News

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New Czech troops arrive in Afghanistan

New Czech troops have arrived in Afghanistan as part of rotating forces serving in the multi-national ISAF mission under NATO. The Czechs will serve at Kabul airport for a period of four months, beginning on December 1st. For the first time a Czech, Colonel Bohuslav Dvorak, will take over the command of forces at the airport - some 500 soldiers and specialists from NATO member states, as well as Afghanistan. The Czech unit alone is made up of 47 specialists.

Czech daily: PM's aide dealt with Social Democrat to switch support

The Czech newspaper Mlada Fronta Dnes has reported that a close aide to the prime minister has been attempting to win over a Social Democrat MP - who recently left his deputies' group - to back a three-party government excluding the Social Democrats. The news comes ahead of what many see as a crucial week in talks. The Saturday edition of Mlada Fronta Dnes writes that the aide, Marek Dalik, claimed he had MP Michal Pohanka in his camp. The news, however, has been denied by Mr Dalik, according to a government spokesman. The Social Democrats' Jiri Paroubek has also reacted, saying he felt that the prime minister should apologise for his aide's words.

As it stands, the Social Democrats are weighing a four-party proposal put forward by Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek this week. They have said they will make public their decision on Monday. But, many are sceptical the party will agree to a deal, given the Social Democrats have opposed early elections in 2008.

Communist Party's Filip warns of "fascistic tendencies"

The leader of the Communist Party Vojtech Filip has warned against what he has called "fascistic tendencies" by those in power, indicating some circles were bent on banning ideas and not defending the rights of individuals. Mr Filip was speaking at an international conference titled "Communists and other Democratic Forces for Human Rights and Democracy in Europe and the World". At the conference, the party leader also reportedly criticised a recent ban on the Communist Party's youth organisation by the Interior Ministry, and also criticised steps taken by city hall in the Moravian town of Vsetin, where rent-defaulters were moved to new facilities. The Communist Party led by Mr Filip remains the sole unreformed communist party in the former eastern bloc, criticised by many as "Neo-Stalinist".

Driver, in hit-and-run that injured fifteen-year-old, in custody

A thirty-five-year old man who has admitted to a hit-and-run injuring a fifteen-year old boy has been remanded in custody following a court order in Brno. The man has been charged with attempted murder; the investigation is expected to take several months. The hit-and-run took place last Thursday night: the victim struck landed on the back of the driver's vehicle, breaking the rear window and luggage compartment. The driver - who was not alone in the car - then reportedly drove home before discovering the boy's presence. The injured fifteen year-old, suffering numerous cuts and both his legs broken, was then dumped by the driver at a forest. The victim had to crawl back to the roadside, where he was only discovered by another driver in the morning and taken to hospital.

If found guilty in the case, the suspect could face up to fifteen years in prison.

Reading's Hunt would like meeting with injured Cech

Footballer Stephen Hunt, who plays for Reading in the English premiership, has indicated he would like to meet with Czech goalkeeper Petr Cech, recovering from skull surgery that followed the pair's horrific collision during a match in October. The midfielder, who said the collision was an accident, has told the newspaper The Times he would like to meet with Czech during the upcoming Christmas holidays. Earlier, the player sent the Czech keeper a letter but received no reply. It is thought that Cech, who plays for Chelsea and is also the national team's No. 1 goalkeeper, will be out for months before he fully recovers.

Forecast

Mostly cloudy weather is expected in Prague throughout the weekend, with daytime temperatures on Sunday reaching highs of around 7 degrees Celsius.