The Czech foreign ministry is considering tightening security measures for embassy staff in Iraq after the car of the Czech ambassador to Iraq Martin Klepetko came under fire on Wednesday. The ambassador himself was not in the car at the time of the incident. The two bodyguards travelling in it were unhurt. The car was allegedly stopped at a roadblock by a group of armed men in the residential Al-Mansur neighbourhood, not far from the ambassador's residence. Another group then immediately opened fire. The armoured car was hit by at least thirty bullets. A spokesman said the Czech Foreign Ministry was cooperating with Iraqi police to determine if Wednesday's attack was directly aimed at the Czech ambassador.
Tests have confirmed a 14th case of BSE, or mad cow disease, in the Czech Republic. The infected animal comes from a farm in southern Bohemia. Close to a hundred heads of cattle will have to be put down within the safety measures ordered by the State Veterinary Office. Since 2001 the Czech Republic has tested some 650,000 heads of cattle. The first case of BSE appeared in 2001 when the Czech Veterinary Office ordered the testing of all slaughtered animals over the ago of 30 months. Up until then vets tested only high risk groups.
A regional court has sentenced a young mother to thirteen and a half years in jail for the murder of her year old baby boy. The twenty two year old woman denies that she strangled her baby, but the judge said there was convincing evidence to the contrary. The mother claims that the baby strangled itself with a cord from the window blinds but police experts claim that the neck wounds do not point to accidental death. Police also found an altogether different cord hidden in the flat which contained the baby's saliva and DNA which they believe the mother used to strangle her baby. The tragedy occurred at a centre for homeless mothers on New Year's Eve.
The former communist politician Karel Hoffman may be released from prison shortly, due to his deteriorating health. The eighty year old Hoffman was recently found guilty of treason and sentenced to four years in prison for having ordered public radio broadcasts to be halted at the time of the Russian led invasion of Czechoslovakia in August of 1968. Hoffman's health is said to have seriously worsened in recent days, resulting in a proposal to the medical commission that he be released from having to serve the rest of his prison sentence.
About half of Czech elementary and secondary schools are planning to reduce the number of their employees, mainly teachers, in the course of the next school year. The planned layoffs are partly due to the government approved cuts in public spending but also due to a long-term drop in the number of school children. Some schools will have to merge as a result. The cost-cutting measures will affect mainly schools in Prague and north and south Moravia.
Friday is expected to be a warm and sunny day with afternoon highs between 23 and 27 degrees Celsius.
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