News

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US requests Brdy military zone as location for planned radar base

The United States has asked the Czech government if it can locate a planned radar base in the Brdy military zone in central Bohemia. One other location had been under consideration, Libava in north Moravia. The radar would be part of the United States' global missile defence programme. If approved by the Czech parliament, the radar base should house around 200 US soldiers and civilians and go into operation in 2011.

Jehlicka accepts offer of culture minister post

Senator Vaclav Jehlicka has accepted an offer to become culture minister. His party the Christian Democrats turned to Mr Jehlicka after its previous nominee Helena Trestikova resigned from the post on Wednesday, just over two weeks after being appointed. She said Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek had tried to pressure her into appointing a deputy of his choosing.

Flights resume at Prague Airport

Flights from Prague's Ruzyne airport resumed at 9 a.m. on Thursday. The airport had been closed for almost 30 hours due to heavy snows. The closure forced airlines to cancel hundreds of flights, stranding thousands of passengers.

The heavy snows also caused a marked increase in road accidents; there were over 1,100 accidents on Wednesday, more than twice the usual number, police said.

Firefighters have issued a warning against falling icicles. They have removed dangerous icicles at scores of locations in Prague alone. Ambulance crews, meanwhile, say they have been called out to deal with dozens of injuries caused by people slipping on snow and ice.

Cunek gives conflicting explanations over alleged bribe

Deputy Prime Minister Jiri Cunek has apparently given conflicting explanations as to the origin of half a million crowns which he is accused of having taken as a bribe. Police suspect the Christian Democrats leader of receiving the money from a building company when he was mayor of the town of Vsetin. In recent days Senator Cunek has said the money represented family savings. But police say that during earlier questioning he said he had forgotten where he got the money.

The Senate's immunity committee has recommended that Mr Cunek be stripped of his parliamentary immunity to allow criminal proceedings against him to begin. A final decision will be made in about two weeks' time.

Hospital orderly may have killed up to 13, says Health Ministry

Former orderly Petr Zelenka may have killed up to five more patients than previously believed at a hospital in Havlickuv Brod, according to a Health Ministry expert commission. Zelenka has been charged with using a blood-thinning drug to kill eight patients, but Health Minister Tomas Julinek said the real number of victims could be up to 13.

Vaidisova loses in Australian Open semi-finals

The Czech women's tennis number one Nicole Vaidisova has failed to reach her first Grand Slam final. Vaidisova, who is 17, was beaten 7-6 6-4 in the semi-finals of the Australian Open by Serena Williams of the United States.

Ski-jumper communicating with doctors but still in serious condition

Ski-jumper Jan Mazoch has regained consciousness but remains in a very serious condition. Mazoch, who is 21, had a bad crash during a ski-jump competition in Poland at the weekend. He is able to speak to doctors but has a serious head wound and concussion.

Czech skiing season set to start finally this weekend

After a delay caused by unseasonably warm weather, the Czech skiing season should finally start this weekend, Lidove noviny reported. Ski-lift operators said they expect skiers to take to the Czech slopes from Saturday, following heavy snowfalls in many parts of the country this week.

Power giant CEZ receives bomb threat

The state power company CEZ has received an anonymous bomb threat, TV Nova reported. An anonymous caller said an attack on one of the company's facilities would take place on Thursday. Police are monitoring a number of CEZ facilities around the country.

Weather

Temperatures are set to remain below 0 degrees Celsius over the next couple of days. It should be quite sunny with the chance of more snow in some places.