Visegrad Four summit ends
The presidents of the Visegrad Four -the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland -ended a two day summit in Prague on Saturday, vowing to step up their cooperation and pool their power to achieve common goals within the EU. The four post-communist countries worked together to join the EU and frequently coordinate their stands as EU newcomers. In Prague they expressed disapproval over the possibility that their entry to the Schengen border free zone could be delayed by a year, saying they would push together for the original date to be observed. In regional matters: the Slovak President Ivan Gasparovic and his Hungarian counterpart Laszlo Solyom said they would make a concerted effort to curb nationalist tensions in the two neighbor states.
Twenty Egyptian asylum seekers decide to leave
Some twenty Egyptian nationals who had asked for asylum in the Czech Republic returned to their homeland this week. They left of their own volition when it became clear that their plans to settle in Western Europe could not be realized. Over 200 Egyptian nationals have asked for asylum in the Czech Republic and there were recently two mass-escapes from Czech asylum centers. Altogether over 100 Egyptian asylum seekers escaped allegedly with help from smugglers. The majority of them were detained at the country's western border and the incidents resulted in tightened security at all asylum centers.
Minister Riman fighting for Tatra Koprivnice
The new trade and industry minister, Martin Riman, says he wants the new Civic Democrat government to ensure that the planned purchase of over 500 transport trucks for the Czech military from Tatra Koprivnice go ahead as planned. Plans for the sale were allegedly shelved by the former government due to significant cuts in the military budget. Mr. Riman said that he considered it unacceptable for purchases involving foreign companies to receive full-scale funding while domestic-oriented ones, which were important for the country's industry, to be shelved. The Defense Ministry said the purchase had been merely postponed not cancelled but Trade Minister Riman said he would push to find a solution so that the military could confirm the order as soon as possible.
Police chiefs may have to leave their posts
The head of the special police squad for fighting organized crime Jan Kubice may be forced to leave his post by the end of the year because he will no longer fulfill the criteria required for the job. According to a new law which takes effect as of January 1st of 2007 all persons serving in top posts within the police force must have university degrees. Both Mr. Kubice and the head of the anti-corruption unit Miloslav Brych only have a secondary school education. The new interior minister, Ivan Langer, who has had no complaints about their work, said the new criteria would have to be met without exception.
The next few days are expected to bring partly cloudy skies with scattered showers and day temperatures reaching 22 degrees Celsius.