The country's Defence Ministry has awarded a contract, worth 28 million crowns, for the installation of radios and GPS equipment in Iveco armoured vehicles to the company MEDTEC-VOP, Defence Ministry spokeswoman Jana Zechmeisterova has told the Czech news agency. The representative said the firm won the deal in an open tender by offering the most advantageous price. The Czech Army was given the Ivecos from the US under a programme in which the US helps equip allied forces. "As the delivery of the goods from the USA lasted almost three years, the installation of the equipment could not be conducted as part of the contract concluded with PRAGA-Export in 2009" Ms Zechmeisterova said. The contract mainly relates to the installation of radios and receivers of the GPS signal. The donated Ivecos are already being used by various units in the Czech Army.
Several dozen people took part in a special mass on Saturday at Prague's St Vitus cathedral marking 20 years since the death of Cardinal František Tomášek. The mass was led by Prague Archbishop Dominik Duka. The archbishop recalled Tomášek was persecuted by the former Communist regime, spending three years at a labour camp at the monastery in želiv before he was released in 1954. The cardinal had displayed unwavering strength and optimism despite living most of his life under the former regime, Archbishop Duka said.
The Deputy Speaker of the European Parliament, Social Democrat Libor Rouček slammed presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney in a Social Democratic Party blog, writing that the world "did not deserve as its most powerful politician" another "paler version" of George W. Bush. In the blog, Mr Rouček referred to Mitt Romney's recent foreign trip to London, Israel and Poland, slamming the candidate for a number of controversial statements that stirred the political waters. in the past Mr Romney has referred to Poland's neighbor, Russia, as America's number one geopolitical foe. In Mr Rouček's view - the candidate went as far as to damage US interests in the Middle East through comments pertaining to the Palestinians and Israel, referring to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Polls in the US suggest that Mr Romney continues to trail incumbent Barack Obama, if only just.
Some 150 Czech Romanies to be evicted over poor technical and sanitary conditions from the Prednadrazi slum in Ostrava would not leave by a set deadline, Jan Bandy, a member of the local self-rule body created by the tenants, told the Czech news agency on Saturday. The relocation was ordered by the planning and building authority on the grounds that the buildings were no longer inhabitable. Mr Bandy said the locals had instead decided implement minor repairs; Bandy said there were still some 25 families or 180 people in the houses, many of them children. Indian-born activist Kumar Vishwanathan, from the civic group Co-Existence - helping the residents - confirmed that they had opted to repair the old homes gradually.
Senator Jiří Dienstbier, the Social Democratic Party’s nominee for president, officially launched his campaign on Friday near the presidential Lány Chateau. As part of his campaign, the candidate intends to receive backing from at least 50,000 voters. Technically, as a parliamentary party nominee, Mr Dienstbier has no need of the signatures that non-party candidates must amass in order to run. But he made clear that he felt it was a minimal requirement he would fulfil. Thirteen others are at various stages of preparing their candidacies ahead of the country’s first-ever direct presidential elections, to be held early next year. One of those aiming to get elected, former prime minister Miloš Zeman, has already received the 50,000 signatures required.
Czech rower Ondřej Synek, who secured the Czech Republic’s second medal at the Olympic Games in London on Friday, has expressed more than satisfaction with the result. The Czech competitor came in second place in the 200m race with a time of 6:59.37, beaten only by New Zealand’s Mahé Drysdale, who clinched a time of 6:57.82. Synek told idnes that afterwards he had joked with Drysdale that ‘some people collected silver, others gold’, adding that true gold was waiting for him at home – his wife is expecting. Synek also received silver in the same discipline four years ago in Beijing.
Police successfully tracked down an elderly man who attacked a fellow senior at Prague’s Malostranská metro station in March. The assailant, it has been revealed, is an 80-year-old resident of Olomouc, in Moravia. He will not be charged for his role in the incident. According to available information, he could not be held accountable for health reasons; the police could not disclose additional details. In March, the attacker hit a 74-year-old man in the head with his crutches (after the latter had asked him to let him pass) that he lost consciousness near the escalator in the metro and fell. Passers-by provided first aid, and the man was also treated in hospital. The case against the attacker was suspended in June, a police representative confirmed.
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