Some 30 Czech soldiers, who are part of a NATO-led contingent providing humanitarian aid in Pakistan, are set to wrap up their mission and return to the Czech Republic next week. The Czechs have been in Pakistan for almost a quarter of a year, arriving roughly two weeks after the country was hit by a devastating earthquake in October. In tandem with Dutch health workers, Czech military health officials treated some 6,000 patients during their stay in Pakistan. When they depart next week, the Czech unit will escort 11 Pakistanis, mostly children, requiring special medical attention in the Czech Republic.
Former international striker Fredi Bobic of Germany has admitted he is considering an offer from Czech football club Sparta Prague. Mr Bobic told the Czech daily "Sport" he was not against the move, saying he was willing to sit down and discuss the offer. The 34-year-old player, a member of Germany's victorious team from Euro '96, is currently training with an amateur team in Stuttgart. Bobic racked up 37 caps playing for Germany's national side, and played 285 games in Germany's first division Bundesliga. Sparta Prague are currently looking for ways to vamp up their team after a disappointing fall season.
Police in Brussels have arrested a Czech arms dealer Dalibor Kopp, wanted since 2004 on an international warrant for allegedly trying to illegally import munitions into Iraq. In the past Mr Kopp faced charges in Liberia and was accused of having ties to Arab terrorist organisations. His arrest Thursday took place at around 6:30 am at Brussel's international airport. The Czech Republic will reportedly now seek his extradition. If found guilty of illegal arms trafficking, Mr Kopp could face up to ten years in prison.
Czech businessman Tomas Pitr, sentenced to 8.5 years in prison for tax fraud in November, has returned to the Czech Republic for the first time since December 23rd. Last month a Prague court issued a warrant for his arrest for fear Mr Pitr might attempt to flee from justice during a holiday abroad. But, on Thursday, Mr Pitr and his defense team appeared before a Prague court reportedly to meet the court's terms. These are said to include Mr Pitr paying bail of an estimated 15 million crowns (around 627,000 US dollars), as well as surrendering his Czech passport and pledging not to leave the country ahead of upcoming legal proceedings. Earlier, Tomas Pitr appealed his sentence and until now has maintained he has no intentions of trying to escape.
The Czech government has approved an amendment to the law regulating economic competition. Proposed by the lower house of the Czech Parliament, the amendment's main aim is to prevent the abuse of a dominant position on the market. It protects the rights of weaker parties in business relationships between construction firms or supermarket chains and their suppliers, for example.
Around one hundred Romany women will be meeting in Prague next month to discuss the ways in which they can actively improve the living standards of themselves and their families. The conference is organised by the grouping "Manushe", which has been promoting the need for an education, independence, and self-confidence among Roma women.
Former Defence Minister Jaroslav Tvrdik is planning a comeback in Czech
politics. The current president of the state-run airline Czech Airlines
(CSA) intends to give up his post to help the senior party in the
ruling coalition, the Social Democratic Party, prepare for the general
elections in mid-June. Mr Tvrdik says his comeback will be short, as he
does not plan to stay in politics after his job as election manager is
The head of the Administration Division of the country's biggest power utility CEZ, Radomir Lasak, is expected to replace Mr Tvrdik as CSA president on January 18. His main task will be to prepare the airliner for privatisation.
The government has decided to record data on the Roma community, using a new monitoring system. The information collected is to be in the fields of employment, qualifications, salaries, accommodation, credit history, and education. Following Wednesday's government session, Justice Minister Pavel Nemec said the system, which would only collect anonymous data, is to aid the state in finding more effective ways of improving the living standards of Romanies.
World Cup leader Jakub Janda was beaten by Norway's Lars Bystoel, who won the third stage of the Four Hills ski jumping tournament at Innsbruck on Wednesday. But Janda was able to take the overall lead of the tournament away from Finland's Janne Ahonen after winning the opening event in Oberstdorf and coming second at Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
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