The Czech Republic and Iraq have signed an agreement on a Czech donation
of military firearms as well as uniforms to be used by Iraqis in the
protection of significant cultural sites. The agreement, signed by the
Czech defence minister and the Iraqi ambassador to Prague, will see some
1,500 submachine guns, 50 machine guns, and 1,500 uniforms no longer in
use by the Czech Army, to be donated for Iraqi personnel to guard sites
have been subject to heavy looting and damages since the outbreak of war
in Iraq. The donated material is expected to reach Iraq in several weeks
in a transport delivery organised by NATO. The Iraqi government has
classified the donation as "humanitarian" rather than military.
In total the Czech government has put forward some 78 million US dollars in recent years towards the reconstruction of Iraq, funds used in humanitarian aid, the running of a Czech field hospital in Basra, and the training of Iraqi police.
A combat Mi-35 helicopter crashed at the Prerov military base in North Moravia on Saturday, while the pilots were practicing emergency landing. No one was injured in the accident but the helicopter was badly damaged. The causes of the crash are being investigated. The Czech military received the new helicopter as part of the repayment of Russia's debt to the Czech Republic amounting to billions of crowns.
Czech teenager Nicole Vaidisova won the Japan Open on Sunday after France's Tatiana Golovin was forced to retire with a leg injury in the second set. The victory was second seed Vaidisova's biggest title to date and her fourth overall. It was also her second in successive weeks having won in Seoul last week.
Although there are no reports of casualties among Czech nationals in the earthquake-stricken regions, according to the Czech Embassy, a group of Czech mountaineers are unaccounted for in Pakistan. The group are believed to be near Nanga Parbat mountain, some 300 kilometres from the epicentre of the quake.
The Czech Republic were beaten by the Netherlands 2:0 in Saturday's Group One qualifier, which secured the Dutch a place in next year's World Cup finals. The Netherlands, who have 31 points from 11 games, are certain to finish top of the group. The third-placed Czechs with 24 points cannot afford to lose in Finland on Wednesday if they hope to clinch a playoff berth.
Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek has said the Czech Republic could donate 25 million crowns (over 1 million dollars) to the earthquake-stricken countries in Asia. The amount will be discussed by the government on Wednesday. The Foreign Ministry has earmarked 5 million crowns. Czech rescue workers are ready to leave for the affected regions as soon as the local authorities specify their needs. A number of Czech charities have said they are going to open special accounts for public donations towards the renewal of the damaged areas.
According to Saturday's edition of The Times, British financial investigators believe that the property empire built up by the IRA's chief of staff Thomas Murphy extends from Britain and Ireland into the economies of Eastern Europe, including the Czech Republic. Mr Murphy who has amassed a personal fortune estimated at 40 million pounds mainly from cross-border smuggling, is alleged to have begun laundering his money by investing in property and legitimate businesses in Bulgaria, Spain, Slovenia and also the Czech capital Prague.
A special jury has selected five designs out of over 400 entries in a competition intended to find a new logo for the Czech Republic. The jury will make the final selection from the shortlist in late November or early December. The new logo is not meant to replace the Czech Republic's state symbols but to represent the country at trade fairs, exhibitions and media presentations as a modern EU member state, with world-competitive services, a rich past and interesting present.
Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek has said he would like to make use of the good name and image of the former Czechoslovakia in the Czech Republic's foreign policy. Mr Paroubek said many people in abroad still refer to the Czech Republic as Czechoslovakia, even 12 years after the country ceased to exist. He also said that both the Czech Republic and Slovakia could benefit from the use of the trade mark. According to the prime minister, the name Czechoslovakia could be used in the same way as the "Made in the USSR" mark sometimes appears on the products of certain Baltic states.