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27-11-2018

Czech soldiers under investigation over death of Afghan commando

American and Czech soldiers are under investigation in connection with the death of an Afghan commando who was beaten while in NATO custody in western Afghanistan, the New York Times reported on Monday.

The commando, Wahidullah Khan, was accused of killing a Czech soldier last month in one of four deadly insider attacks this year by Afghan forces on NATO troops. Jan Pejšek, a spokesman for the Czech Ministry of Defence, has confirmed the ongoing investigation, but strongly denied accusations that Czech troops were involved in Mr. Khan’s death.

On October 22, Khan opened fire on a group of Czech soldiers at Shindand air base, in western Afghanistan. The attack killed one Czech soldier and wounded two others. He was arrested by Afghan troops and was taken into custody by Western forces. By the time he was returned to Afghan forces, around midnight, he had been beaten and was unconscious, Afghan officials said.

Prague moves to reintroduce trams running down Wenceslas Sq.

The Prague authorities have taken the first step to reintroducing tram lines running down Wenceslas Square. At a meeting on Tuesday, the recently elected council instructed the transport authority to begin preparations for a connection between existing tracks on Vinohradská St. and those crossing the lower half of the city’s main thoroughfare.

Deputy mayor for transport Adam Scheinherr says the lines could be in place within four years. Trams went from the National Museum down Wenceslas Square until the 1980s.

Another line running from Vinohradská St. past Prague’s Main Train Station is also planned for a later date, officials say.

Press: Defence ministry waiting on green light for biggest ever acquisition

The Czech Ministry of Defence is waiting impatiently for the government to sign off on the biggest purchase in the modern history of the Czech Army, Právo reported on Tuesday. The military aims to purchase 210 infantry fighting vehicles at a cost of CZK 53 billion, the newspaper said, adding that there is cross-party backing for the move.

Four European manufacturers are expected to take part in the tender process. One condition will be that a significant part of the production and servicing take place in conjunction with VOP CZ, a Czech state enterprise run by the Ministry of Defence.

Coalition agree on pensions commission, higher children’s allowance

Coalition parties ANO and the Social Democrats have agreed to set up a new commission on pensions. It will explore changes to the pension system and should contain party representatives, experts, academics and people from seniors’ organisations and NGOs.

ANO and the Social Democrats have also agreed to increase the state children’s allowance. From 2020 families will get a total of CZK 300,000, up from the present amount of CZK 220,000.

Prague airport customs officers make six-kilo cocaine seizure

Customs officers at Prague airport have caught a man carrying around six kilogrammes of cocaine, a spokesperson said on Tuesday. The non-Czech national, who is 25, had travelled from Rio de Janeiro via Lisbon. Officers discovered the drug in a piece of false-bottomed leather luggage.

It is the second case in a short period in which Prague customs officials have uncovered cocaine being smuggled from Brazil.

Weather forecast

It should be cloudy with some bright spells in the Czech Republic on Wednesday, with temperatures of up to 0 degrees Celsius. Snow is forecast for the end of the week and the weekend.

27-11-2018