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Poll shows Czechs divided on whether Prime Minister should resign, minority favour early elections

Every second Czech would welcome the resignation of Prime Minister Stanislav Gross and almost one in three is in favour of holding early elections, according to a new poll by the SC&C agency. The poll of 908 people was conducted for the leading Czech daily Mlada fronta Dnes following calls for the prime minister to step down over the unclear financing of his apartment and his wife's controversial business activities. Of those surveyed, roughly one in five had no opinion as to how the current crisis in the governing coalition should be resolved, while only one in ten said they were in favour of Mr Gross's party, the Social Democrats, forming a minority government. Roughly one in four persons polled said they would prefer that Mr Gross resign but have the coalition remain in power.

TPCA car production line in Kolin officially launched

Toyota of Japan and French carmaker PSA Peugot Citroen officially launched commercial production at their joint-venture plant in the Czech Republic on Monday. The TPCA plant, located near the town of Kolin, is said likely to become the most efficient in the world. The plant will eventually be able to produce 300,000 cars a year; two thirds of them under the Peugeot and Citroen brands, the other third for Toyota. The TPCA joint-venture is the biggest new company in the Czech Republic. The cars should be available on the Czech market in June.

Central European agricultural ministers demand EU help in exporting, storing bumper crop grain

Ministers of Agriculture from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and Austria have called on the European Commission to help find a solution to disposing of grain surpluses. At a meeting of farm ministers in Brussels on Monday, the Czech Minister of Agriculture Jaroslav Palas and his colleagues demanded that the Commission help the four Central European states export and store their surplus grain from last year's record harvest.

Dentists threaten to bypass insurers if reforms not passed

Czech dentists are threatening to bypass health insurance companies and demand direct payments from clients, unless health-care financing reforms are introduced next year. The Czech Republic has a shortage of dentists, as many have sought better pay and working conditions elsewhere in the European Union.

Zentiva profits up 50 percent in 2004

Zentiva pharmaceuticals, the first-ever Czech company to float an initial public offering (IPO) on the Prague Stock Exchange, announced on Monday that its net profit was up 50 percent last year over 2003. Zentiva made a profit of 1.61 billion crowns in 2004, the company said, largely due to increased sales of prescription medicines and expanded business activities in Poland and Russia.

Moldova asks for Czech help in preparing for EU entry

Moldova, among the poorest countries in Europe, has asked for Czech help in its preparations to join the European Union. The request came during a visit to the Moldovan capital by the Czech deputy prime minister for economic affairs, Martin Jahn. Moldova is on track to begin negotiations on EU entry in 2007.


Mostly clear skies and light snowfall is expected throughout much of the country in the coming days, with night time temperatures dropping to -10 degrees Celsius.