The Czech government has released information saying the country faces no immediate danger from a terrorist attack. Responding for the first time to a German newspaper report published last week, the head of Czech intelligence services BIS Jiri Ruzek said on Wednesday that his office had received no specific information about a threat from terrorist groups. Last week the German newspaper Bild, citing German intelligence agencies, reported that terrorists from Afghanistan were preparing to travel through the Czech Republic as part of a coordinated attack meant to take place somewhere in Europe, possibly in Germany, Britain, or France. BIS head Jiri Ruzek stressed that Czech intelligence services had investigated the Bild story and found it could not be verified. He added that the intelligence services regularly receive reports about possible terrorist activity.
The Czech Defence Minister Jaroslav Tvrdik has announced that the Czech anti-chemical unit currently serving in Kuwait as part of operation 'Enduring Freedom' will be joined by Slovak soldiers in April, to form a joint battalion. Around 60 Slovak soldiers will complement 358 Czech servicemen and women in the Persian Gulf. The Slovak soldiers will also be proportionately represented in the unit command. The decision by the Slovaks to join the Czechs in the military operation follows a US request made Sunday. The joint-unit will be run along similar lines as the Czech/Slovak KFOR mission currently operating in Kosovo.
Czech President Vaclav Havel has received the highest honour of the Slovak state on his last official visit to Slovakia; Mr Havel was given the honour Wednesday by the Slovak President Rudolf Schuster, who praised Havel as being one of the most important figures of modern Czech and Slovak history. Vaclav Havel is stepping down as president of the Czech Republic on February 2nd, after 13 years in office. Just before his departure for Slovakia Wednesday Mr Havel stressed the particular symbolic importance of this last visit: both Slovakia and the Czech Republic formed a common state in 1918, but split peacefully into separate countries in 1993. Mr Havel, now 66, was Czechoslovakia's only post-communist president from late 1989 until his resignation in mid-1992, a few months before the break-up of the federation.
A new poll released by the CVVM agency on Wednesday has shown that two thirds of the Czech population disapproves of the curreent effort by the US and her allies to lead a possible attack on Iraq as part of the fight against global terrorism. According to the poll less than a quarter of the population supports a possible strike, though only 13 percent of that number said they would back an operation against Iraq without UN Security Council approval. Czech citizens' support of a possible attack against Iraq has been declined steadily since last year: last spring 39 percent of Czechs supported a possible strike, a number which dropped to just 28 percent in November, and a mere 24 percent in the latest poll. According to poll analysts, the public's disapproval of a possible military operation is linked to scepticism an attack would achieve promised goals, such as defeating organised terror.
The leaders from the governing coalition parties the Social Democrats, the Christian Democrats, and the Freedom Union have met again to try to agree on a joint candidate in the Czech presidential elections. Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla told journalists on Wednesday that several names were being discussed but refused to give further information, saying the parties would continue talks. Christian Democrat Jan Kasal did say that possible candidates included non-party members. The coalition talks are aimed at trying to find a candidate with a chance of finding enough support in both houses of parliament to be elected as the successor to outgoing President Vaclav Havel. Under the current system parliament twice failed to elect a new president in January; it is widely considered that failure in a third attempt would lead to a change in the voting system to direct presidential elections.
Thursday should be mostly cloudy with a chance of snowfall but also some sunny periods. Daytime temperatures won't go higher than a chilly 0 degrees Celsius.
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