Foreign Minister Alexandr Vondra has said a misunderstanding was the
reason why a Czech plane was grounded in Turkmenistan's capital
Ashgabat for 14 hours during the weekend. Mr Vondra made the statement
after meeting the head of the Turkmen delegation to the Organization
for Security and Co-operation in Europe in Brussels, adding the Turkmen
representative had emphasised his country's interest in friendly
relations with the Czech Republic. Minister Vondra pointed out Czechs
had officially taken over command at the international airport in the
Afghan capital Kabul and friendly relations with Turkmenistan are in
the Czech Republic's interest as well.
The Czech aircraft carried a delegation, including chief-of-staff General Pavel Stefka and deputy defence minister Martin Bartak. The President of Turkmenistan allowed the plane to return to Prague on Sunday morning.
President Vaclav Klaus has said he will not comply with the government's request to grant pardons to managers investigated in connection with the case of the Czech bank IPB part owned by the Japanese investment bank Nomura. As part of the agreement with Nomura signed last week, the government of Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek authorised Finance Minister Vlastimil Tlusty to ask President Klaus on its behalf to grant pardons to the people who are being investigated in connection with the IPB case. In the agreement signed on Thursday Nomura has pledged to give up all claims to the Czech Republic and halt all the disputes led against the Czech state. The Czech Republic will in turn withdraw a lawsuit over protection of investment and put an end to all disputes with Nomura.
The Prague Stock exchange's key PX index set a record closing high of 1585.9 points on Monday, bettering its previous record of 1,584.4 set on February 27 this year. Most shares rose on Monday, with the property group Orco one of the biggest climbers with an advance of 3.57 percent during the day. Only Komercni Banka bucked the trend among major blue chips.
President Vaclav Klaus has received a report on the completion of the first part of the Czech armed forces' reform from chief of staff Pavel Stefka. President Klaus called the reform "an important milestone" and said that the Czech military was changing over the past few years along with the security situation in the world. He praised the military for having expanded its participation in peace-keeping missions and for fulfilling commitments towards NATO and the EU.
A 30-year-old former employee of a hospital in the east Bohemian town of Havlickuv Brod, who has been accused of the murder of seven patients and attempted murders of another 10 people, has been taken into custody. The man is suspected of committing the crimes at the emergency department of the hospital from May to September this year. He is suspected of administering a blood anticoagulant to the patients who consequently died of massive bleeding. If found guilty, the man faces a life prison sentence.
The former mayor of the Moravian town of Budisov, Ladislav Peta, who is among several officials suspected of illegal drawing of money from EU funds, will be released from custody, Czech Television reported on Monday, citing the state attorney's office. The state attorney has come to the conclusion that the reasons for Mr Peta's remaining in custody no longer exist. The police suspect Mr Peta and his accomplices of overvaluing the planned Budisov chateau reconstruction and applying for EU subsidies for the project. If they drew the subsidy, they could illegally enrich themselves with some 30 million crowns altogether.
The Foreign Ministry has expressed concern over the Sunday blockade of the Czech-Austrian border crossing Wullowitz/Dolni Dvoriste in connection with the Temelin nuclear power plant. Deputy Foreign Minister Tomas Pojar met the Austrian Ambassador to the country, Margot Klestil-Loeffler, to discuss the issue on Monday. Austrian anti-nuclear activists blocked the border using tractors for six hours. This has been the longest blockade in the last six years. Protesters also sealed the Gmuend/Ceske Velenice border crossing for an hour. The Czech ministry is against the blockades as it says that they violate fundamental European freedoms of free movement of people and goods.
A work by the acclaimed Czech painter Jan Zrzavy has sold for 5.5 million crowns. It is the only work by the great early twentieth century protagonist of the Czech avantgarde that has sold for a price exceeding 2 million crowns. The painting entitled "Studne Locronan III" was auctioned off in Prague on Sunday and dates to 1938. It is the last work made by Jan Zrzavy before he moved to France.
Foreign Minister Alexandr Vondra wants an official explanation from Turkmenistan why a Czech plane was grounded in the capital Ashgabat. Turkmen authorities say the plane was not authorised to enter Turkmen airspace. The aircraft was carrying a delegation returning from Afghanistan where Czechs officially took over command at the international airport in Kabul. The delegation, including chief-of-staff General Pavel Stefka and deputy defence minister Martin Bartak, were forced to spend the night in the plane. The President of Turkmenistan allowed the plane to return to Prague on Sunday morning.
Austrian opponents of the Temelin nuclear power plant are staging a blockade of the Czech-Austrian border crossing Wullowitz-Dolni Dvoriste. The activists, blocking traffic with the help of twelve tractors, are calling onto the Austrian government to oppose the operation of the Temelin plant in southern Bohemia, some 50 km from the border. Austria is a nuclear-free country.