The Local Development Minister Jiri Paroubek who is expected to replace the outgoing Prime Minister Stanislav Gross, has said that the Agriculture Minister Jaroslav Palas will be replaced by Social Democrat MP Petr Zgarba in his new government. Mr Palas will be the only Social Democrat to leave the cabinet along with the Prime Minister Stanislav Gross following a prolonged government crisis. Jiri Paroubek is expected to be replaced by Social Democrat MP Radko Martinek in his current post of Local Development Minister. President Vaclav Klaus expects Prime Minister Stanislav Gross's government to resign on Monday, allowing him to appoint Mr Paroubek as the new prime minister later the same day.
The incoming Czech Prime Minister, Jiri Paroubek, has publicly presented a copy of a government document proving he did not collaborate with the StB, the communist-era secret police. The document, which dates back to 1992, was originally released by an independent committee for Czechoslovakia's Interior Ministry. Under the Communists Mr Paroubek was monitored by the StB, who listed him as a potential candidate for collaboration - a listing the secret police used to designate persons who failed to sign on.
On Friday Mr Paroubek even joked that the StB had a sense of humour when they code-named his file "Roko" - after his pet parrot.
The Czech President Vaclav Klaus has sent a letter to the chairman of the lower house, Social Democrat Lubomir Zaoralek, objecting to Mr Zaoralek's approval of the comments made by a vice-president of the European Parliament, Alejo Vidal-Quadras, and another MEP on Wednesday. Mr Zaoralek previously told the media that the two MEPs' objections to Mr Klaus's statements were 'accurate and apt'. The MEPs criticised Mr Klaus for his stance on the European Constitution, saying his recent statements were 'prejudiced' and 'untrue'. Mr Klaus reacted on Thursday by saying he found both men's words offensive to his person, as a head of state.
The Czech Republic's Armed Forces have taken delivery of another three supersonic Jas-39 Gripen fighter jets leased from Sweden. Six Gripens arrived in the country on Monday but three of them had technical defects which have now been repaired, the Defence Ministry said. Eight more are to join the Czech air force by the end of August. The Gripens will be leased for 10 years for almost 20 billion crowns (850 million dollars). The planes are to replace an aging fleet of Soviet MiG-21s.
Siemens VDO, the electronic auto parts maker of engineering giant Siemens, wants to relocate part of its manufacturing activities in Wuerzburg, Southwest Germany, to the Czech Republic in mid-2006 in order to help cut costs, a company spokesman said on Friday. Siemens VDO's factory in the north Moravian city of Ostrava will specialise in the manufacture of technically less complex components, while the company would endeavour to retain as many jobs as possible in Wuerzburg, where the workforce numbers 1,600, the spokesman said. The powerful IG Metall labour union and employee representatives have long expressed concern that most of the Wuerzburg jobs could be relocated to the Czech Republic.
The weekend should be partly cloudy, with occasional rain and daytime temperatures ranging from 16 to 19 degrees Celsius.
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