• 10/19/2003

    Two Czechs were among 13 people sentenced to prison in the Antilles on Thursday for drugs smuggling. The two Czech citizens were sentenced to 30 months in prison by a court on the island of Sint Maarten, after being found guilty of attempting to smuggle 10 kilos of cocaine out of the country. The two had visited the Antilles - which are part of the Netherlands - as tourists. The remaining 11 people sentenced were Slovaks.

    Author: Rob Cameron
  • 10/18/2003

    The Chinese embassy has issued a statement strongly criticising the decision to invite the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, to Prague. The Dalai Lama arrived in Prague on Saturday afternoon to preside over a three-day international conference on Tibet which gets underway on Sunday. It is the first time that the gathering - sponsored by a German foundation - has been held in Prague. The embassy accused the conference - which is being held under the auspices of the Czech Senate - of supporting activities which damage Chinese national identity and hurt Czech-Chinese relations. Senator Jan Ruml, himself a former anti-Communist dissident, said the meeting was part of the democratic process and the criticism was unfounded.

    Author: Rob Cameron
  • 10/18/2003

    Hundreds of people waited for hours outside a bookshop in Brno on Saturday to attend a book signing by former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Ms Albright, born Marie Korbelova in Prague, is in the Czech Republic to launch the Czech translation of new book of memoirs, "Madam Secretary." Ms Albright, who speaks fluent Czech, will meet a number of senior officials during her visit including former president Vaclav Havel, who is a close personal friend. Her visit ends on Tuesday.

    Author: Rob Cameron
  • 10/18/2003

    Another suspected case of BSE or mad cow disease has been reported in a herd near Prachatice, South Bohemia. If confirmed, it would be the Czech Republic's sixth case of the disease since 2001. The State Veterinary Authority said further tests were being carried out and the final result would be known by Wednesday, although the Authority said it was almost 100 percent certain that the animal was infected. Almost half a million cattle have been tested for BSE since the first case was confirmed two years ago.

    Author: Rob Cameron
  • 10/18/2003

    Two Czechs were among 13 people sentenced to prison in the Antilles on Thursday for drugs smuggling. The two Czech citizens were sentenced to 30 months in prison by a court on the island of Sint Maarten, after being found guilty of attempting to smuggle 10 kilos of cocaine out of the country. The two had visited the Antilles - which are part of the Netherlands - as tourists. The remaining 11 people sentenced were Slovaks.

    Author: Rob Cameron
  • 10/18/2003

    Czech customs officers have seized packages of cocaine and marihuana on a bus heading for Prague from Rotterdam. The seizure was made at the Rozvadov crossing on the Czech-German border. Customs officers found 36 grams of cocaine with an estimated street value of 30,000 crowns (around 1,000 US dollars) and small amounts of marihuana. Police were unable to identify the owners of the packages and no arrests were made.

    Author: Rob Cameron
  • 10/17/2003

    And President Klaus has denied that Thursday's speech to deputies in the lower house was an attack on the centre-left coalition of Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla. Mr Klaus said he had merely identified several serious problems facing the country. In his speech Mr Klaus criticised the record budget deficit proposed for 2004, and also raised objections to the government's package of finance reforms, which must be signed by the president before they become law.

    Author: Rob Cameron
  • 10/16/2003

    President Vaclav Klaus indirectly criticised the policy of Vladimir Spidla's coalition government in a speech delivered in the lower house of the Czech Parliament on Thursday. President Klaus pointed to the record-high deficit of the draft 2004 state budget, the planned public finance reform and the growth of the state power at the cost of civic freedom. Mr Klaus also called on Czech politicians to act in unity when dealing with key issues of the state. President Klaus's speech in the lower house on Thursday was his first address to deputies since his election in February this year.

  • 10/15/2003

    The senior state prosecutor's office in Prague has ordered police to reopen the case against 72-year-old Jiri Pasovsky, who shot dead a diplomat at the Nigerian embassy in February. Mr Pasovsky, a retired doctor, was declared criminally insane and admitted to a psychiatric hospital, and the criminal proceedings against him were halted. However in September he was released from hospital on his own request. The Nigerian embassy sent an official letter of protest to the Czech government over the affair. Nigeria has also announced it is closing its embassy in Prague, although it claims this is unrelated to the shooting incident.

    Author: Rob Cameron
  • 10/15/2003

    NATO has formally launched its rapid response force, which includes the Czech Republic's elite nuclear, biological and chemical unit. The 9,000-strong NATO Response Force (NRF) will be capable of deployment to troublespots anywhere in the world within five days. When complete, the force should number more than 20,000 troops. Among them is the 500-strong Czech-led anti-chemical unit based in Liberec, which saw action in the 1991 Gulf War and the US-led invasion of Iraq. The Czech Republic joined NATO in 1999.

    Author: Rob Cameron

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