Ornithologists say that certain species of migratory birds are returning to the Czech Republic weeks earlier than usual. Skylarks, starlings and lapwings arrived at their nesting grounds in the previous weeks. Wood pigeons have been spotted this week and a white stork has been observed in the Pilsen region.
Police have charged eight former high-ranking military officers with corruption in connection with public tenders for reconstruction of airports and repair of airport equipment. They allegedly manipulated the awarding of state contracts worth 482 million crowns (over 22 million dollars) between 1997 and 1999. If found guilty, they face between two and five years in prison.
Deputy defence minister, Martin Bartak, who is accompanying President Vaclav Klaus on his visit to the United States has said the Czech Republic will negotiate about material support to its foreign military missions during talks this week about a possible stationing of a US radar base in the Czech Republic. The Czech delegation headed by President Klaus is going to meet US Vice President Dick Cheney and Defence Secretary Robert Gates in Washington on Friday.
A fourteen-year old boy died on a ski slope in Herlikovice in the Krkonose Mountains on Monday morning after he crashed into a tree. He sustained severe head and chest injuries. Mountain rescuers arrived on the scene within five minutes but were unable to save the boy's life. A spokesman for the Mountain Rescue Service said the boy had been wearing a safety helmet. Police are investigating the accident.
The Czech Republic's biggest pharmaceutical company, Zentiva, says it has agreed to buy a 75-percent stake in Turkey's biggest drug company Eczacibasi Generic Pharmaceuticals for 460 million euros. The Czech company, which already has plants in Slovakia and Romania, added that it will also have the right to buy the remaining 25 percent of the company within two years. Zentiva's biggest shareholder is French-based drugs company Sanofi Aventis which has a 24.9-percent stake. Zentiva shares are traded on the Prague and London stock exchanges.
The opposition Social Democrats say they have not paid lawyer Zdenek Altner the sum of 165 million crowns he demanded them to send him by Monday. Mr Altner says he is owed a large sum from the Social Democrats for services he gave them in a legal dispute over the ownership of the party's headquarters seven years ago. Mr Altner says that in the meantime the party's debt has risen to close to 20 billion crowns due to fines and late-payment penalties. He is to announce his further steps on Wednesday.
NATO's Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer has said negotiations about the stationing of a US anti-missile base are a bilateral issue of the United States and the country in question. After meeting Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek in Brussels on Monday, Mr de Hoop Scheffer said the US project nevertheless speeded up talks within NATO on its own anti-missile shield. Prime Minister Topolanek said he welcomed further discussion within the alliance and said bilateral talks with the United States were the beginning of such a process.
Carmakers from the Czech Republic and Slovakia are going to present their new models at the upcoming International Motor Show in Geneva. Czech Skoda Auto is going to reveal its new Skoda Fabia. The Korean carmaker Hyundai is going to present the car it plans to produce at its new plant in Nosovice in North Moravia. Its sister company Kia Motors Corporation will show two automobiles that will be produced at its Slovak plant in Zilina.
According to a new Eurostat survey, the Czech Republic has the second lowest number of women with university education in the European Union. Less than 13 percent of Czech women between 25 and 59 years of age have a university degree. The EU average for women is 24 percent. Finland, Denmark and Estonia have the highest number of university-educated women, Romania has the lowest.
Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek who is on an official visit to Brussels
has said the Czech Republic will not block talks on reviving a European
Union constitution but warned negotiations could drag on as his
government may need time to debate a compromise. After meeting European
Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso on Monday, Mr Topolanek said
talks might go faster than he anticipated if EU governments agreed to
discuss a slimmed-down version compared to the rejected text.
The Czech government is divided on the European constitution. Environment Minister Martin Bursik would like to see discussion on the original text, rejected by voters in France and the Netherlands. Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, Deputy Prime Minister Alexandr Vondra and President Vaclav Klaus have repeatedly spoken in favour of a revision of the original text.
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