Two policemen have been shot dead and one seriously injured as they attempted to apprehend a man on suspicion of rape. The three policemen had called at the man's home near the southern town of Pisek after his ex-wife claimed he had raped her. Upon entering the suspect's home, they were shot at by the 45-year old man, who was armed with a licensed weapon. One of the three policemen, a 31-year-old officer from Pisek, died on the spot whilst the other two were rushed to hospital with serious injuries. A second officer, who was 29 years young, died a few hours later. The attacker also tried to turn the gun on himself, but was held back and was also taken to hospital.
During a meeting marking 1000 days of the Social Democratic Cabinet, Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman noted that although the Czech Republic has undergone significant advances, there was still room for more. Mr. Zeman stressed on Tuesday that the cabinet now needed to focus on tax collection as well as on the privatisation process. In the case of taxation, he believed that the problem did not lie with legislation but rather with ineffective local finance offices. He said that last year's high deficit in the state budget was not caused by greater spending but by a failure to follow up on the non-payment of taxes.
Slovakia's new Defence Minister, Jozef Stank, told journalists on Tuesday that he welcomed a Czech-Polish proposal to create a united military unit of NATO standards. He said that the Slovak army's chief-of-staff, along with Czech and Polish experts, were currently working on a proposal for the unit, which is to be presented at a Visegrad Four meeting scheduled for late May in Budapest.
And staying with the army but going further East, the Czech Army Chief of Staff, Jiri Sedivy, has agreed to share the Czech Republic's experiences before and after NATO accession with his Lithuanian counterpart, Jonas Kronkaitis, who is currently on a four-day visit to the Czech Republic. Lithuania is undergoing changes in its armed forces in the hope of becoming part of the so-called second wave of NATO expansion. The Czech Defence Minister, Vladimir Vetchy promised to continue to push for NATO enlargement and offered to make it possible for Lithuanian soldiers to gain experience by studying at Czech military schools. The Czech Republic became a mediator between NATO and Lithuania last year.
The chairman of the lower house of the Australian Parliament, John Andrew, has rejected allegations by the Czech media, which claimed that Australia had been discriminating against Czech citizens when issuing visas, fearing an influx of illegal cheap labour. Mr Andrew said that there are currently some 1,000 Czech students in Australia, and noted that his country strongly believed that there was still room for more. Mr Andrew begun his seven-day official trip to the Czech Republic on Sunday, and will meet Czech senior politicians and successful businessmen in order to promote Czech-Australian ties.
Sudeten Germans in Austria have strongly criticised the Czech Foreign Minister, Jan Kavan, for delays in dealing with Sudeten German property claims. A Sudeten German representative, Gerhard Zeihsel, said on Tuesday, that Mr Kavan had promised to deal with outstanding issues surrounding the expulsion of Sudeten Germans from Czechoslovakia after WWII during his trip to Vienna in March. But, upon Mr Kavan's return to the Czech Republic, the issue was dismissed as he claimed to have been misinterpreted, adding that the property claims chapter had been closed with a 1974 bilateral agreement, signed between then Czechoslovakia and Austria. Mr Zeihsel, however, noted that the agreement from 1974 only dealt with 30,000 claimants which he believes to be only a fraction of those eligible to claim back property.
And finally, a quick look at the weather forecast. Wednesday, shall see more overcast skies with temperatures between 5 and 9 degrees Celsius. Night-time temperatures are expected to range between 4 and zero degrees Celsius with cloudy skies and snow in places. The same weather conditions go for Thursday with temperatures rising up to 10 degrees Celsius.
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