Daily news summary News

04-04-2005

President Klaus refuses ministers' resignations until it becomes clear which others intend to remain in the Cabinet

President Vaclav Klaus said on Monday he would not accept the resignations of the four ministers who have given notice in recent days, until it becomes clear exactly which other ministers intend to remain in the Cabinet.

The Minister of Information Technology, Vladimir Mlynar, tendered his resignation on Saturday, following the results of a no-confidence vote in Prime Minister Stanislav Gross the previous day. The ministers of foreign affairs, the environment, and transportation resigned early last week when their party, the Christian Democrats, withdrew from the governing coalition in protest over Mr Gross' refusal to step down following the release of controversial information about his personal finances and the business dealings of his wife.

Mr Mlynar, a member of the centre-right Freedom Union, said he would not remain in a government that relied on the tacit support of the Communists; Mr Gross survived the no-confidence vote only because the Communist deputies abstained from it. The prime minister has promised to call for a parliamentary vote of confidence in the minority government he now leads, but a date for this vote has not yet been set.

President Vaclav Klaus told journalists on Monday that calls to link that vote with the passage of certain legislation would amount to an unacceptable delay in holding the vote, of perhaps months.

Nearly two out of three Czech 'satisfied' with the state of the economy - CVVM poll

At 61 percent, the Czech public's satisfaction with the economy is at its highest level in eight years, according to a mid-February poll by the CVVM agency. The last time the public had been so optimistic in this regards was in 1997, following a package of austerity measures adopted by the Cabinet of then Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus, the current Czech president. The CVVM poll found that just over one year ago, in January 2004, only 41 percent of the Czech public was satisfied with how the economy.

French police begin questioning suspects in Czech-made plastic explosives haul

French police have begun questioning several people after seizing 100 kilogram's of Semtex explosive hidden in a truck in the northern town of Hazebrouck. The operation on Saturday was part of an investigation into organised crime. Semtex - a Czech-made plastic explosive - has been used by various terrorist groups. The French prosecutor's office has said it believes that the Semtex seized at the weekend was to be divided up and sold to criminal gangs, rather than to terrorists.

Czech Republic has among Europe's highest percentage of women in the workplace

The Czech Republic has among the highest number of women in the workplace in the whole of European Union, the daily Pravo reports, citing a newly released study. Some 44 percent of Czech women of working age are employed or self-employed, it said, and only Finland, Lithuania and Romania have a higher percentage of women in the workplace.

Helena Zmatlikova, the celebrated illustrator of over 200 children's books, has died

One of the Czech Republic's most celebrated illustrators, Helena Zmatlikova, died on Monday. She was 81 years old and had worked on more than 200 children's books. Among her best-loved works were the illustrations for "Palacek", a kind of Czech "Tom Thumb".

Weather

Light rain is expected throughout much of the country in coming days, with skies clearing up by Thursday, and temperatures due to remain in the mid teens (Celsius).

04-04-2005