Some 3,000 foresters gathered in front of the Agriculture Ministry on Tuesday to protest against planned changes in the state company Czech Forests. The foresters fear changes to the company's business policy, proposed by the Agriculture Minister Jaroslav Palas, could see every fifth person of the 25,000 now working in forestry laid off. Minister Palas unsuccessfully tried to calm down the protesters, who later pelted him with eggs and snow balls.
The Czech government's fleet of planes is old and needs to be modernised, Czech President Vaclav Klaus and Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda announced on Tuesday. The fleet of seven aircraft used by the Army to transport senior government officials and material such as medicine also exceed permitted noise or emission levels. A complete modernisation of the fleet would cost some 4.2 billion Czech crowns. Next week, the State Security Council is to decide whether to go ahead with the modernisation or find a different solution. One such solution would be that state officials fly with commercial airlines.
The Czech police say they have broken up an organised gang that was illegally transferring large amounts of money out of the Czech Republic. Property and money worth 36 million Czech crowns (1.5 million US dollars) was confiscated in the police action. Fifteen of the gang members have been charged with unauthorised entrepreneurship. All of them, with the exception of one, are from Asia.
The State Veterinary Authority says it may have uncovered yet another case of BSE, or "mad cow" disease. The Authority says that a five-year-old cow, from a herd close to the South Moravian town of Uherske Hradiste, may be the country's sixteenth case since 2001. According to spokesman Josef Duben, test results should be ready by the end of the week. If confirmed, several hundred cows will be slaughtered as a precautionary measure.
A group of senators are preparing an amendment to the penal code, which would make the name of the Czech Communist Party illegal. The senators from the Club for Open Democracy hope naming a political party "Communist" would be considered a propagation of communism, which is prohibited by law. The Czech Communist Party has been criticized for refusing to follow party colleagues in neighbouring countries, who are reformed and changed their name since the fall of Communism.
Meteorologists are forecasting snow, snow, and more snow throughout the week. Temperatures over the next few days will stay well below freezing point ranging from -2 to -7 degrees Celsius.
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