News

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Tlusty: police should re-open Gripen corruption investigation

The Czech police should work with information provided by Swedish television to resume an investigation into the circumstances behind the manner in which the state tried to acquire Gripen fighter jets, former finance minister Vlastimil Tlusty said on Sunday. In 2002, the police launched an investigation after a senator said he had been offered a bribe to support the country's acquisition of the jets from the British-Swedish consortium BAE Systems/SAAB. The investigation was shelved for lack of information. On Tuesday, the Swedish media reported that several politicians were bribed with the help of middle men. The report included specific names and sums.

Communist party leader calls for modernisation

The leader of the Communist Party, Vojtech Filip, has called on his party colleagues to modernise. Mr Filip says the party needs new voters and should find the courage to address different and even controversial issues. While the party also gets votes from non-Communist citizens who have cast their ballots as a form of protest, Mr Filip would like those votes to become more sincere through a change in the party programme. The first step towards modernisation should be taken at the party's next congress, he suggests.

Security Council proposes to increase nuclear energy

The Czech Republic should secure its energy supply by making full use of its nuclear power plants and technology in other European countries, the National Security Council proposes in a report. The document was made public by Czech Radio Radiozurnal on Sunday. According to the council, the country's limited renewable energy sources would be used more efficiently if the Temelin and Dukovany nuclear power plants were developed further and if plans to stop uranium mining were reconsidered. Environment Minister Martin Bursik has criticised the report.

Prague 10 cleans up second sulphuric acid spill since Thursday

Fire fighters spent most of Saturday night removing sulphuric acid off a road in the Prague 10 district. The dangerous chemical leaked out of a truck that was transporting the substance. The 1000 litres were spilled over a 3 kilometre stretch. No-one was in danger as the road runs through an uninhabited area. The company for which the chemical was being transported is reportedly the same one that was responsible for a similar accident in another part of the same district on Thursday.

Woman stabbed in bookmaker's office dies from injuries

A woman who was stabbed in a bookmaker's office in the Moravian town of Frydek-Mistek has died from her injuries. The 32-year old employee was still alive when she was found in a pool of blood by a colleague. She was rushed to hospital but died on Saturday evening. The police are still investigating who was behind attack and whether the motive was personal or the attack occurred during an attempted robbery.

Czechs mark 59 years since Communist takeover

Hundreds of people have marked the fifty-ninth anniversary of the communist putsch in Czechoslovakia by gathering on Prague's Old Town Square to commemorate the victims of Communism. Speaking on the same balcony of the Kinsky Palace from where Communist leader Klement Gottwald gave his first address to the nation after taking power 59 years ago, the president of the Confederation of Political Prisoners, Nadezda Kavalirova, asked Czechs to call for a ban of the Communist Party. The Communists seized power in Czechoslovakia on February 25 1948, starting forty years of totalitarian rule.

Dozens of people, including Senate chairman Premysl Sobotka, also gathered on Sunday in Prague's Mala Strana district to commemorate a student march to Prague Castle, which took place on the same day as the communist putsch in 1948. The march was crushed by the police as it was in protest at Communist rule and in support of the then president Edvard Benes. Its participants were later persecuted by the regime.

Jan Zajic commemorated

And Sunday marks another anniversary. Thirty-eight years ago Jan Zajic, a 19-year old student, set himself on fire on Prague's Wenceslas Square in protest at the 1968 Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia. The self-immolation followed that of Jan Palach, who had set himself on fire a month earlier. In a letter, Jan Zajic explained he had to follow Jan Palach's cause in order to stir public conscience and make it act against the Communist dictatorship.

Far right concert monitored by police

Over one hundred people attended an extreme right concert in the south Bohemian town of Ceske Budejovice on Saturday night. The four-hour event was monitored by around fifty police officers. Of the 120 participants, most of them are believed to belong to the neo-Nazi movement. Four bands performed at the concert - two of them were from the Czech Republic, one was from neighbouring Slovakia, and the fourth from Canada.

Law student wins Czech Miss 2007

A 20-year old law student from the town of Straznice has won the title of Czech Miss 2007. Lucie Hadasova has won a one million crown contract, a trip around the world, and a car on Saturday. The blonde contestant has also been voted Miss Internet. Over 1000 young women entered the contest.

The country's second big beauty pageant - Miss Czech Republic - will be held in April.

Neumannova wins silver in world championship

Czech skier Katerina Neumannova won silver in the world Nordic skiing championships women's 2 x 7.5 km double pursuit in Sapporo, Japan, on Sunday. Neumannova reached the finish line just half a second after Olga Savialova of Russia. Norway's Kristin Steira won bronze.

In other ski events on Sunday, Sarka Zahrobska came sixth in the Alpine Skiing World Cup slalom race in Sierra Nevada, Spain, and Ski jumper Jakub Janda came twentieth in the World Nordic skiing championships large hill while Roman Koudelka came twenty-fifth.

Weather

The next few days are expected to be cloudy or overcast with occasional showers. Highest daytime temperatures should range between 3 and 9 degrees Celsius.