Vaclav Klaus has discussed the looming war with Iraq with his Slovak counterpart, Rudolf Schuster, on what is the Czech president's first official foreign visit since being appointed earlier this month. Mr Klaus said he stood by the Czech parliament's January resolution that it would only join the United States-led war if it was approved by the United Nations, or if Iraq used weapons of mass destruction. While in Bratislava, President Klaus also held talks with the Slovak prime minister, Mikulas Dzurinda, and parliamentary chairman, Pavol Hrusovsky.
So far the governing coalition has refused to adopt a position on the Iraq war until it gets underway, a stance that is unlikely to change after the cabinet meets on Wednesday to discuss the matter. However the Czech opposition parties are deeply divided on the issue. The right-of-centre Civic Democrats have called for the Czech Republic to stand by the United States and its allies. The party's deputy chairman Petr Necas on Tuesday slammed the government for refusing to adopt a clear position. The Communist Party by contrast says the United States' approach breaches international law. Deputy chairwoman Zuzka Rujbrova said on Tuesday the cabinet should stick to the resolution on the issue passed by parliament in January.
The commander of the joint Czech-Slovak anti-chemical unit based in Kuwait, Dusan Lupuljev, said on Tuesday that his soldiers were in very good condition, both mentally and morally. The joint unit is ready to go into action within half an hour if weapons of mass destruction are used in Kuwait, and within two hours anywhere in the region, the commander said. Earlier this year the Czech military presence in the Persian Gulf was reinforced following a United States request for assistance in a possible war against Iraq.
Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla has said TV Nova should play a part in dealing with the costs to the state of a legal battle involving the station. An arbitration court on Friday ordered the Czech Republic to pay US company CME 10.2 billion crowns, or around 335 million US dollars, for failing to protect CME's investment in Nova. Earlier on Tuesday Finance Minister Bohuslav Sobotka invited Nova director Vladimir Zelezny to discuss the issue of how the station could play a part in paying the arbitration costs. Mr Zelezny, who was elected to the Senate last year, is being investigated by Czech police on a number of fraud charges.
A Prague doctor has won an appeal against a suspended sentence for "spreading tuberculosis". Doctor Hana Buresova had earlier rejected a pardon from former president Vaclav Havel, and vowed to clear her name in the courts. The case arose when a friend of a TB patient at her emergency ward told her he would take the man to a different hospital, but then failed to do so. Doctor Buresova's case is not completely closed however: a local authority office is to rule on the matter and if she is found guilty of neglect, she will have to pay a fine of 10,000 crowns.
Prague police have arrested a man for the killing of a 26-year-old waitress at a wine-bar on the Old Town's Anenska street on Monday morning. The man, aged 36, confessed later on Monday to robbing the waitress of around 7,000 crowns - or less than 250 US dollars - and stabbing her to death.
Wednesday should be a sunny day in many parts of the Czech Republic, with a maximum daytime temperature of 11 degrees Celsius.
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