The Czech Republic puts less money into its education system than most other members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD. This according to the OECD's latest statistics in Education at a Glance - a comparative study of education systems of member countries - published on Tuesday. While the Czech Republic spent a mere 4.2 percent of its GDP, other OECD members have spent 6.2 percent on average. Education at a Glance is a publication that is updated every year and enables countries to see themselves in the light of other countries' performances.
Czech police said on Tuesday that a man suspected of trying to kill a casino owner in Prague last month by detonating a hand grenade under his car on a busy street has been arrested in Israel. The failed attack left eighteen people, mainly foreign tourists, injured. The suspect is said to be a 27-year-old man from a former Soviet state, who is now an Israeli citizen. He was identified after his DNA was found on clothes left in a basement near the crime scene along with a wig, a gun and another hand grenade. Police believe he left the Czech Republic on the same day of the attack. The Czech authorities have asked for him to be extradited to the Czech Republic.
Several schools throughout the Czech Republic observed a minute's silence on Tuesday in memory of the victims of the Beslan school siege last week, which saw at least 330 killed and over 700 injured. Last Wednesday, European Parliament President Josep Borrell called onto thousands of schools around Europe, to hold a minute of silence on September 14.
Police have arrested a man suspected of the murder of a Czech priest. The murder took place on Saturday in the Usti nad Labem region, during an apparent robbery attempt. The victim was 78-year-old Ladislav Kubicek. The suspect, 26-year-old Rudolf Samko, allegedly hit the victim in the head several times before setting the building he was in on fire. Mr Samko was found on Tuesday, a few metres away from a Czech-Austrian border crossing in southern Moravia.
The Justice Minister, Pavel Nemec, has said he is considering lowering the age of criminal responsibility for children from 15 to 12 years in cases of particularly serious crimes. Children should be held criminally responsible in cases of murder, grievous bodily harm and robbery. The latest debate over lowering the age of criminal responsibility for children was sparked recently by a number of murders committed by children. In August, a group of children killed and robbed an elderly woman in her home and last week, police identified a 14-year-old boy as the murderer of a 13-year-old girl, his classmate, who was found stabbed to dead in January this year.
Jan Beranek was re-elected the chairman of the non-parliamentary Green Party at its national conference on Saturday, narrowly defeating his only rival, the Prague branch head Petr Stepanek, by nine of the total of 193 votes cast in the ballot. The vote marked the culmination of recent internal disputes in the party over its management style. With 900 members, the Greens say they are aiming to enter the lower house in the 2006 general elections.
Iraqi officials have asked Prague for arms supplies recently due to the Baghdad government's critical shortage of weapons needed to fight rebel groups and criminal gangs in Iraq, Monday's edition of the newspaper Pravo reports. The daily quotes an Iraqi official as saying that the government forces have nothing but Kalashnikovs with which to take on terrorists armed with missile launchers and machine guns. Three high Iraqi officials visited Prague this summer. In July, it was the Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani, in August the Water Resources Minister Abdul-Latif Rashid, and last week it was the Culture Minister Mufid al-Jazairi. According to the daily, all the three delegations mentioned Baghdad's interest in Czech weapons.
Prague's Attorney's Office has sent a request to strip Vladimir Zelezny of European Parliamentary immunity which would allow the MP to face criminal charges at home. The request, which is the 2nd put forward in Mr Zelezny's case, was received by the justice ministry, which will now pass it on to the European Parliament. It concerns two incidents in which Mr Zelezny is charged: harming a creditor, as well as tax evasion, during the days when Mr Zelezny was the head of the Czech Republic's most successful private TV broadcaster TV Nova.
Defence ministry Deputy Minister Martin Belcik has revealed that
negotiations on sending Czech ammunition to Afghanistan are drawing to
an end. The proposal to donate ammunition to Afghanistan's army under
President Hamid Karzai, must now be agreed upon by the Czech
government. The Czech Army needs to get rid of thousands of tonnes of
unneeded ammunition left over from the former Czechoslovak Army: some
39,000 tonnes are slated to be destroyed later this year, while a
further 27, 000 tonnes can be donated, or even sold.
On Monday Mr Belcik refused to comment what type of calibre ammunition Afghanistan's army might receive.
The new Afghani army counts some 13, 000 soldiers, while the number of police officers in the country now count more than twice that number. The actual transport of the Czech ammunition, if agreed upon, would be organised by the United States.
Vaclav Havel, former president of the Czech Republic, was named on Monday as the winner of the 200,000-dollar Seoul Peace Prize for his efforts to promote democracy. He is the seventh winner of the prize which was established in 1990. Previous recipients include the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and international relief organisations such as Doctors Without Borders and Oxfam. The peace foundation praised Mr Havel as "living testimony to the democratisation" of his country. Vaclav Havel was involved in the human rights movement in the face of the Soviet invasion in 1968 and became one of the prominent figures among Czech intellectuals calling for democracy as an alternative to communism. He served as president of Czechoslovakia from 1989 to 1992 and between 1993 and 2003 he was president of the Czech Republic.