team, so it is expected his return could provide his team with a necessary boost.

Weather

Wednesday is expected to be cloudy with sunny intervals and daytime temperatures of around 22 degrees Celsius.

24-08-2004