The Czech government will most likely name its new candidate to the European Commission by the end of the week, Labour and Social Affairs Minister Zdenek Skromach said on Sunday. The government is forced to find a new representative after Social Democrat MP Milos Kuzvart unexpectedly gave up the post on Friday, saying he did not have enough support from the government, especially the foreign ministry. While the European Commission has called the move "regrettable", Czech politicians were not so diplomatic. Czech President Vaclav Klaus described the situation as a "failure of the nomination process in the government, as well as the candidate himself," while Minister Skromach said in a TV discussion programme that Mr Kuzvart should resign as Member of Parliament. Prime candidates are Czech Ambassador to the Council of Europe Vlasta Stepova, Czech Ambassador to the EU Pavel Telicka, Social Democrat MP and former deputy finance minister Jan Mladek, and a former minister Kvetoslava Korinkova.
Prague police have confirmed that members of a gang of people smugglers have been released from custody due to an administrative error from the Prague 5 state attorney's office. Deputy State Attorney Jaroslava Hedrlinova admitted to Czech TV on Saturday that she had failed to apply for an extension of the custody of six gang members in time. Twelve Asians and three Czechs suspected of smuggling people to Western Europe were arrested under operation Huang last year. They could face up to ten years in prison, if found guilty. Some of the members released from police custody have reportedly left the country, to escape prosecution.
A police dive team is searching for the body of a colleague from Prague, suspected to have drowned in a lake close to the north Bohemian town of Teplice. The police officer was seen swimming in the man-made lake, a flooded former coal mine, on Saturday afternoon. He has been missing since. The lake is often used by the Czech Divers' Union for training, and a local diving instructor suspects the police officer slipped into the dangerous depths without special diving equipment.
Marek Eben is the most popular person in television. Over 37,000 viewers gave him their votes for the annual TyTy television awards, which were held at Prague's Hilton Hotel on Saturday night. The country's leading actors and singers came together to honour achievements in Czech television at the ceremony. Half a million viewers put in their votes. Among the winners were Libuse Safrankova (Best Actress), Viktor Preiss (Best Actor), Pavel Zuna (Best Anchorman), and of course Karel Gott and Lucie Bila (Best Male and Best Female Singers).
Monday will have overcast skies with snow throughout the country and temperatures around zero degrees Celsius.
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