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PM wants to link confidence vote to bill on lower taxes

Prime Minister Stanislav Gross wants to link a confidence vote in his Cabinet to a bill on lower taxes. The news has evoked strong criticism from the President and the opposition Civic Democrats. President Klaus said this strategy would amount to an unacceptable delay in holding the vote. The opposition Civic Democrats said that not even the best possible law could compensate for the Prime Minister's lack of credibility.

Freedom Union wants demise of Cabinet

The Freedom Union of the governing coalition is pushing for the resignation of the entire Cabinet as the best possible solution to the drawn out crisis. The party on Tuesday urged the President to make a public pledge that if the Gross government were to resign he would give the task of forming a new government to a member of the Social Democratic Party. The President responded to this appeal within hours, saying that under such circumstances he would give the Social Democrats one last chance at forming a viable government.

President Klaus has so far refused to accept the resignations of four ministers who have given notice in recent days saying he would not make any further moves until it became clear who would remain and who would leave the Gross Cabinet. Since Friday's no-confidence vote, which the Gross government survived only thanks to indirect support from the Communists, four Cabinet ministers have resigned and six others have indicated that they could not remain in a government that had to rely on Communist support. The Cabinet is to discuss the crisis at its session on Wednesday.

Fifth tsunami victim identified

A fifth Czech victim of the tsunami disaster has been identified in Sri Lanka. Officials said they were not at liberty to disclose any details and that the identification had been made with the help of DNA samples provided by relatives of the diseased. Three more Czechs are missing in Thailand, presumed dead. There were close to one hundred Czechs in the region at the time of the disaster. Over 300, 000 people were killed in the tragedy.

Foreign trade surplus encouraging

The Czech Republic's foreign trade surplus in February reached its best monthly level in eleven years, Czech officials said on Tuesday. The trade surplus grew by 53 percent to 5.2 billion crowns / 173 million euros/ in February from 3.4 billion a month earlier. According to the Czech Statistical Office, this is the best result since January 1994.

Doctor sentenced to 2,5 years in jail for injuring child

A doctor has been sentenced to two and a half years in prison for seriously injuring a two year old girl in a car accident. The doctor was driving drunk on the hospital premises and hit the little girl and her mother as they were crossing from one hospital building to another. The child suffered life-threatening injuries to the head, legs and internal organs. She underwent numerous operations, including plastic surgery. The child was given skin grafts on 25 percent of her body. Her mother escaped with only light injuries. The doctor was immediately sacked from his post and the court has banned him from driving for a period of five years.

Eighteenth suspected case of BSE

Vets have reported an eighteenth suspected case of BSE, or mad cow disease, in the Czech Republic. The results of a second test should be available in a week's time. The animal is from a farm in the Benesov region, south of Prague. The first case of BSE in the Czech Republic was confirmed in 2001, shortly after which the State Veterinary Office ordered tests on all heads of cattle aged over 30 months. 744.000 heads of cattle were tested in that period, out of which 17 animals were found BSE positive.


Wednesday should be partly cloudy to overcast with scattered showers and day temperatures between 13 and 17 degrees Celsius.