The number of Czech troops in Afghanistan will rise by about 70 due to the planned Czech leadership of the Provincial Reconstruction Team in the Afghan province of Loghar, Chief of Staff Vlastimil Picek said today. At present, the Czech army has 225 soldiers in Afghanistan. They operate in the field hospital in Kabul and in the reconstruction team in the northern province of Badakhshan. The deployment of the Provincial Reconstruction Team is to cost 650 million crowns (30 million USD) and is yet to be approved by the parliament.
Czechoslovak fighter pilots commemorated on Saturday the 63rd anniversary of an air combat in the region of Jindrichuv Hradec in south Bohemia. The battle between the Ally forces and German Luftwaffe, which took place on the 24th of August 1944, was one of the biggest Second World War conflicts to take place in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. Some 20 war veterans with their wives and widows of the deceased pilots attended the event, which took place for the 14th time this year.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Local Development Jiri Cunek criticised the government's plan to privatise the state owned beer brewery Budejovicky Budvar. Mr Cunek said in a TV debate that he preferred a continuous income rather than one-off profit resulting from the company's sale. The opposition Social Democrats have expressed their disagreement with the sale of Budejovicky Budvar earlier this year. The Ministry of Agriculture is currently taking measures for a possible privatisation of the company in the future.
The Czech branch of Greenpeace rejected the planned US radar base because of its health risks and foreign policy impact. Speaking at a public meeting on Saturday, the Greenpeace spokesman said that the construction of the radar base in the Brdy military area could cause problems for gas and petrol deliveries, adding that Russia considered the radar base a provocation and used it as a pretext to make relations tense.
The Czech medical chamber has launched a special training to improve communication between doctors and patients. According to a survey carried out among more than 7000 patients, one third of those who were not given sufficient information about their health and about their medical treatment, have transferred to a different doctor.
Five films were awarded on Saturday evening at the 4th annual Fresh Film Fest, a festival of student films, which got underway in west Bohemian town of Karlovy Vary on Wednesday. Around 200 films have been screened at the festival this year, with 34 in competition. More than 3000 visitors, mostly students of film schools, have attended the festival this year. The Best Film Award went to a Finnish film Lilli by Oliwie Tonteri.
The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohamed
Baradei, said Austria had no reason to worry about the Czech Temelin
nuclear power plant. In an interview for an Austrian magazine Profil, Mr.
Baradei said Austrians should concentrate on the safety of the nuclear
plant rather than on its existence.
The Temelin nuclear plant, situated in south Bohemia near the Austrian and German borders, has been sharply criticised by Austrian and Czech environmentalists as well as some Austrian politicians for allegedly being unsafe. Austrian opponents of Temelin have threatened on Thursday to renew blockades of Czech-Austrian border crossings in mid-September. A Czech-Austrian commission was set up earlier this year to deal with the Temelin issue. According to the chairman of the Czech part, Jan Kasal of the Christian Democrats, the blockades may disturb the committee's work.
Some 9,000 people attended the 7th annual Scottish Highland Games Czech Open at Sychrov Chateau, north of Prague, organized in cooperation with the British national tourism agency VisitBritain. Visitors could see numerous attractions, such as Scottish Highland backpipers, heavyweight athletes or Scottish country dancing and have a taste of Scottish whisky and haggis.
The leader of the opposition Social Democrats, Jiri Paroubek disagrees with the planned changes in the leadership of the key parliamentary committees. Mr Paroubek said in a TV debate that the committees are the only instrument for the opposition to control the government's activities. The Civic Democrats would like to occupy the posts of chairmen of financial, health and controlling committees that are now dominated by the opposition, Lidove Noviny reported on Saturday. They would also like to change the number of deputies in the committees, which now have an equal representation of the opposition and coalition members.
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