The Czech Republic has detected its first case of bird flu in a dead swan. Veterinary tests showed the presence of the H5 virus although it will not be clear until Wednesday whether it was the deadly H5N1 variety. The dead bird was found in the Vltava River near the town of Hluboka nad Vltavou in the south of the country. If the potentially deadly H5N1 strain is confirmed, special measures will be taken, including the creation of three and 10-kilometre security zones around the place where the dead bird was found.
Melting snow and persistent rain have resulted in small local floods in some parts of the country. A number of villages in the southern, western and eastern parts of the country are on flood alert as water levels are expected to continue rising on Tuesday due to significantly warmer temperatures. Rain has been forecast for most of this week.
The Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha has said the Albanian authorities continue searching for three Czech students who went missing in the country in 2001. Mr Berisha who came to Prague on Monday for a one day official visit met his Czech counterpart, Jiri Paroubek, as well as President Vaclav Klaus to discuss economic issues and the future of the Balkans. Prime Minister Paroubek told reporters that the Czech Republic supports Albania's future EU membership as it would guarantee stability in the western Balkans.
The daily Mlada Fronta Dnes reported on Monday that a three member delegation led by deputy justice minister Roman Polasek had left for the Bahamas to try to persuade the local authorities to extradite Viktor Kozeny to the Czech Republic rather than the United States. Mr Kozeny is wanted for extensive fraud in both countries. The Czech authorities say that they filed an extradition request before the United States, which on the other hand has been more successful in getting Mr Kozeny arrested and jailed in the Bahamas where he had been living a life of luxury as an Irish citizen.
According to Friday's issue of The Washington Times, the United States is close to completing a deal that will result in the creation of a third ground-based missile interceptor site in Europe. The candidate nations for the site are Poland, the Czech Republic and Britain, a senior U.S. defence official told the paper. More than 100 million dollars is already authorised for the site, which is part of the global U.S. missile defence system now oriented toward Asia. A spokesman for the Czech Defence Ministry said the Czech Republic had not received any specific offer, adding that longterm consultations had been held only at NATO level.
South Korean car giant Hyundai is going to invest up to 1 billion euro in a new factory in the village of Nosovice in North Moravia, the vice-president of Hyundai Motor Company In-Seo Kim told reporters on Monday. The car factory, which will be Hyundai's first European plant, is expected to start production in 2008, with 3,000 direct and 10,000 indirect jobs and 300,000 cars a year rolling off the production lines.
Czech auto producer Skoda Auto has announced it has launched series production of its Roomster family car at its Kvasina plant in the east of the country. At least 15,000 Roomster cars should be produced by the end of the year, with the starting price at 14,260 US dollars, the company, part of the Volkswagen Group, said. The Roomster, the fourth Skoda Auto model, was officially unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show at the end of February. Sales of the car will be launched on main European markets this summer.
President Vaclav Klaus has signed a law under which controlled rents will increase by an average 14.2 percent annually as of January 2007. Rents should be completely deregulated as of 2011. The bill was passed two weeks ago by the lower house. Around 750,000 flats are subject to rent control in the Czech Republic, which is about 1/5 of the country's housing market.
Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek has criticised the violent police action
against protesters in the Belarusian capital Minsk. Opposition
representatives and their supporters had been staging demonstrations since
Alexander Lukashenko won another term as president in a vote last weekend
that is widely believed to have been rigged. Numerous demonstrators are
reported injured and hundreds have been jailed. Mr Paroubek says this a
sign that Mr Lukashenko fears democracy and free speech.
The Czech Foreign Ministry also hopes to support the Belarusian protesters with various aid projects while the government is expected to discuss the granting of study stays to Belarusian students who have been thrown out of their universities as a result of their opposition to the Lukashenko regime.
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