Two Czech soldiers were injured in a dawn missile attack on their base in southern Iraq, the Czech Defence Ministry announced in Prague on Sunday. According to the ministry’s spokesperson a missile hit the car park inside the base and the two soldiers suffered leg and hand injuries in the shockwave from the blast. The base, situated near the southern city of Basra also houses British troops and is frequently the target of missile attacks. The two injured soldiers will be able to continue their mission in Iraq.
The former Czech president Václav Havel has been hospitalized with a heart problem. According to the CTK news agency Mr. Havel was admitted to hospital on Saturday night after complaining of heart arrhythmia or irregular heat beat. Mr. Havel’s secretary Jakub Hladík said on Sunday that the problem was not serious. He said he had spoken with the ex-president over the phone on Sunday morning and that Mr. Havel was feeling well. He should remain in hospital for several days for monitoring.
Two Poles have been charged with propagating a movement repressing human rights and freedoms after being caught making the Nazi salute in the streets of Plzen. Only about three dozen neo-Nazis turned up in Plzen on Saturday after local authorities banned a planned march by far-right groups. Instead a gathering of some 300 right-wing extremists took place on Prague’s Palacký Square, the city’s version of speaker’s corner in London’s Hyde Park. Despite fears of possible clashes with anarchists the gathering ended without incident.
Presidential candidate Jan Švejnar faces a criminal complaint over a data leak at CSOB bank two years ago. The complaint was filed by a client of the bank who accuses Mr. Švejnar and other managers of allegedly having failed to prevent a leak of sensitive data about the bank’s clients. Mr. Švejnar told journalists he would not comment until he had more information on the case but the opposition Social Democrats who nominated him for the post of president, have expressed outrage over the complaint and implied that it is an orchestrated campaign by the ruling Civic Democrats to tarnish President Klaus’ only rival ahead of the February presidential elections.
A Czech firm which delivered goods to the army’s General Staff has denied involvement in the army’s slush fund. The latest in a series of financial scandals at the Defense Ministry broke last week when it emerged that two high-ranking officers at the General Staff had created a slush fund out of money earmarked for non-existent services. The money was used for expensive gifts for officers and generals including holidays at exotic locations, mountain bikes, skis and even luxury underwear. The firm SABE which was said to have been involved in the fictitious deliveries said all its transactions with the army had been above board.
The largest Czech dairy producer Madeta has clinched a deal with Czech farmers on milk supplies in the coming year, allaying fears of a significant price hike on all its products as well as possible lay-offs. The Bohemian farming cooperative has promised to continue delivering milk supplies to Madeta for at least another year. The cooperative has been exporting a third of its milk output to Germany for the past three years and had threatened to end all sales to Madeta because foreign buyers paid a better price.
A man in the town of Litvínov miraculously escaped death in a freak accident when the lift in his building gave way and crashed five floors down to the basement. The man, who was in the elevator with his dog when the lift collapsed, suffered a broken leg. The dog was unharmed. The cause of the accident is being investigated.
Finland's Janne Ahonen, who this month made history by winning the prestigious Four Hills tournament five times, won the first World Cup ski jump event in Harrachov on Sunday. The competition was carried over from Saturday when bad weather led to the event's cancellation and Sunday's jump was reduced to just one take-off. Ahonen jumped an impressive 199.5m for a score of 187.5 points to finish ahead of Norwegian duo Tom Hilde (185.6pts, 193m) and Anders Jacobsen (181.2pts, 191m).
Defending champion Serena Williams revived memories of last year's stunning Australian Open win Sunday when she overpowered Czech 12th seed Nicole Vaidišová to reach the quarter-finals. Williams ended the 18-year-old's Open campaign with a 6-3, 6-4 win to set up a meeting with either third seed Jelena Jankovic of Serbia or Australian hope Casey Dellacqua. Vaidišová committed 25 unforced errors, more than doubling Williams' tally, admitting her opponent's on-court dominance unsettled her. "I had my chances, especially in the second set but didn't chose the right shot, maybe went for too much," the 18-year-old said.
A gathering of neo-Nazis on Prague’s Palacký Square on Saturday ended without incident. Around 250 far right extremists met on the square which functions as the city’s version of speaker’s corner in London’s Hyde Park, where demonstrators can meet without permission from the authorities. A police spokesperson said, however, that two skinheads were detained for carrying weapons. Extra officers were on duty in Prague today as extremist groups were expected to stage a rally in the city. The neo-Nazis had originally wanted to march through Plzeň, west Bohemia, but the municipality banned them from doing so.
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