The anti-monopoly office (UOHS) has fined phone operator Czech Telecom almost 82 million crowns, or just over three million US dollars, for abusing its dominant position on the market. It is the highest fine ever issued by the office. A spokesman for the body said Cesky Telecom had broken the law by forcing some 3,000 companies to sign disadvantageous contracts. The office ruled that in 2001 and 2002, Cesky Telecom had created a barrier to the development of competition on the telecoms market.
The American embassy in Prague has said the United States is not satisfied with the explanation given by the Defence Ministry as to why it had chosen Swedish-made Gripen jets for the Czech Air Force and not U.S.-made aircraft. An embassy official was quoted by the Czech News Agency as saying that it had asked for a meeting with the Defence Ministry to explain why the American aircraft were rejected. The Defence Ministry held a seminar at the end of January to explain why the Gripens had been chosen. The Czech Republic has said it has entered into negotiations with the plane's suppliers, the British-Swedish consortium Saab-Gripen, to lease 14 Gripen planes.
The Transport Ministry has said it aims to halve the number of road deaths by 2010. Under plans revealed to journalists on Tuesday, the ministry wants to sharply reduce the annual death toll of some 1,300 people on Czech roads. The ministry said a combination of stricter rules, better vehicle safety, better driving and better road conditions would lead to the number of deaths and injuries being reduced. Judged by head of population, the Czech Republic has some of the worst road death statistics in Europe.
Former President Vaclav Havel is still at home recovering from a chest infection. Mr Havel is still taking antibiotics and being forced to rest, one month after falling ill. His secretary said his condition was not serious. The former president should be able to resume his schedule of appointments in mid-February. Mr Havel, who lost half his right lung to cancer in 1996, was forced to abandon a trip to Asia in January when he suddenly fell ill in Delhi.
A Kosovar Albanian man has lost his appeal against a 13-year prison sentence for a fatal shooting in a casino in Teplice, north Bohemia. Ziajdin Isma was found guilty of killing a guest in the casino and injuring one of the owners. The court heard that the shooting was a revenge act after a friend was thrown out of the casino for bad behaviour.
Police have discovered a haul of 600,000 contraband cigarettes in a village near Novy Jicin, North Moravia. Two men - a local unemployed man and a Vietnamese market trader - are being questioned. They face tax evasion and other charges. A police spokesman said the contraband would be destroyed.
Wednesday will be another unseasonably mild day, with temperatures reaching a maximum of 14 degrees Celsius in places. Showers and overcast skies are forecast throughout the country, with some sunny patches.
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