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Czech MoD reveals terms for largest-ever military order

The Ministry of Defence on Wednesday revealed terms for a new tender for 210 tracked vehicles worth some 53 billion crowns, the largest single order in Czech military history.

Four European manufacturers were invited to submit bids to supply the infantry fighting vehicles: BAE Systems, General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS), PSM and Rheinmetall Landsysteme.

Minister of Defence Lubomír Metnar said price will be the decisive factor.

One condition is that a significant part of production and servicing take place in conjunction with VOP CZ, a Czech state enterprise run by the ministry.

President Zeman approves new crisis measures to fight bark beetle infestation

The Ministry of Agriculture as of April will have enhanced powers to regulate timber harvesting and afforestation if necessary to minimize damage by the ongoing bark beetle calamity.

President President Miloš Zeman signed into law an amendment to the Forestry Act, saying it has become clear that existing extraordinary measures are insufficient, his spokesman told the news agency ČTK.

The bark beetle infestation affecting spruce forests throughout the country in 2018 was said to have been the worst in the past 200 years.

Due to the ongoing infestation, the country’s largely coniferous forests are facing extensive felling of trees, which could negatively impact many animal species, including hawks and white-tailed eagles.

MPs name right-wing politician Ladislav Jakl to Broadcasting Council

MPs voted in a secret ballot to name Ladislav Jakl, a controversial politician who ran unsuccessfully for the Senate, to the Radio and Television Council.

Jakl, who long served as the right-hand man of former president Václav Klaus, received 88 votes in the second round of the secret ballot, 6 more than he needed. He was nominated by the opposition far-right Freedom and Direct Democracy party.

Among other things, the Radio and Television Council grants, modifies and withdraws broadcasting licences, oversees the plurality of programme offerings and information, and ensures the independence of broadcasters.

Czechia considers Golan Heights as Israeli occupied territory, Minister Petříček says

The Czech Republic considers the Golan Heights to be Israeli occupied territory, Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček (Social Democrats) said on Wednesday, in line with the common European position and relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

Mr Petříček’s statement, issued after a meeting on Wednesday with his Lebanese counterpart, was in reaction to the United States having unilaterally acknowledged Israel's declared sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

Several other EU countries, including Germany and France, have objected to the Trump Administration’s new position, as has NATO ally Turkey, and Russia.

Estonia replaces Czechia as most attractive CEE country for German investors

The Czech Republic is no longer the most attractive country in the Central and Eastern European region for German investors.

According to a survey by the German-Czech Chamber of Industry and Commerce released on Wednesday, Estonia now tops the list of 15 countries.

The Czech Republic, now ranked second, had held that spot for three consecutive years. Poland placed third.

The main contributors to the decline in attractiveness are a lack of qualified people and weak vocational education, investors surveyed said. Growing labour costs, lack of transparency in public procurement and corruption are also worrying.

Personal secretary to Cardinal Dominik Duka of Prague dies

Milan Badal, a priest and personal secretary to Cardinal Dominik Duka of Prague, has died at the age of 62.

He had long worked as the head of External Relations the Prague Archbishopric and was known for making some controversial statements and criticism of Islam.

Badal was secretly ordained under Communism and entered the Dominican Order.

Czech Republic ends compulsory testing of Polish beef

The Czech Republic has ended blanket checks on beef imported from Poland. The change means that companies accepting deliveries of beef from Poland are no longer required to carry out tests for salmonella. The Czech Ministry of Agriculture said Poland had provided guarantees that it had done all it could to prevent meat from cattle unfit for human consumption from reaching the market.

Earlier this year bad Polish meat ended up in 11 other countries, including the Czech Republic. Despite the end of mandatory testing Czech state veterinarians will maintain an increased level of controls on meat imports.

Czech footballers lose 3:1 to Brazil in friendly

The Czech national soccer team lost 3:1 to Brazil in a friendly game in Prague on Tuesday night. The home side opened the scoring in the 37th minute thanks to David Pavelka’s first international strike. However, Brazil stepped up the tempo in the second half. Robert Firmino drew the visitors level not long after halftime and substitute Gabriel Jesus added a brace in the final 10 minutes.

Weather outlook

Rain is in the forecast for Thursday throughout the country, with the exception of the southern Moravian region.

Average daytime highs should range between 9 to 13 degrees Celsius. The outlook for Friday and Saturday is for clear skies.