Czech Railways is gradually decreasing the number of conductors on its trains, Mlada fronta Dnes reported. In an effort to save money, the company has increased the number of trains on which passengers stamp their own tickets in special machines. A quarter of Czech Railways routes - mostly in the regions - are now without conductors.
Between now and general elections in June the government is only planning one major privatisation, the sell-off of plane makers Aero Vodochody, Finance Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said on Friday. Mr Sobotka said the privatisation of the Czech national airline, CSA, would be a task for a future government.
Culture Minister Vitezslav Jandak has signed a contract allowing a controversial revolving theatre in the park of Cesky Krumlov's castle and chateau to remain in place for at least two more years. It had been due to be removed this year after protests from preservationists, who say it does not belong in the Baroque park.
Three teenagers at a home for problem children in Boletice, north Bohemia have been accused of planning to kill one of their supervisors and escape from the institution. The three were being held in a special section for perpetrators of murder and other violent crimes. As they are under the age of 15 the boys cannot be prosecuted.
Some 30 Czech soldiers, who are part of a NATO-led contingent providing humanitarian aid in Pakistan, are set to wrap up their mission and return to the Czech Republic next week. The Czechs have been in Pakistan for almost a quarter of a year, arriving roughly two weeks after the country was hit by a devastating earthquake in October. In tandem with Dutch health workers, Czech military health officials treated some 6,000 patients during their stay in Pakistan. When they depart next week, the Czech unit will escort 11 Pakistanis, mostly children, requiring special medical attention in the Czech Republic.
Former international striker Fredi Bobic of Germany has admitted he is considering an offer from Czech football club Sparta Prague. Mr Bobic told the Czech daily "Sport" he was not against the move, saying he was willing to sit down and discuss the offer. The 34-year-old player, a member of Germany's victorious team from Euro '96, is currently training with an amateur team in Stuttgart. Bobic racked up 37 caps playing for Germany's national side, and played 285 games in Germany's first division Bundesliga. Sparta Prague are currently looking for ways to vamp up their team after a disappointing fall season.
Police in Brussels have arrested a Czech arms dealer Dalibor Kopp, wanted since 2004 on an international warrant for allegedly trying to illegally import munitions into Iraq. In the past Mr Kopp faced charges in Liberia and was accused of having ties to Arab terrorist organisations. His arrest Thursday took place at around 6:30 am at Brussel's international airport. The Czech Republic will reportedly now seek his extradition. If found guilty of illegal arms trafficking, Mr Kopp could face up to ten years in prison.
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