The newly appointed Prime Minister, Jiri Paroubek, has asked for a confidence vote in his government to be taken on May 13. The date was reportedly chosen to coincide with an official visit to the Czech Republic by the German chancellor, Gerhard Shroder, who will arrive in Prague the week beginning May 15. The news paper Mlada fronta Dnes reported that the chancellor Shroeder was originally due to visit Prague this week, but his visit had to be postponed due to delays in choosing a new Czech prime minister.
In related news, the German cabinet has approved a draft law aimed at preventing cheap labour from Eastern Europe from undercutting wages. The draft law sets minimum wages for foreigners working in certain professions and would make it more expensive to hire Czech brick-layers or butchers, for example. Berlin is also looking to crack down on independent contractors based in the Czech border regions from circumventing the seven-year restrictions on the free movement of labour that Germany imposed on new European Union members states.
Several prominent Social Democrat deputies have said they intend to found a left faction within the ruling party on May 14, one day after the confidence vote in Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek's government. The MPs include former Foreign Minister Jan Kavan, who is pushing for the party to have greater influence at the ministry, starting with the appointment of a Social Democrat to the position of deputy foreign minister. MPs Vladimir Lastuvka, Ivan David and Josef Hojdar are among those involved in forming the new faction.
Four Chinese nationals have been taken into custody on suspicion of having illegally imported and sold some $30 million worth of textiles and other goods, on which customs duties and VAT was not paid. The Chinese nationals were arrested following an eight-month-long investigation. The arrests themselves took place over two days during an action codenamed "List". Police searched 15 homes and several storage facilities during the raid. They seized over $4 million in cash. The Chinese nationals each face up to 12 years in prison.
The majority of Czechs are in favour of reinstating the death penalty, according to a new poll by the CVVM agency. Some 28 percent said they were "definitely" in favour of capital punishment; 38 percent said they were "inclined" towards it. Only nine percent of those polled said they were "definitely" against bringing back the death penalty, which was abolished exactly 15 years ago, by the government that took over after the fall of communism. The CVVM agency found that pensioners, non-religious people, and those without formal education tend to favour the death penalty, as do
The daytime temperature in Prague reached 28.9 degrees Celsius on Monday making it the hottest day on record here since 1934. Temperatures are due to drop off to 20 to 24 degrees on Tuesday and Wednesday, with light rain bringing some relief from the heat.
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