Following a day of talks between President Vaclav Klaus and the heads of
the five parliamentary parties, leaders appear to have reached a deal
solving the first step in the political deadlock that ensued following
June's national election. Until now, MPs had not been able to agree on a
candidate for speaker of the lower house, blocking the political process,
and preventing the president from naming anyone prime minister.
The candidate to serve temporarily as speaker is Social Democrat MP Miroslav Vlcek. If he is elected on Monday, President Vaclav Klaus will then appoint Mirek Topolanek whose party, the right-of-centre Civic Democrats won June's election, prime minister.
Mr Topolanek's party has been negotiating support for a minority government this week among the Social Democrats. Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek said on Friday that if his party's candidate is elected, his government will likely hand in its resignation on Tuesday. Mr Paroubek also confirmed that he would replace interim speaker Vlcek in the post if Mr Topolanek heads the new government.
Czech league champions Slovan Liberec have announced the signing of Brazilian striker Joao Francisco de Sales. De Sales, who previously played for Brazilian top flight team Sao Caetano, signed a one year deal with a further two-year option. Slovan Liberec are hoping to qualify for the Champions League group stage following a 0-0 draw at home to Spartak Moscow in the final qualifying round first leg.
Czech police detained a journalist on Friday who tried to test airport security at a regional airport. A police spokesman criticised the move under the current circumstances, referring to the foiled terrorist attempt to bomb airplanes leaving London's Heathrow airport. It has not been decided whether the journalist, from a local Czech newspaper, will face criminal charges. In testing security measures the journalist climbed over a fence and strayed into off-limit areas of the airport.
Japan's largest glass maker, Asahi Glass, said Thursday it plans to invest 100 million euros (128 million dollars) in the building of a new glass furnace in the Czech Republic. Construction of the furnace with a capacity of 700 tonnes a day will start later this year at a factory owned by its European subsidiary Glaverbel S.A., the Japanese company said in a statement. Full-scale production of float glass, which is mainly used for construction and automobiles, will begin at the furnace in 2008.
The two Czech football teams taking part in the final qualifying round of the prestigious Champions League had mixed fortunes on Wednesday night. Mlada Boleslav were beaten 5:2 by Galatasaray in Istanbul, while Slovan Liberec drew 0:0 at home with Spartak Moscow. The second legs of those ties take place in two weeks' time.
The Civic Democratic Party has said that it finds the president's proposal acceptable on condition that the interim head of the lower house would not in any way try to influence the choice of prime minister. Mr. Topolanek, who is most likely to be appointed prime minister designate, said that the mandate of the new Czech government should exceed 2009, when the Czech Republic will preside over the European Union. A shorter term in office would be meaningless, he said. The Social Democrats have indicated that they would be ready to support a minority Civic Democrat government that would include both politicians and experts. There is still controversy between the two parties over who would pick the experts.
The chief inspection authority has fined the chemicals company Snog HK ten million crowns for illegally storing toxic substances on a former factory site in Libcany, east Bohemia. The fine is the highest that can be imposed for this particular transgression but the firm is unlikely to pay since it recently announced bankruptcy. The company's illegal waste dump was uncovered in April. Since then decontamination crews have managed to clear out about a third of the harmful waste. Some 600 tons still remain.
The legendary Czech javelin thrower Jan Zelezny took bronze at the European Athletics Championships in Gothenburg on Wednesday. It was Zelezny's farewell to competitive sport: after an extremely successful career he is retiring at the age of 40. He wasn't the only Czech to reach the podium in Gothenburg - Tomas Janku came second in the men's high jump.
The outgoing prime minister, Jiri Paroubek has indicated that he may run for the post of speaker of the lower house if a political agreement is reached with the other parliamentary parties. The election of a Social Democrat candidate to the post on a temporary basis is part of a compromise proposal made by President Vaclav Klaus this week which is aimed at breaking the deadlock in the lower chamber. Once the lower house has a new leadership the wheels will have been set in motion for the demise of the outgoing cabinet and the appointment of a prime minister designate. Six attempts to elect a new leadership have failed since elections at the start of June.
Prague's Ruzyne Airport has stepped up security in reaction to the news of thwarted terrorist attacks on US bound planes from London on Thursday. The additional security measures concern primarily British and US bound flights and are effective as of today. Passport and security clearance will be tighter and passengers will not be allowed to take any liquids or gels on board. A spokeswoman for Prague's Ruzyne airport said passengers on British and US bound flights were kindly requested to arrive well in advance of boarding i.e. at least two hours ahead of take off. A number of flights from Prague to London were cancelled on Thursday as London's Heathrow airport closed to traffic.
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