News

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PM says he will not seek Cunek's dismissal in coming days

Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek says he will not seek the dismissal of his deputy Jiri Cunek in the coming days. Deputy Prime Minister Jiri Cunek who is also Minister for Regional Development is facing corruption charges. Prime Minister Topolanek said earlier this week that mounting public pressure is likely to eventually force Mr Cunek to leave the cabinet.

Cunek undergoes interrogation in Olomouc

Deputy PM and Regional Development Minister Jiri Cunek was interrogated for several hours by the anti-corruption police on Thursday in the Moravian town of Olomouc. He told the CTK news agency that he felt "quite good" after the questioning. Mr Cunek reiterated he was not going to step down over his corruption charges.

State attorney says privacy had been secured for Cunek's police interrogation

The state attorney in the Moravian town of Prerov says privacy had been secured for Wednesday's scheduled police interrogation of Deputy Prime Minister and Christian Democrat leader Jiri Cunek, who is facing charges of corruption. Mr Cunek had asked for the interrogation to be rescheduled as the media had found out about the date. Mr Cunek is accused of having accepted a bribe five years ago when he was mayor of the Moravian town of Vsetin.

US says it is open to NATO solution for missile shield

The US Lieutenant General Henry Obering, director of the Missile Defense Agency, has said the United States is open to European demands that a missile shield system it plans to deploy in Poland and the Czech Republic be brought under NATO. Mr Obering said on Thursday he would not be averse to the shield being integrated into NATO's defensive capabilities.

The United States says the missile shield is meant to protect Europe and US forces there from missiles fired by what Washington calls "rogue states", such as Iran and North Korea. Senior European officials, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, have called for the missile defence issue to be debated within the Alliance rather than on a bilateral basis.

Czech Police Chief believed to have tipped off prime suspect

Czech Police Chief Vladislav Husak is under investigation for having allegedly warned a prime suspect in one of the country's biggest corruption cases, the so-called "bio-fuel" case, ahead of an investigation. The Mlada fronta Dnes newspaper reports that the secret police have records of Mr Husak holding a long telephone conversation with the adviser to the former Prime Minister Milos Zeman, Miroslav Slouf. The conversation took place just after Mr Husak was informed by the anti-corruption unit that an operation would be launched. Mr Slouf then allegedly warned the prime suspect in the case. Mr Husak has not commented on the reports.

In response to the latest allegations, former Social Democrat Interior Minister Frantisek Bublan said on Thursday Mr Husak's contacts with Miroslav Slouf were not related to the bio-fuel corruption case. Several lobbyists and Social Democrat public officials were arrested last spring in connection with the "bio-fuel" case. They are believed to have offered or accepted bribes to influence the outcome of public tenders in the area of bio-fuel production.

11 traffic police suspected of abuse of office and accepting bribes

The Interior Ministry's inspectorate says it suspects eleven traffic police officers from the town of Kladno of abuse of office and accepting bribes. All of them are going to be sacked from the police force, according to the Kladno police director. A spokeswoman did not specify how long they had been allegedly breaking the law and how much money was involved.

National Party commemorates Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia

Members of the right-wing National Party say they will commemorate the 68th anniversary of the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia on Thursday. The party was formed in 2002, after the Supreme Court ruled against an interior ministry decision to block the far-right grouping's aspirations to be registered. The National Party has been a strong opponent of the country's accession to the EU and will also protest, on Thursday, against the proposed stationing of a US radar base on Czech territory.

Film director Jakubisko blackmailed

Police have arrested two men who are believed to have stolen an early version of the latest project by Slovak film director Juraj Jakubisko. The director, who lives in the Czech Republic, says the men threatened to illegally distribute his latest film if he failed to pay them half a million crowns. The premiere of the thriller about the 16th-century Hungarian serial killer Elizabeth Bathory is scheduled for this autumn.

Supermarket chain Delhaize's reports lower profit in 2006

The Belgium-based supermarket chain Delhaize said on Thursday that net profit fell by 3.6 percent in 2006 due to its struggling Czech business, which the company has put up for sale. Delhaize, which has big US operations, reported a 2006 net profit on 351.9 million euros (464.7 million dollars), down from 365.2 million euros one year earlier. The company announced last November it was pulling out of the Czech Republic and putting up its 97 Delvita stores for sale, which would allow it to focus on higher opportunity markets.

Weather

The coming days should be sunny and dry with daytime highs reaching 16 degrees Celsius.