Belgium and the Netherlands have asked for a chance to make renewed bids in the government tender on fighter jets for the Czech Air Force. The military attaches of the two states told journalists in Prague on Tuesday that the Czech Republic should give the countries which are offering their fighter jets a chance to provide "their best and last bid". The United States recently made a similar suggestion. The Czech Defence Ministry has ruled out the possibility. A commission of experts has recommended that the cabinet buy Gripen fighter jets, manufactured by the Swedish-British consortium Saab-BAE Systems. The cabinet will decide on the purchase on Wednesday. President Vaclav Klaus said on Tuesday that he hoped the government would take a decision based on the country's strategic interests.
The police have launched criminal proceedings against a German national for allegedly having bribed the former mayor of Chomutov and current senator Alexander Novak. Earlier the Senate released Novak for criminal prosecution and in November he was charged with accepting a 40 million crown bribe. According to the police in 1999 the German national offered and paid the former mayor of Chomutov forty million crowns for the purchase of shares in the Severoceska Plynarenska gas company and the Severoceska Energeticka power company, then in the ownership of the town of Chomutov. If the defendant is tried in the Czech Republic and found guilty he could face up to five years in prison.
Iraq has said it will shortly re-open its embassy in Prague. The Iraqi embassy in Prague was closed down last spring after the Czech Republic expelled five Iraqi diplomats from the country. The diplomats who were working for the regime of Saddam Hussein were allegedly planning an attack against Prague based Radio Free Europe. The Czech Republic re-opened its embassy in Baghdad four months ago.
Trade unions at the Dukovany nuclear power plant have gone on strike alert in demand of higher wages. Unions are pushing for a 12,5 percent wage increase. The company's management, the state run power utility CEZ says it can not go higher than 5 percent. The unions are to meet again on Thursday to debate the possibility of strike action.
A traffic police officer who was deployed to improve child safety on a busy crossing was struck by a hit and run driver in the early hours of Tuesday. The thirty year old woman suffered only light injuries. She was busy keeping an eye on children who use that crossing on their way to school. Witnesses said a group of children scampered to safety at the last minute as the car hit the officer. The police have launched an intensive search for the driver.
Wednesday should be overcast with scattered snow showers and day temperatures between minus 2 and plus 2 degrees Celsius.
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