In a telephone call to Czech President, Vaclav Havel, on Monday afternoon, U.S. President, George Bush, thanked his counterpart for the outpouring of support given to the American people by the Czech Republic, after the September 11th terrorist attacks. Mr Bush also took the opportunity to inform President Havel about the latest diplomatic, military and financial steps taken by the U.S. authorities in the global fight against terrorism and expressed his appreciation of the Czech Republic's preparedness to assist in any way possible. In the telephone call, the American President also stressed the importance of the NATO summit, which is to be held in Prague next year.
Appreciation of Czech support after the September 11th attacks was also expressed by the U.S. Secretary of State, Colin Powell. Mr Powell, who met with his Czech counterpart, Jan Kavan, on Monday, was well informed of the help that the Czech Republic was willing to give and thanked Mr Kavan for the Czech Republic's quick reaction after the attacks. Part of the discussion was also the recent lifting of the economic embargo on India and Pakistan. Mr Kavan noted that it had come to the advantage of the Czech Republic as it made the export of Czech L-159 sub-sonic fighter jets to India, possible.
According to the Czech General Chief-of-Staff, Jiri Sedivy, army officers would not be backed by Czech law if they were forced to give controversial orders to guarantee national security. Referring to the September 11th attacks on the United States - where terrorists used passenger planes to crash into the World Trade Centre in New York City - Mr Sedivy told journalists on Monday, that if the attacks had been on the Czech Republic, the head of the Czech Army would not have been allowed to legally give the order to shoot down the planes, if spotted on time. Just at the end of last week, a private plane flew within the 20 kilometre no-flying perimeter of the Dukovany nuclear power plant in Moravia, without clearance from the nearby Namest nad Oslavou military airport. A jet plane was deployed immediately and the situation remained tense until the private plane's pilot contacted Namest's ground crew and followed instructions to land in the city of Brno. Mr Sedivy noted that if two passenger planes had been spotted over the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty building in Prague, a quick and responsible decision would have to have been made within a matter of minutes. Defence Minister, Jaroslav Tvrdik, is expected to present a draft law on this matter sometime next week.
The Czech Army opened up an International Centre for Civil-Military Co-operation in the South Bohemian town of Tabor on Monday. According to the centre's press officer, Petr Svatos, it shall serve to monitor crisis areas and support NATO units in carrying out operations in areas of conflict, such as the former Yugoslav states and Albania. The centre is also to serve as a communicator between NATO officials and inhabitants, organisations and government officials in the areas in question. It is to, furthermore, help in the rebuilding of infrastructure and planning of media campaigns. The Centre in Tabor is part of the NATO CIMIC group, with its headquarters in Holland.
The Leader of the Four-Party Coalition, Karel Kuhnl continues to stand by his accusations that the Czech government could be corrupt. Mr Kuhnl, who in a television programme recently labelled the government's privatisation process of the energy sector as "lacking transparency and possibly corrupt" was asked by Prime Minister, Milos Zeman, to either apologise or show proof that backs his allegations. Mr Kuhnl, instead sent Mr Zeman a four-page letter in which he named four business transactions where the government is accused of having violated the law requiring public tenders. Mr Kuhnl said that, as a member of Parliament, it was his duty to point out areas where there's a possibility of corruption.
And finally a quick look at the weather forecast. Tuesday will have clear skies with light showers in the North and temperatures between 20 and 24 degrees Celsius. Tuesday night will see overcast skies with early morning fog and temperatures between 10 and 14 degrees Celsius. Wednesday is expected to have clear skies throughout the country with the exception of western Bohemia, which shall see cloudy skies with scattered showers. Day-time temperatures shall range between 19 and 23 degrees Celsius.
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