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Army ordered back to class

CZECH REPUBLIC. The Czech Republic is sending its soldiers back to school, after discovering that only a few army officers can speak a second language.

Defence minister Miloslav Vyborny has announced that intensive language teaching will now be a priority for army officers as the country prepares for NATO membership. He has already sacked one government official for failing to take advantage of foreign subsidies for such courses.

Many fear that the Czech army's inability to communicate with anyone other than itself could cause mayhem during manoeuvres with other NATO countries.

The officers' nine-month course will include intensive language training, humanitarian law and foreign policy issues.

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