The Czech Cabinet has made the definite decision to purchase fighter jets to replace the Army's aging fleet of MiG-21s. During its session on Monday, it also approved a defence ministry proposal to acquire the jets through strategic order, and not by public tender. Next week, the government decides who will be part of a special commission that will be responsible for selecting suitable offers. So far, nine countries have agreed to forward their proposals by the end of the month. With the lifespan of the Czech Army's 14 MiG 21 supersonic jets expiring, it needs to replace the fleet by 2005 at the latest.
The government also agreed on Monday to have 254 million Czech crowns transfered from the state budget to the Education Ministry. The money is to be used for the Internet for Schools project, which aims at increasing computer literacy among schoolchildren throughout the country by providing computers and Internet connections to schools. At the beginning of the month, cabinet approved to prolong the project by a year, to end in 2006.
A district court in Slovakia has found two Czech pathologists guilty of the illegal extraction of human organs. Richard Zemanek has been sentenced to eight months in prison and Josef Karasek to six months. Both men are also not allowed to work in the health sector in Slovakia for the next five years. The pathologists were arrested after Mr Zemanek was detained at the Slovak border with a cooling box full of human organs. The organs were given to him by Mr Karasek, who acquired them without state permission at a pathology department in the town of Skalica in western Slovakia.
The Czech Communist Party now enjoys second place on the popularity ladder, according to the results of a public opinion poll conducted by the STEM agency this month. While trust in the Communists has risen to 18.5 percent, public support for the Social Democrats has dropped to 16.6 percent - at the same time last year, it stood at 29%. The opposition Civic Democrats continue to lead with 32.6 percent.
Tuesday is expected to be another cold and rainy day with cloudy skies and scattered showers throughout the country. Temperatures will range from 6 to10 degrees Celsius.
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