Daily news summary News

24-04-2005

Gross aims to rejuvenate Social Democrats for elections next year

Outgoing Prime Minister Stanislav Gross has said he will set all personal ambitions aside in order to help the Social Democratic Party prepare for national elections next year. On Sunday Mr Gross suggested the Social Democrats needed to come up with an attractive, perhaps new, list of candidates. The outgoing prime minister made the comments on a popular news talk show. During the broadcast Mr Gross rejected any suggestion he might step down as chairman of the Social Democrats, saying that he wanted his party to unite. In his words holding an extraordinary party congress now would be political "suicide".

Filip outlines conditions under which the Communists might back new govn't

Speaking on the same programme Communist Deputy Chairman Vojtech Filip outlined conditions under which the Communist Party might back the new government in a confidence vote. He said the Communists will reconsider their stance if the new coalition ties the vote to proposed legislation on the "declaration of property", a bill monitoring property ownership. Outgoing Prime Minister Stanislav Gross indicated that some form of declaration of property will be part of proposed legislation on "the conflict of interest". It is not clear whether such legislation would apply retroactively. Mr Gross stressed the new law would have to stand up in Constitutional Court.

Communist representatives meet in Prague

Sunday saw the continuation of a two-day conference in Prague attended by communist representatives from 32 countries, including China. The conference, attended by Czech Communist Party leader Miroslav Grebenicek, has drawn criticism from several groups, including the Confederation for Political Prisoners. A handful of protestors also demonstrated outside the conference venue at the weekend.

In the Czech Republic the Communists have been largely frozen out of top political decision-making since 1989, although they finished third in the country's last elections.

Gross sides with MEPs in Klaus "EU row"

On Sunday outgoing Prime Minister Stanislav Gross sided with two leading members of the European Parliament over a row that erupted between the two and President Vaclav Klaus earlier in the week. The two EP members, EP vice-president Alejo Vidal-Quadras and EP Constitutional Committee head Jo Leinen, drew fire from Mr Klaus after they criticised him for his stance on the EU constitutional treaty. On Sunday, the Czech prime minister backed their argument by saying that some of the statements Mr Klaus had made about the treaty were "misleading".

The outgoing prime minister also criticised the president for his reaction in the row, which he sees as inappropriate. Mr Klaus has said he took offence to the MEP's words as the head of state of a sovereign EU country. He is currently expecting to receive an official apology.

Body found in melting snow

Melting snow has led to a body being uncovered in North Bohemia's Krkonose Mountains. Police at the scene, some 12 kilometres from the ski resort of Spinleruv Mlyn, have not ruled out foul play. They say the person found was likely to have died before first snowfall last year. Dressed for autumn weather, the body has apparently lain there several months.

Czech gum chewing comparable to other European countries

A study by a private company in the confectionary field has shown that Czechs chew just about the same amount of chewing gum as their fellow Europeans: an average 13 packs per month, comparable to 15 for Italians, and 16 for Brits. According to the company (PVM CR), Poles fall behind at just 6. Czech sales last year were worth about 1.6 billion crowns, just under 70 million U.S. dollars.

Baros doubtful for Liverpool - Chelsea match-up

Liverpool footballer Milan Baros looks doubtful to start in the upcoming semi-final Champions League match: on Wednesday his side faces off against London's Chelsea. Baros may miss the first-leg showdown after he suffered a knee-injury in the English Premiership at the weekend. He limped off in the 37th minute in a rough-and-tumble match against Crystal Palace.

Afterwards, Liverpool coach Rafael Benitez defended Baros by indicating the striker had been the target of particularly physical play.

Weather

The start of the week should see moderate if cloudy weather, with daytime highs of around 17 degrees Celsius. There is a chance of rain on Tuesday and sunshine mid-week.

24-04-2005