The government has approved a plan recommending that up to 400 Czech soldiers participate in a multi-national stabilisation force in Iraq to help maintain the peace. The recommended include personnel from the Czech 7th field hospital, as well as 50 military police officers and 15 soldiers form the CIMIC unit for civil-military co-operation. On Wednesday government spokeswoman Anna Starkova said the government had also approved measures for the protection of Czech employees from the Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance for Post-War Iraq. Both measures will still have to be approved by Parliament.
The lower house has elected five final members to complete the 15-member Council for Czech TV, the country's public broadcaster. In Wednesday's voting the governing coalition was able to ensure that voting was open and not by secret ballot, as had been previously proposed. Elected were Milan Badal put forward by the civic association Orel, the Pen club's Ivan Binar, Dobromil Dvorak of a cancer charity in Brno, the government's former comissioner for human rights, Petr Uhl, and Jiri Vorac, a professor at Masaryk University in Brno. A task ahead awaiting the fifteen-member council: electing a new director for Czech TV.
The Lower House has passed a government-sponsored bill that will provide Czech zoological gardens with tax relief, overriding an earlier veto by President Vaclav Klaus. Under the bill, which was passed by 135 out of 183 deputies present, Czech zoos will enjoy tax relief on funds received from donations and advertising. Originally, Mr Klaus vetoed the bill on principle, saying it could make legal processes non-transparent. His decision was also echoed by the Senate. In the vote on Wednesday the bill was unsuccessfully blocked by the opposition Civic Democratic Party, of which Mr Klaus is the honorary chairman.
The Czech government has called upon Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda, along with Trade and Industry Minister Milan Urban, to appeal to the European Commission on behalf of the Trinec Steelworks. The government would like to see the troubled steelworks receive public funds for needed re-structuralisation. According to Minister Milan Urban the Trinec steelworks should be added to a list of recipient steel companies that include Nova Hut, Vitkovice, and Valcovny Frydek-Mistek. In the minister's view the addition of Trinec to the list would divide EU funds already pledged, which some sources say amount to 150 million euros.
The deputy to the country's public ombudsman Anna Sabatova has revealed that public ombudsman Otakar Motejl is in hospital. The ombudsman was reportedly taken to hospital on Tuesday suffering from fever; details are not known. He had been scheduled to speak in the lower house on Wednesday, to give a report on recent office dealings, which in the end was provided by Mr Motejl's deputy Ms Sabatova. Otakar Motejl is 71, a former chairman of the Supreme Court, as well as former minister of justice in the previous minority government.
Thursday is expected to be partly cloudy with daytime temperatures of 26 degrees Celsius.
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