Russian foreign affairs minister Sergey Lavrov has said the United States should suspend all discussions on building a missile defence system in Central Europe until a Russian proposal for cooperation with the US on dealing with missile threats is considered. Speaking after President George Bush had confirmed that Poland and the US were firmly behind a plan to build a rocket base in Poland as part of a missile defence shield that would also use a proposed Czech radar base, Mr Lavrov said that it was necessary to "freeze" the deployment of a missile defence system in Europe for a period of study and analysis as well as further negotiations on the issue. The Russian foreign minister was making his remarks two days after Moscow surprised many by offering to let the US use a Russian base in Azerbaijan for its missile defence shield in return for not building a facility in Europe.
A man who was denied security clearance by the Czech National Security Agency attended a meeting between George Bush and opposition leader Jiri Paroubek, Lidove Noviny reports. Mr Paroubek's adviser Ivan Busniak attended the meeting last Tuesday even though he is not cleared to have access to confidential information that might endanger the state. It is unlikely that President Bush, who met with Mr Paroubek to discuss building a proposed radar base in the Czech Republic, knew about Mr Busniak's security status. Mr Paroubek, for his part, said he was "completely indifferent" to what sort of vetting his advisor had hen asked by reporters about the matter.
President Vaclav Klaus has criticised the G8 group's recent decision to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Writing in Czech daily Mlada fronta Dnes, Mr Klaus asked the leaders of the world's seven most developed countries and Russia if they had any idea how they were going to secure their stated goals regarding greenhouse gases and if they had the right to be interfering in billions of people's lives in fifty year's time long after their mandate had expired. President Klaus, who is notoriously sceptical about climate change, reiterated his belief that there is no scientific evidence proving that human activity was responsible for global warming. He also said that the "green" movement by forcing politicians to hinder spontaneous economic development was more of a global danger at present than climate change.
The fire department in Zlin has had to cope with an unusually high number of bee swarms in the Moravian town. Over the past two weeks, the fire brigade has answered several dozen calls for help in dealing with bees that have been congregating in populated areas, including the city centre. Fire department workers have been busy using special vacuum devices to "liquidate" the swarms.
Controversial Czech businessman Tomas Pitr has had a nervous breakdown and is in a psychiatric facility in north Bohemia, according to Mlada fronta Dnes. One of Pitr's aides told the Czech daily on Sunday that Mr Pitr was not seeing visitors or talking to anyone at the healthcare facility. On Friday, a Prague court issued European and international warrants for Mr Pitr's arrest after he failed to show up to serve a five-year prison term for tax evasion. Mr Pitr - one of the Czech Republic's richest men - has lodged an appeal against his sentence with the Supreme Court.
The Supreme State Attorney Renata Vesecka wants to take the unusual step of addressing parliament following her dismissal of Radim Obst, the state attorney in charge of the corruption case taken against Deputy Prime Minister Jiri Cunek. A spokeswoman for Ms Vesecka said on Saturday that the Supreme State Attorney wanted to address MPs in order to clear up what she described as "untruthful and biased information" regarding the Cunek case. Mr Obst was replaced on Friday by another attorney over a procedural mistake. The move brought strong reaction from the opposition during a parliamentary session on Friday, which was interrupted after both Social Democrat and Communist MPs failed to push through a debate on the matter. The Social Democrats have accused the government of trying to manipulate proceedings and have said they may consider calling for a vote of no-confidence in the centre-right government. Mr Cunek has been under investigation for several months now over allegations that he accepted a bribe while mayor of the Moravian town of Vsetin five years ago.
A twelve-year-old boy has drowned in a pond near the Bohemian town of Zavlekov. The boy and two friends were sailing on a raft in the pond when it capsized. He immediately disappeared below the surface of the water while the other two boys swam safely to shore. Special police diving teams have been called in to help find the youth's body.
Citizens in nine municipalities in the Pribram and Rokycany districts held local referenda on Saturday regarding the building of a proposed US radar base in the nearby military area of Brdy. Voters were asked whether city representatives should take every legal measure possible to prevent the construction of the base, which America wants to build as part of its proposed missile defence system against rogue states like Iran. So far ten municipalities in the Central Bohemian and Pilsen regions have held referenda on the construction of the base. All have rejected the idea of building a radar facility in Brdy, but these polls have no legal impact on the actions of the Czech government. All the results of Saturday's referenda should be known by Sunday morning.
A court has issued European and international warrants for the arrest of convicted Czech businessman Tomas Pitr, who has so far avoided beginning a five year prison sentence for tax evasion. Mr Pitr's lawyers have said they have not been in contact with their client recently. Prague Municipal Court chairman Petr Novak stressed the European and international warrants on Friday were issued as a preventive measure if Mr Pitr attempted to escape the country. He added there was no evidence he had already done so. Tomas Pitr - one of the richest businessmen in the Czech Republic - has appealed his case to the Supreme Court. His current whereabouts are unknown and he is wanted by the Czech police.
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