The legendary WWII pilot General Frantisek Fajtl has passed away at the age of 94. The war veteran had fought in France, the United Kingdom - where he served in the Royal Air Force, and in the liberation of Czechoslovakia. He also survived three prisons and a concentration camp. General Fajtl was awarded the Order of the White Lion, the highest state distinction, two years ago. Frantisek Fajtl died in hospital on Wednesday morning.
Minister Vondra, on Wednesday, also released a number of statistics involving Czechs abroad. The number of Czechs committing offences involving narcotics is on a dramatic rise, he says, with 45 people arrested this year alone. In the summer months, 90 citizens passed away compared to 107 in the same period last year. While the number of hospitalised Czech tourists has decreased (168 as opposed to 132 in 2005), the number of accidents has risen by 23 to reach almost three hundred (295 accidents).
Czech soldiers from the anti-chemical unit will help guard next month's
NATO summit in Latvia, the cabinet, which is expected to resign next
week, decided on Wednesday. Twenty-seven experts on chemical,
biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons will be deployed to Riga,
where they will serve from November 21 to December 9. The Czech
contingent will be part of a multi-national unit but its expenses paid
for by the Czech Republic, the Defence Ministry said.
The government also decided to send three specialists on pyrotechnics to Lebanon. The team is to take part in the UN's peace-keeping unit UNIFIL.
Foreign Minister Alexandr Vondra has said that the possibility of a US anti-missile base being built in the Czech Republic need not be discussed at a special meeting of the lower house of parliament. The minister was reacting to a request by Communist MPs to hold the meeting next Friday to decide on a new law on a referendum they propose to hold on the issue. Mr Vondra says members of the Bush administration told him during a recent visit to New York that a decision on what country will host the US base will not be made before the end of this year.
The Social Democrats have called on to President Vaclav Klaus not to
delay talks on the establishment of a new government. Following the
failure of the minority Civic Democrat government to get a vote of
confidence in Parliament on Tuesday, President Klaus said he would take
steps to appoint a new prime minister designate after the senate and
local elections on October 21 and 22.
When it comes to entrusting someone with the task of forming a new cabinet, the president faces no time limit and is free to pick whoever appears to have the biggest chance of carrying out the task.
An exhibition has just opened in the Romanian Embassy in Prague, featuring over two dozen state honours received by former Czech president Vaclav Havel. The medals and honours are from 24 countries and were given to the former dissident and human rights activist in the period from 1989-2005. The exhibition will close on October 12. Vaclav Havel turns 70 this Thursday.
Police say a memorial at Terezin has been vandalised and a bronze plaque commemorating the victims of fascism has disappeared. The fascists turned Terezin into a Jewish ghetto and the fortress town in North Bohemia was also the site of a Nazi labour camp. The plaque disappeared from the bank of the Ohre River into which the fascists threw the ashes of 22,000 perished Jewish prisoners in November 1944.
The Czech Republic will have to pay the EU a 150 million crown fine ( 5,13 million euros) for exceeding the annual milk quota set by the EC. A spokesman for the European Commission said Czech dairy farmers had exceeded the limit by 17,000 tons. Eight other EU countries will have to pay similar penalties - altogether to the tune of 377 million euros.
The results of a poll conducted by the STEM polling agency suggest that three out of four Czechs have a negative attitude towards Islam. The poll published in Tuesday's edition of Hospodarske Noviny indicates that more than half of all Czechs fear possible terrorist attacks by Islamic terrorists and are afraid of a potential conflict between Western and Muslim civilizations. At the same time, the poll shows that Czechs have scant knowledge about the Islamic faith itself.