Czech industrial output rose by 12.7 percent in March on a 12-month comparison after 15.4 percent in February, the Czech Statistical Office announced on Tuesday. In March, industrial production rose by 2.3 percent compared with February. February's output was 1.9 percent higher than January. A rise in production of transport equipment was the main factor fuelling the third successive month of double digit growth along with increases in production of electrical and optical equipment and machinery and equipment, the office added. Industrial orders were 6.3 percent higher in March compared with the same month a year earlier, the office said.
South African environmental inspectors discovered 10 poisonous snakes smuggled in video cassette cases when they searched a suspicious package at a post office, officials said on Monday. Working on a tip-off, the inspectors seized the package sent from the Czech Republic and opened the cases to find live albino monocle cobras, Arabian saw-scaled vipers, Namibian spitting cobras and Australian Taipans, reputed to be the most poisonous snake on earth. The snakes have been placed in a zoo in Pretoria.
The Czech football player Patrik Berger has agreed on a new contract which will keep him at English club Aston Villa for one more year. The 33-year-old midfielder impressed Villa boss Martin O'Neill with a string of good performances in the second half of the season just ended. Berger previously played for Slavia Prague, Dortmund, Liverpool and Portsmouth and has scored 44 goals in 221 appearances in England.
Georgia's parliamentary president, Nino Burdzhanadze, on Monday called on the Czech Republic to diversify its energy sources by backing a trans-Caucasian gas pipeline that would avoid transiting Russia. Speaking at a news conference at the Prague headquarters of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Mr Burdzhanadze said it was important to think about security but also about energy independence and added his country suggested using alternative sources like Azerbaijan and Georgia. The call followed the weekend singing of a gas agreement between Russia, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan aimed at increasing the latter's gas exports to Russia. Western European countries fear the move could make them more dependent on gas from Russia whereas they have been seeking to reduce their dependence on power shipments via Russian pipelines.
A Czech police officer who was injured during an attack on a Czech diplomat in Afghanistan earlier this month has been transported to Prague and underwent surgery on Tuesday to remove grenade fragments from his eye. He is now reported to be in a stable condition. The attack against a Czech diplomat in which his two Czech bodyguards suffered injuries happened on May 1. Rebels opened fire at a car carrying the head of the Czech diplomatic mission in Kabul Filip Velach. He escaped unharmed but three of the attackers were killed and two Czech bodyguards injured in the crossfire. The Czech embassy in Kabul re-opened in mid-April.
The city of Prague is going to celebrate the 650th anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone of Prague's Charles Bridge built by Emperor Charles IV. The city hall plans to stage re-enactments of historical events, organise concerts and open typical medieval markets. The celebrations will be held from July 6 to July 9. City councillor Milan Richter told reporters the festivities are expected to become one of the main tourist attractions this season.
Fire fighters have finally extinguished a blaze at an illegal dump full of rubbish from Germany. The fire at the dump near the North Bohemian village of Dolni Rasnice started on Saturday evening and the cause is still unclear. Five units from the Frydlant district took turns at the site filled with toxic smoke. In the last 18 months there have been other cases of German waste being illegally imported and burned in the Czech Republic.
Police have deployed 60 more officers to search for a 13-year old girl who
ran away from a children's home in Brno on Friday night where she had been
placed earlier that day. The girl, called Anna, who reportedly suffers
from social phobia and autism, had been previously staying in the house of
a thirty-year old woman who was arrested last week after a neighbour
discovered she kept her eight-year old son Ondrej naked and bound in the
dark in a storage room. Ondrej is now in hospital care and is reported to
be in a stable condition. His elder brother Jakub remains in a children's
Meanwhile police are trying to determine the true identity of the missing girl. It is also still unclear whether she left the children's home on her own, whether someone assisted her in her escape or whether she was kidnapped. The mother of the two boys and Anna's foster mother, Klara Mauerova, a child psychology student, has been remanded in custody and could face up to eight years in prison.
The CTK news agency reports that Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek met former Prime Minister and Social Democrat chairman Milos Zeman at the weekend. According to Mr Topolanek, they discussed the details of next year's state budget. Mr Topolanek denied speculation that they talked about Mr Zeman's possible influence on certain Social Democrat MPs in an upcoming crucial vote on the government-proposed package of public finance reforms. Although Milos Zeman retired from politics in 2002, politicians from different parties have been coming to his country house in the Vysocina Mountains to consult current political affairs with him.
The CTK news agency reports that a briefcase containing files relating to the case of fugitive Czech businessman Radovan Krejcir, which was found on the street in Brno, had been stolen from Milan Horvath, the head of the serious fraud department of the Supreme State Attorney's Office. The documents had been reportedly stolen from Mr Horvath's car last Tuesday. Police arrested the thief, who tried to sell the documents, on Thursday. The Supreme State Attorney, Renata Vesecka, has said she will decide on the form of reprehension for Mr Horvath on Wednesday. Police say the files were by no means stolen on Mr Krejcir's orders. Mr Krejcir, who is wanted on charges of fraud and murder, is currently in custody in South Africa, from where the Czech Republic is seeking his extradition.
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