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Spidla: Czech Republic will not support NATO engagement in Iraq

The Czech National Security Council met on Tuesday to prepare for the upcoming NATO summit in Istanbul, Turkey. Following the meeting, Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla said the Czech Republic would not support any proposals for NATO's engagement in Iraq. This country is, however, willing to participate in peace-keeping missions in the Middle East. In February, Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda offered to act as a mediator to solve conflict on the borders between Lebanon, Syria, and Israel. According to Czech President Vaclav Klaus, who will be leading the Czech delegation to Istanbul, the fact that the next summit will be held in Turkey shows that NATO hopes to have a more clearly defined role in the Middle East. The Security Council on Tuesday also approved the country's military strategy but was not able to agree on a common Czech standpoint on European security and defence policy.

BSE: Diseased cow will not lead to immediate slaughter of entire herd

Czech farmers will no longer have to slaughter an entire herd if individual cattle contract mad cow disease (bovine spongiform encephalopathy or BSE), Czech Television reported on Tuesday. With Czech herds often totalling several hundred cows, the Czech Republic has been opposed to EU regulations calling for the immediate slaughter of the entire herd when a single case of BSE is confirmed. In the last 3.5 years, 1,591 cows were slaughtered because of nine confirmed cases of BSE. At a meeting of agriculture ministers in Brussels this week, Czech Agriculture Minister Jaroslav Palas managed to convince Brussels to allow cows from a herd with one confirmed case to continue to produce milk. Since the beginning of 2001, over 570,000 Czech animals have been tested for BSE. The most recent case of detected BSE, the eleventh case in the country's history, was detected in South Bohemia on April 30.

Presumed victim of Paris tragedy found alive and well

The Czech national who was believed to have been killed in the accident at Charles De Gaulle Airport on Sunday is alive and well. The police found the woman at home when they came to inform her family of the tragedy. Her passport had been stolen some time ago. The identity of the real victim travelling on the passport remains unknown. She is believed to have arrived in Paris on a flight from Ukraine.

Czech soldiers to help train Greek counterparts

Czech soldiers specialised in anti-biological and chemical warfare may train their Greek counterparts, in order to help Greece optimize security during the Olympic Games in Athens this summer. The Greek Army decided to have its own soldiers trained by the specialised Czech units, which were originally meant to be part of security forces at the Olympic Games, but which the Greek government found to be too expensive. The Defence Ministry is currently in talks with the Greek Army and is expected to sign an agreement by the end of the week.

Ice hockey-Czechs pack World Cup squad with NHL players

The Czech Republic announced a World Cup squad loaded with NHL players on Tuesday as they look to put behind them their disappointing world championship performance. Coach Ivan Hlinka, who took over the team after Slavomir Lener officially stepped down two weeks ago, said he had assembled the strongest team possible for the World Cup, which takes place in Europe and North America later this year. Breaking with the tradition of naming a mix of local league and NHL players for the international competition, Hlinka has only included one Czech league player - Jiri Dopita who once played in NHL, and one Russia-based player - Tomas Vlasak.


Wednesday is expected to have overcast skies with occasional showers. Day-time temperatures are forecast between 13 and 17 degrees Celsius, with a maximum of 20 degrees Celsius in southern Moravia.