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Czech Republic: Russia sent 'high number of spies'

Russia deployed an "extremely high" number of intelligence officers at its Czech embassy last year, according to an annual report from NATO member's secret service.

The Czech Republic's secret service has accused Russia of spying. Credit: PA

The Security Information Service (BIS) said Russian and Chinese spies in the Czech Republic work mostly to use politicians or journalists to extend their influence and secure their countries' economic interests.

It added: "Both the Russian and the Chinese embassy employ intelligence officers serving under diplomatic cover. In 2013, the number of such officers at the Russian embassy was extremely high,"

Other intelligence officers travelled to the Czech Republic individually as tourists, experts, academics or businessmen, the report claimed.

It added: "Russian intelligence services attempted to make use of both open and covert political, media and societal influence to promote Russian economic interests in the Czech Republic."

Czech deer still afraid to cross Iron Curtain

Almost 25 years after the electric fences separating the Czech Republic from Germany were removed, deer still refuse to cross the border that once posed a threat to their predecessors.

Deer near the town of Harrachov, Czech Republic Credit: AP

A seven-year study by the Czech Republic's Sumava National Park showed that red deer - who were born years after the Cold War ended - still avoid the border that was once protected by electrified barbed-wire fences and heavily armed guards.

Pavel Sustr, who lead the study, said that the research shows the animals stick to traditional patterns and return every year to the same places.

"Fawns follow mothers for the first year of their life and learn from them where to go," he added.


Palestinian ambassador killed 'by explosives in safe'

The Palestinian ambassador to Prague was killed in an explosion that was triggered when he opened the door to a safe, Czech police said.

"According to information from the investigation so far, this was definitely not a terrorist attack," national police president Martin Cervicek said on Czech Television.

Police spokeswoman Andrea Zoulova said an explosive - which may have been part of a security mechanism - went off after the safe was opened. "With the greatest probability, an explosive device placed on the door of the safe was triggered," she said.

The Palestinian foreign ministry, in a statement reported by the official WAFA news agency, said the blast happened minutes after Jamal opened a safe that had come from the embassy's old offices.

Some safes can be fitted with small charges to destroy secret documents in the event of the lock being tampered with.

Report: Blast detonated when diplomat opened case

A Palestinian official has told Reuters that the Ambassador Jamal recently moved to the residence while another source said the blast was detonated when he opened an "old case".

Speaking from Ramallah, the source said: "He moved an old case with him to the new house from the old house. And when he opened it, the explosion happened."

Explosion took place in northern suburb of Prague

The explosions took place at the two-storey residence of the Palestinian ambassador in the northern suburb of Suchdol.

According to local media reports, his family were in the building at the time but no-one else was injured in the blast.

The explosion was in the northern Suchdol suburb of the city Credit: Google Maps
Internacionální street in Prague Credit: Google Maps


Palestinian ambassador's injuries are 'very serious'

The Czech Republic's public broadcaster has named the Palestinian Ambassador reportedly injured in an explosion in Prague as Jamal Muhammad Jamal.

Emergency services spokeswoman Jirina Ernestová is cited as saying that his injuries are "very serious" and that he is in a medically-induced coma in hospital.

Photographs from the scene showed a police cordon and a range of emergency service vehicles.

Czech Republic to remake 'The Office'

The original David Brent, Ricky Gervais, said Prague was the first place to produce a stage version of the Office. Credit: PA

The Czech Republic will be getting its very own David Brent as the Office is remade for audiences in the eastern European country.

The original Office, first shown on BBC screens back in 2001, has appeared in 90 countries across the globe.

However, BBC Worldwide, has sold the format, moving the action from Slough to Brno, the second biggest Czech city.

Co-creator Ricky Gervais, who played David Brent in the original BBC series said: "I'm extremely flattered and excited that there is about to be a new version of The Office.

"Prague was the first place in the world to produce a stage version, so I'm very glad a local adaptation is coming to TV too. Cue jokes about Gervais and another fat cheque."

Report: River reaches peak level in Prague

The level of the River Vltava has reached its peak and is expected to begin returning to normal levels, according experts cited in the Prague-based daily Mlada Fronta Dnes.

Some 60 roads remain closed as well as large parts of the city's metro system, the newspaper reports.

This was the scene in the early hours of this morning:

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