The head of the U.S. software giant Bill Gates has rounded up a series of one-day meetings in the Czech capital, including a meeting with the lord mayor of Prague Pavel Bem, as well as several government officials such as Education Minister Petra Buzkova. Meeting with Mrs Buzkova Mr Gates signed an agreement to provide software for disadvantaged schools under a five-year programme called Partners in Learning. At least one politician has already expressed opposition to the deal: Minister for Information Technology Vladimir Mlynar suggested on Tuesday it was inappropriate for the state to sign such an agreement with a private company. Aside from meeting Czech officials Mr Gates was in Prague to address a company "security summit". Mr Gates has since departed for Bratislava, Slovakia, where he will meet with Slovak Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda.
Public broadcaster Czech Television has reported that the commander of the joint Czech-Slovak K-FOR unit in Kosovo has been ordered to leave his post after failing a security check. The report said commander Zdenek Havala was dismissed after it emerged he covered up a prosecution for theft. Mr Havala was charged seven years ago after disconnecting the electricity meter at his cottage. He says he will appeal against his dismissal and, if necessary, even take the case to the European Court of Justice.
Interior Minister Stanislav Gross has said armed air marshals may be deployed on Czech passenger planes. Speaking after meeting the U.S. Head of Homeland Security Tom Ridge in Washington, Mr Gross said air marshals would only be deployed in extreme cases. Mr Gross' schedule Tuesday has the Czech Interior Minister meeting with officials from the U.S. State Department and members of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
The Czech ambassador to Bratislava Rudolf Slanksy and the Slovak Interior Minister Vladimir Palko signed agreements on Tuesday pertaining to the Czech Republic's and Slovakia's common border. The first of the agreements will significantly change procedures on the border by allowing individuals to cross at newly designated areas - instead of official border crossings. According to the new treaty individuals will be allowed to register for special access in cases of business or for family reasons, as well as the desire to attend cross-border cultural or religious events. Permits will be issued for a limited period of up to one year, pertaining to citizens of the EU. The Czech Republic and Slovakia are set to join the European Union on May 1st. Meanwhile, on Tuesday Mr Slansky and Mr Palko signed a second agreement outlining wider cooperation in the prevention and investigation of border crimes.
An Interior Ministry inspection team is getting to re-examine the case of convicted double-murderer Jiri Kajinek, serving a life sentence for the shooting of a Czech businessman and his bodyguard in Pilsen in 1993. Mr Kajinek, who has always maintained his innocence, was convicted in 1998. He then caused a scandal two years later by managing to escape from a maximum-security prison, remaining on the run for forty days. Now, one of Mr Kajinek's lawyers, Kolya Kubicek, has gone public with the claim he has evidence Mr Kajinek's crimes were orchestrated by the police. The Interior Ministry's inspection team will now collect data on the original case, as well as investigate new claims of evidence put forward by the attorney, who is requesting his client be given a new trial.
A police spokesperson has revealed that several Czechs suffered minor injuries after two buses crashed Tuesday morning while travelling near York in northern England. The area had been hit by freezing conditions. The buses were carrying workers, including 36 Czechs, to a local food-processing plant, when the accident took place. One vehicle went off the road, hitting a tree, while the second spun out trying to brake on the ice. The accident resulted in one fatality - one of the drivers did not survive
The Czech film 'Zelary' directed by filmmaker Ondrej Trojan, starring actress Ana Geislerova, has received a nomination in the category of Best Foreign-language film at the upcoming U.S. Academy awards. 'Zelary' will face off against four other films including an entry by French-Canadian director Denis Arcand, titled 'The Barbarian Invasions'.
Wednesday is expected to be cloudy with daytime temperatures of -3 degrees Celsius.
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