News

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Give Cunek chance to clear name, says Topolanek

Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek has called on opposition deputies demanding the resignation of Jiri Cunek to give the regional development minister a chance to clear his name. On Wednesday the Senate voted to lift Mr Cunek's immunity, to allow proceedings to begin against him for alleged bribe-taking. The opposition Social Democrats criticised Mr Topolanek for not having sacked Mr Cunek. But the prime minister said the case against Mr Cunek was "strange".

Czech Republic sending military field hospital to Afghanistan

The Czech Republic will send a military field hospital to Afghanistan in April. The lower house on Thursday followed the Senate in approving the deployment. Seventy Czech soldiers will take part in the mission, which will come under the command of NATO's International Security Assistance Force. The Czechs will be based by the airport in the Afghan capital Kabul.

Unemployment rises to 7.9 percent

Unemployment in the Czech Republic rose to 7.9 percent in January, up from 7.7 percent the previous month. Seasonal factors have been blamed for the increase. The number of Czechs out of work last month was almost 435,000.

Minister promises tighter controls on police phone tapping

Interior Minister Ivan Langer has promised tighter controls on police phone tapping in the Czech Republic. Speaking after a meeting with President Vaclav Klaus on Thursday, Mr Langer said he had ordered Police President Vladislav Husak to prepare a thorough analysis of phone tapping in the country. He said the police would produce an annual report on the matter, which would be made public.

Langer denies planning to dismiss police chief Husak

Elsewhere, Mr Langer said he was not planning to dismiss Police President Husak. In an interview with Pravo, the minister said, however, that Mr Husak would have to quit the post if he does not pass a security clearance test. Mr Langer recently ordered almost 1,000 senior police to undergo fresh vetting, after it emerged that the head of the Czech branch of Interpol obtained a negative screening certificate using a false name.

Civic Democrats remain most popular party, suggests poll

The governing Civic Democrats remain the most popular party, with the support of 36 percent of voters, suggests a poll carried out by the Median agency last month. Almost 29 percent of respondents said they would vote for the Social Democrats. Another opposition party, the Communists, came third in the poll with 11 percent support.

Hospital killings investigation may not conclude until later in year

The police say they will not conclude an investigation into the killing of several patients at a hospital in east Bohemia until September or October. Former orderly Petr Zelenka has admitted to using a blood-thinning drug to kill eight patients at the hospital in Havlickuv Brod. But the Health Ministry has said the real figure could be as high as 13. Police said they were waiting for the results of a ministry inquiry, as well as expert analyses.

Former Justice Ministry man cleared of trying to blackmail journalist

Police have concluded that former Justice Ministry spokesman Petr Dimun did not try to blackmail a journalist. Mr Dimun was accused of trying to pressure TV Nova reporter Jana Peterkova into give false testimony against her former boyfriend, convicted fraudster Tomas Pitr. The journalist said she would lodge a complaint against the shelving of the case.

Radio Impuls most popular station in Czech Republic

Radio Impuls was the most listened to radio station in the Czech Republic in the second half of last year, according to a study called Radio Projekt prepared by two polling agencies. Evropa 2 was second most popular, followed by Frekvence 1. Czech Radio's Radiozurnal and Praha stations were in fourth and firth place.

Czech footballers beat Belgians 2:0 in first game of 2007

The Czech Republic's footballers got their year off to a winning start on Wednesday, beating Belgium 2:0 in a friendly in Brussels. The Czechs' goals came from Jan Koller and Marek Kulic. Goalkeeper Petr Cech made a number of fine saves in his first international game since sustaining a skull fracture in October.

Record-breaking striker Koller to retire completely in 2008

Meanwhile, Jan Koller - who stretched his own record to 48 international goals on Wednesday - has said he will retire completely after next year's European Championships. The giant striker, who is 34 next month, said he will return to the live in the Czech Republic after 12 years playing abroad.

Ski-jumper Mazoch tells fans he is on road to recovery

Czech ski-jumper Jan Mazoch, who crashed badly during a competition last month, has issued a message to fans, saying he is on the road to recovery, and may even return to ski-jumping. Mazoch, undergoing rehabilitation at a hospital in Prague, says he is still suffering from short-term memory lapses.

Weather

It should be partly cloudy over the next few days, with temperatures reaching around 6 degrees Celsius.