Daily news summary News

19-04-2005

Talks on new government underway

The three parties in the feuding Czech coalition have raised hopes that they will re-unite and form a new government. A series of top level coalition talks on Tuesday indicated that the three coalition parties - the Social Democrats, the Christian Democrats and the Freedom Union - are close to an agreement on a pro-European majority government headed by the Social Democrat deputy chairman Jiri Paroubek. This would open the door for Prime Minister Stanislav Gross to resign from office in the wake of a scandal over his private finances. Talks on fine tuning the Cabinet continue.

Christian Democrat ministers resign from party posts

Three Christian Democrat ministers on Tuesday resigned from their party posts in order to help reach agreement on a new government. Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda, Transport minister Milan Simonovsky and Environment Minister Libor Ambrozek resigned as deputy chairmen of the Christian Democratic Party in order to meet the condition that a new government line up should not include leaders from any of the three coalition parties. This condition was raised by the ruling Social Democratic Party. The Christian Democratic Party says it supports its ministers and is not likely to make any personnel changes.

Aon raises potential threat level of Czech Republic

Aon, a risk insurance broker, has lifted the "potential threat" level of 31 states, including that of the Czech Republic. The agency has five categories of potential threat: low, moderate, elevated, high risk and severe. The Czech Republic, which was considered low-risk in the past, has now been placed in the "moderate risk" group. Countries like Britain, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands have gone from "moderate to elevated". Iraq is listed as severe. Aon says the increased risk of terrorism in many parts of the world is directly linked to the activities of Islamic extremist groups.

Czechs want to help restore Chilean national park

The renewal of the Chilean national park Torres del Paine, which was destroyed by a fire accidentally caused by a Czech tourist, will cost 7.5 million dollars. This includes renewal of woodland areas, restoration of infra-structure and preventive measures. The Czech Republic has offered to assist the process in various ways. The tourist responsible for the disaster is being sued by the Chilean government.

Police arrest gang of alleged people smugglers

The police have arrested 17 people suspected of being part of an international gang which smuggled around 800 people into the European Union, mainly Chinese and Vietnamese nationals. The alleged gang members were arrested in early morning raids during which the police seized a large amount of money in various currencies, fake documents, mobile phones and SIM cards. Over the past two years the group is believed to have netted 200 million crowns / or 6.5 million euros/ for people smuggling.

Weather:

Wednesday should be partly cloudy with some scattered rain showers and day temperatures between 9 and 13 degrees Celsius.

19-04-2005