The Czech field hospital that is currently in Afghanistan will most likely take part in a peace operation following the war on Iraq. Speaking to journalists on Friday, Defence Minister Jaroslav Tvrdik said preparations for action in the Gulf would begin as soon as the field hospital returns home from Afghanistan. If necessary, it could be deployed as early as March 31. The Defence Ministry has also decided to release 15 million Czech crowns, about half a million US dollars, from its budget to be used to aid Iraqi civilians affected by the war.
Interior Minister Stanislav Gross said on Friday there was no immediate threat of a terrorist attack on the Czech Republic. Speaking after a Central Crisis Committee meeting, attended by the heads of Czech intelligence and police representatives, Mr Gross said security measures around the country have been increased solely as a precaution. Some 620 soldiers are to assist the five thousand police and two thousand fire fighters who are currently guarding areas that are possible terrorist targets.
In a move aimed at countering any terrorist threat resulting from the war on Iraq, Poland announced on Friday it intended to block 23 unmanned border points with the Czech Republic. The areas in question are mainly hiking trails in mountainous areas. A Polish border guard communiqué' quoted by Poland's PAP news agency said the crossing points would be closed on Friday afternoon until further notice.
Doctors at a hospital in the city of Brno fear a patient admitted on Friday morning may be suffering from Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, SARS. In the Czech Republic, this brings the total number of suspected cases of the severe and contagious strain of pneumonia, which is believed to have spread from Asia, to three within 24 hours.
Prague City Hall is to be allocated over 150 million Czech crowns, a little over five million US dollars, out of the EU's ISPA fund. The money is to be used in two projects repairing sewage systems that suffered severe damage during last year's devastating floods.
All Czech Airlines' flights to and from Tel Aviv are facing delays of around four hours. A CSA spokesman said on Friday that this was for security reasons to assure that all flights would take place in broad daylight. So far, the war on Iraq has not resulted in the cancellation of CSA flights to and from Israel.
A public opinion poll conducted by the Czech Centre for Public Opinion Research suggests that public trust in senior Czech politicians has increased significantly since February. The number of Czechs satisfied with deputies in the lower house of parliament has increased by 12 percent to reach 40 percent of those polled. Forty-seven percent of respondents said they had faith in Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla's cabinet.
Unlike the last few week-ends, this Saturday and Sunday will see some sun and warm weather throughout the country. On Saturday, temperatures are expected to reach a maximum of 9 degrees Celsius, which should rise to 11 degrees Celsius on Sunday.
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