Daily news summary News

02-07-2005

Social Democrat MPs want conditions changed on a historic $1 billion army tender

Several Social Democrat deputies serving on Parliament's defence committee are pushing for the Czech army's 1 billion dollar tender for the purchase of armoured personnel carriers—now underway—to be revised. The tender, agreed by the Cabinet in April, is the largest in the army's history. Social Democrat MPs Radek Turek and Antonin Seda are among those calling for the share of domestic Czech participation in any contract to be 40 percent or higher. The current tender sets that minimum at 25 percent. Formal bids to outfit the army with some 230 NATO-standard compatible armoured personnel carriers are now due at the Ministry of Defence by mid-July. But industry analysts say the deadline will need to be extended by a month or more, if the ruling Social Democrats succeed in changing the tender's conditions.

The State has finally completed its economic analysis of the Cesky Dum financing scandal in Moscow

A comprehensive economic analysis of the questionable leasing of Czech state-owned property in Moscow a decade ago has finally been completed. State attorney Zbynek Podlipny said the results of the analysis show that the Cesky Dum (Czech House) in Russia had been rented to a private Czech company for less than two-thirds the market rate at the time. The analysis also shows that the accounting books had likely been altered after the contract was signed, in order to obscure the 14-million crown annual loss to the Czech state. Three foreign ministry officials are now being prosecuted in connection to the Cesky Dum case and face 5 to 12 years in prison. The most senior of the three, former foreign ministry general secretary Karel Srba, is already serving an 8-year prison sentence for contracting the murder of the Mlada fronta Dnes journalist who first exposed the dubious contract. The plot to kill reporter Sabina Slonkova was foiled after the man hired to kill her went to the police.

Separate accidents along Liberec-Prague highway delay traffic, Ralleye Bohemia race

Two separate accidents along the main highway from the northern Bohemian city of Liberec to the Czech capital, Prague, tied up traffic for hours on Saturday. Several people received minor injuries in both accidents, which together involved a dozen cars. The accidents also caused complications for the organisers of the Skoda Auto "Ralleye Bohemia", an annual racing event in and around the city of Mlada Boleslav, home to the Skoda carmaker. Later in the day, a car competiting in the race crossed over a barrier and struck three spectators.

Sharon Stone is awarded the prestigious 'Crystal Globe' at Karlovy Vary International Film Festival

The American actress Sharon Stone was among the Hollywood stars on hand this Friday night for "A-list" celebrations ahead of the official opening of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. The festival, which takes place in the famous Bohemian spa town, is now in its 40th year. Ms Stone received the festival's Crystal Globe award for her contribution to world cinema. Also honoured was the Czech director Jiri Krejcik, aged 78, who was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Other big name celebrities invited to Karlovy Vary this year include Robert Redford, the founder of the independent Sundance film festival, and Ingmar Bergman's favourite actress, Liv Ulmann, who is now a director in her own right.

FC Fulham looking to sign top Czech striker Tomas Jun

The English football club Fulham has confirmed it is looking to sign Sparta Prague striker Tomas Jun, the leading scorer in the Czech top-flight last season. The 22-year-old Czech international is believed to be valued at £2.7million. A representative for Jun told Sky Sports that discussions were still underway, with no official bid yet on the table.

Weather

Light cloud cover is in the forecast for the next couple of days. Daytime highs should remain in the upper 20s.

02-07-2005