Fewer than one in four people working for the police in the latter half of last year 2004 had been employed there before 1990, Prime Minister Stanislav Gross said in written reply to a deputy from the main opposition Civic Democrats. A historian told the state news agency CTK this was evidence that a "major overhaul" of the police force had been undertaken. Information on the number of former Czechoslovak secret police (StB) agents working for the police, however, has not yet been made public; Interior Minister Frantisek Bublan, asked to provide this information during a November session of Parliament, said none held any senior police posts. He said perhaps a couple dozen former StB employees work for the police and these had shown they were "of value to the force."
Canada dropped a 5-4 decision to the Czech Republic on Saturday, in its second game of the men's hockey tournament at the 2005 World University Winter Games. Three of the Czechs' five goals came on breakaways. Czech goaltender Tomas Dusek was the story of the game, turning aside 49 of 53 shots. The Czech Republic (2-0-1) leads the way with five points, with defending champions Russia (2-0-0, 4 pts) second followed by Japan (1-1-1, 3 pts).
Although the two countries do no have an extradition treaty, the UN mission in Liberia expressed confidence on Sunday that the Liberian government would soon hand over a Czech national charged with illegally exporting arms to Iraq and several other countries. Dalibor Kopp had operated an illegal ammunitions production line and exported arms to Africa and the Middle East. He was arrested by UN peacekeepers in Liberia last month. If found guilty Mr Kopp faces up to 10 years in prison.
The legendary rock-and-roller Chuck Berry has arrived in the Czech Republic and is due to kick off his "Rock n' Roll Never Forgets" tour of Europe on Sunday night in Prague. The 78-year-old guitarist, known for hits like Maybellene" and "Johnny B. Goode," will play Lucerna Palace along with the Joe Richardson Express, an American blues group.
About 50 people turned out on Saturday to honour the memory of Jan Palach, a student who burnt himself to death 36 years ago in protest against the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia. Palach, a student at Charles University, set himself on fire in Prague's Wenceslas Square on January 16, 1969. He died of the burns a few days later. Palach was only 20 years old. His funeral at the Oslanske cemetery became a huge manifestation in support of freedom and democracy.
An 80-year-old woman was robbed in her home near the famous spa town of Karlovy Vary by three women who had gained entry into the disabled woman's apartment by posing as employees of the postal service. They pensioner was robbed at knifepoint of 500 crowns. In recent years, pensioners living alone have been regularly targeted for robbery and been victims of fraud.
The number of Czechs to make made donations via mobile text messages to help the survivors of the Southeast Asian tsunami passed the 1 million mark on Saturday. The donations were made through the Donors Message Service, a charitable text-message system established last year in which all three mobile operators in the Czech Republic participate. The general public has donated well over 200 million crowns in total.
The government has requested that Liberia extradite Czech national Dalibor Kopp, who is wanted on charges of illegal arms trading. Kopp, who fled the Czech Republic in December to avoid prosecution, was arrested last week by United Nations peacekeeping forces stationed in Libya. He is accused of knowingly selling arms to Iraq despite an arms embargo and trying to cover his trail by first exporting the arms to Yemen. If found guilty, he faces up to 10 years in prison.
Former health minister Marie Souckova has resigned her position as vice-chairperson of the Social Democrats and left the party. She reportedly was offended by public statements of fellow party members relating to a controversial contract she brokered during her tenure at the ministry, which she left in April 2004. Souckova appointed the lawyer Zdenek Novacek to represent the state in a compensation case launched by the blood plasma company Diag Human. Novacek was to be paid 10 million crowns for taking the case and a further 170 million crowns if he won. Diag Human was seeking 360 million crowns in arbitration.
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