In related news, the Ukrainian deputy prime minister Mykola Azarov has said that plans by the United States to build an anti-missile defence system in neighbouring Poland and the Czech Republic pose a "threat" to Ukraine. He insisted that Kiev should react strongly to the situation, referring to the 1962 missile crisis between the US and Cuba. The US plans have also provoked protests from Russian officials.
The Interior Minister's decision comes amid media reports that the head of the Czech branch of Interpol was a secret police agent before 1989. The daily Lidove noviny reported on Monday that he used a false name when acquiring security clearance. Interior Minister Ivan Langer confirmed to the paper that Pavol Mihal used the name Pavel Mihal when applying for the clearance. Last week Czech Television reported that Mr Mihal had begun collaborating with the communist secret police in 1984.
The state company which administers Prague's Ruzyne airport could fetch up to 65 billion CZK (around 3 billion USD) when it is sold off within the next couple of years, Tyden reported. The weekly said a number of large foreign investors were interested in acquiring Letiste Praha (Prague Airport). It is one of the last major privatisations expected in the Czech Republic. Ruzyne handled a record 11.5 million passengers last year.
The police officer who confessed last week to selling a photograph of the dead body of composer Karel Svoboda to a tabloid newspaper has been charged with abuse of office. After Mr Svoboda committed suicide last Sunday a photo appeared in the tabloid Blesk showing the dead man's hand and a pistol. The officer, who is 22 and has been in the police for two years, was a member of the first team to arrive on the scene. If convicted he faces up to 3 years in prison.
The chairman of the opposition Social Democrats, Jiri Paroubek, says his party's negative stance towards the planned US radar base in the Czech Republic may not be definitive. After meeting the US Ambassador to the Czech Republic, Richard Graber, on Monday, Mr Paroubek said his party's position may change should the upcoming negotiations produce new information or if the base became part of NATO's collective defence system.
The National Museum has declared a tender to renovate the national memorial on Prague's Vitkov hill, the weekly Euro reported. Work should begin on the monument this spring and last about two years. When completed the memorial will house an exhibition entitled Crossroads of Czech Statehood. There are also plans to open a terrace café with a view of the capital.
Interior Minister Ivan Langer has charged police president Vladislav Husak with examining the validity of police officers' screening certificates. Minister Langer said the checks will concern some 1,000 people. Police officers are required to produce a screening certificate proving they did not collaborate with the communist secret police before 1989.
Data released by the Czech Statistical Office on Monday show the Czech Republic posted a record trade surplus of 47.3 billion crowns (2.19 billion US dollars) in 2006. Strong sales of cars and other transport equipment and machinery, where the trade surplus widened to 64.6 billion crowns, helped the country beat 2005's record surplus by 8.7 billion crowns.
The government has vowed to increase the share of bio-fuels in petrol and diesel consumption in transport to 10 percent by 2020 and by the same year reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by 20 percent compared to the year 1990. Environment Minister Martin Bursik said the government will submit a new document on the country's energy policy to the European Commission next week.
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