New Czech troops have arrived in Afghanistan as part of rotating forces serving in the multi-national ISAF mission under NATO. The Czechs will serve at Kabul airport for a period of four months, beginning on December 1st. For the first time a Czech, Colonel Bohuslav Dvorak, will take over the command of forces at the airport - some 500 soldiers and specialists from NATO member states, as well as Afghanistan. The Czech unit alone is made up of 47 specialists.
The leader of the Communist Party Vojtech Filip has warned against what he has called "fascistic tendencies" by those in power, indicating some circles were bent on banning ideas and not defending the rights of individuals. Mr Filip was speaking at an international conference titled "Communists and other Democratic Forces for Human Rights and Democracy in Europe and the World". At the conference, the party leader also reportedly criticised a recent ban on the Communist Party's youth organisation by the Interior Ministry, and also criticised steps taken by city hall in the Moravian town of Vsetin, where rent-defaulters were moved to new facilities. The Communist Party led by Mr Filip remains the sole unreformed communist party in the former eastern bloc, criticised by many as "Neo-Stalinist".
Footballer Stephen Hunt, who plays for Reading in the English premiership, has indicated he would like to meet with Czech goalkeeper Petr Cech, recovering from skull surgery that followed the pair's horrific collision during a match in October. The midfielder, who said the collision was an accident, has told the newspaper The Times he would like to meet with Czech during the upcoming Christmas holidays. Earlier, the player sent the Czech keeper a letter but received no reply. It is thought that Cech, who plays for Chelsea and is also the national team's No. 1 goalkeeper, will be out for months before he fully recovers.
The Czech newspaper Mlada Fronta Dnes has reported that a close aide to
the prime minister has been attempting to win over a Social Democrat MP
- who recently left his deputies' group - to back a three-party
government excluding the Social Democrats. The news comes ahead of what
many see as a crucial week in talks. The Saturday edition of Mlada
Fronta Dnes writes that the aide, Marek Dalik, claimed he had MP Michal
Pohanka in his camp. The news, however, has been denied by Mr Dalik,
according to a government spokesman. The Social Democrats' Jiri
Paroubek has also reacted, saying he felt that the prime minister
should apologise for his aide's words.
As it stands, the Social Democrats are weighing a four-party proposal put forward by Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek this week. They have said they will make public their decision on Monday. But, many are sceptical the party will agree to a deal, given the Social Democrats have opposed early elections in 2008.
A thirty-five-year old man who has admitted to a hit-and-run injuring a
fifteen-year old boy has been remanded in custody following a court
order in Brno. The man has been charged with attempted murder; the
investigation is expected to take several months. The hit-and-run took
place last Thursday night: the victim struck landed on the back of the
driver's vehicle, breaking the rear window and luggage compartment. The
driver - who was not alone in the car - then reportedly drove home
before discovering the boy's presence. The injured fifteen year-old,
suffering numerous cuts and both his legs broken, was then dumped by
the driver at a forest. The victim had to crawl back to the roadside,
where he was only discovered by another driver in the morning and taken
If found guilty in the case, the suspect could face up to fifteen years in prison.
The Czech airline CSA has said it has given up plans to buy new
long-haul aircraft and might even sell its current four Airbus 310
planes. Earlier, the carrier had sounded out both Boeing of the United
States and Europe's Airbus about the purchase of new aircraft. But, a
spokeswoman said on Friday intentions had changed. CSA,
majority-owned by the state, will decide whether to sell its existing four Airbus aircraft by next summer. The planes are currently used on scheduled routes to New York, Toronto, Montreal and Dubai, as well as on charter flights. Their sale will not necessarily mean that CSA will abandon its long haul routes. The carrier can decide to lease long haul planes instead.
This year the airline expects to post a full-year loss of around 500 million crowns (the equivalent of around 23 million dollars). It is hoping to return to profit in 2008 following major restructuring.
A new poll released by the STEM agency has suggested that a majority of
Czechs are dissatisfied with the continuing political deadlock.
According to the poll, only sixteen percent of respondents said they
were happy with performance by the government as well as Parliament.
Another poll, conducted by CVVM, showed the number even lower: at just
The highest satisfaction with the government in recent years came in 2002 - shortly after the country was hit by catastrophic floods; the lowest was then during the leadership of former Prime Minister Stanislav Gross, who faced allegations of irregularities in his personal finances.
Police have reportedly arrested a man being described as the main heroin supplier for the city of Ostrava in eastern Moravia. The suspect is believed to have trafficked heroin to the area for the last two years. The suspect was arrested with 130 grams of the drug on his person. The amount is worth around 500,000 crowns - the equivalent of more than 23,000 US dollars. Police monitored the suspect over the period of several months. Recent statistics suggest there are some 18,000 - 20,000 drug users in Ostrava, the hardest drugs including heroin and a local methamphetamine known as pervetin.
Czech police have completed the investigation of alleged corruption concerning the privatisation of oil and chemicals concern Unipetrol, in which a former head of the prime minister's office, Zdenek Dolezal, was accused of trying to bribe a Polish lobbyist. The amount: five million crowns. The incident was recorded by hidden camera and broadcast by commercial broadcaster TV Nova, triggering the scandal. Police have not yet decided whether to recommend Mr Dolezal be prosecuted. If he is - and is found guilty - he could face up to 12 years in prison.
The Civic Democrat MP David Seich has admitted to drinking and driving. The member of Parliament was stopped late at night by police this week after driving the wrong way on a one-way street. A breathalyser revealed a high alcohol level, but the MP refused a blood test and has said he had only one drink.. The MP apologised to the media and the public, saying he was giving up Parliamentary immunity in favour of a police investigation. He called his actions "a mistake" and said he would accept the consequences.
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