News

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Czech planes to guard Baltic airspace during 2009

Three Czech fighter planes are set to patrol the airspace over Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia in 2009, after the Czech government approved the plan on Wednesday. It now needs the backing of both houses of the Czech parliament. Around 100 ground personnel would support the three Grippen planes. Czech Defence Minister Vlasta Parkanova said the country's military budget would cover the three-month mission, expected to cost CZK half a billion (around USD 25 million). None of the three Baltic states has a modern air force of its own.

Commission to oversee development in area earmarked for US radar base

The government has set up a commission to co-ordinate development projects in the Brdy area of central Bohemia, Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek said on Wednesday. Brdy is where the United States hopes to build a radar base as part of an international anti-missile shield. The government has promised to invest in the region regardless of whether the US base is built. Most local municipalities are opposed to the radar, as, suggest a series of opinion polls, are the majority of other Czechs. Parliament is set to decide on the issue in the early part of next year.

Nearly two-thirds live in areas with poor air

Almost two-thirds of Czechs live in areas where the air quality is poor, according to a report presented to the cabinet by Environment Minister Martin Bursik. The worst affected areas are Prague and the industrial region of Moravia-Silesia. In 2006 levels of dust particles in the air exceeded EU limits for the second year in a row. The report does contain some positive news: the percentage of the country where air quality is poor has fallen; in 2005 it stood at 35 percent, while last year it was down to 29 percent.

Regional party leaders want debate on Greens remaining in government

The heads of five regional branches of the Greens have called for talks on whether the party should remain in the coalition government. They have criticised the party's leadership for not standing by Dana Kuchtova, who on Wednesday resigned as education minister over the mishandling of applications for EU funding. The regional leaders want the conditions under which the Green Party would remain in government to be on the agenda at a forthcoming national conference. The Greens are the smallest party in the coalition, which also features the Civic Democrats and Christian Democrats.

Patient suing hospital over infection contracted during operation

A patient who contracted a bacterial infection during a routine operation is suing Prague's Motol hospital, Mlada fronta Dnes reported. The woman says she suffered complications for two years after the operation and is suing the hospital for CZK 400,000 (over half a million USD). However, officials at Motol deny any responsibility in the matter. The lawsuit is evidently the first such legal action in the Czech Republic, said Mlada fronta.

European police chiefs gather for conference on pickpocketing

Police chiefs from a number of European capitals have gathered in Prague for a conference on fighting pickpockets, Mlada fronta Dnes reported. Prague police complain that Czech prosecutors are reluctant to remand pickpockets, who often leave the country after arrest. Police chief Petr Zelasko also said his officers were trying to persuade judges that pickpockets were often not individual criminals but members of organised gangs. The conference runs until Thursday.

Pig farming in crisis says head of agricultural chamber

Pig breeding and pork processing in the Czech Republic are in crisis, the president of the country's agricultural chamber, Jan Veleba, said on Wednesday. A steep rise this year in the price of cereals used to feed animals has led to a worsening of an already bad situation, he said. One in ten pig farmers quit the industry every year. Pig breeding accounts for a quarter of the country's animal production and about 10 percent of its total agricultural produce.

Woman dies after being knocked down by stampeding horses

A woman died after evidently being knocked down by a herd of stampeding horses at a farm in near Ostrava in north Moravia on Wednesday. The woman, who worked on the farm, died after being admitted to hospital with stomach injuries, said a local rescue worker.

Survey: Prague citizens want more night tram routes, increased lighting of metro stations

Citizens of Prague would like to see an increase in the number of night tram routes in the city, suggests a survey carried out by the research agency Westminster. Those surveyed said they would be willing to pay more for more routes, as well as increased lighting of parts of the city's metro stations. Passengers also complained that the city's public transport system is seen as mostly serving the relatively badly-off. On the positive side, respondents praised the fact the transport network covers so much of the city, and the affordable price of travel-cards.

Brno's namesti Svobody to get modern clock

The main square in the Moravian capital Brno is to get a new clock. A competition has been launched to find a modern clock design for a shopping centre on namesti Svobody, the city's mayor Roman Onderka told reporters. Mr Onderka said he hoped the clock would become a landmark where people would arrange to meet.

Slavia Prague beaten by Sevilla in Champions League group game

Slavia Prague were beaten by Sevilla in football's Champions League on Tuesday night. After falling behind in the 8th minute, Slavia drew level at 1:1 through a strike by Daniel Pudil, before the home side scored three more to open an unassailable lead. Substitute David Kalivoda got a consolation goal for the Czechs in time added on, leaving the final score at 4:2. Slavia's next game is away to group leaders Arsenal on October 23.

Simunek, 20, gets first call-up ahead of Euro 2008 qualifier

Twenty-year-old defender Jan Simunek has been called up for the Czech squad for the first time ahead of a Euro 2008 qualifier against Germany on October 17. Simunek, who plays for German side Wolfsburg, captained the Czech Republic at this year's Under 20 World Cup, where the country reached the final. First team regulars Milan Baros, Marek Jankolvski and Jan Polak all miss the Germany game through suspension.

Weather

There should be more wet and grey weather in the next few days, though we can also expect sunshine in some places. Temperatures will reach up to 20 degrees Celsius.