The Interior Minister, Frantisek Bublan, is planning to meet representatives of six Muslim organisations in the Czech Republic next Monday, the ministry's spokeswoman said. They are to discuss the attacks on Danish and Norwegian embassies in the Middle East provoked by the printing of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad in Danish and other European papers. Czech Muslim organisations said in a joint statement on Monday that the publication of the cartoons was a sign of hatred and Islamophobia. They called on personalities from the political, religious and cultural spheres to stand up against its signs and support understanding and dialogue.
President Vaclav Klaus also told reporters on Monday he was not satisfied with the final version of the bill on registered partnerships of same-sex couples passed by both houses of the Czech Parliament. The president has until next Thursday to either sign or veto the bill. In case he does not do either, the bill will become law anyway.
The Czech Republic's diplomatic mission in Ramallah has heightened security measures in connection with ongoing attacks on European embassies in various Arab countries, a spokesman for the Czech Foreign Ministry has said. Western governments are stepping up security measures at their embassies in Arab countries as demonstrations continue against cartoons satirising the Prophet Muhammad published in a newspaper in Denmark and elsewhere in Europe.
President Vaclav Klaus said on Monday that the legal and constitutional complaints, filed by Iva Brozova, who was dismissed as the chairwoman of the Supreme Court last week, only strengthened the prevailing opinion about her performance in the post. Mr Klaus said he was not going to change his decision about her dismissal. President Klaus dismissed Ms Brozova at the request of Justice Minister Pavel Nemec who had repeatedly complained about the state of the Supreme Court.
The Culture Minister, Vitezslav Jandak, has decided to dismiss his advisory council for state monument preservation. A spokeswoman for the ministry said the reason for the dismissal was a finding that the council's activities lead to non-transparent distribution of state money for the renovation of monuments.
Czech Cardinal Miloslav Vlk has expressed sympathy with Muslims protesting against newspaper prints of Prophet Mohamed caricatures. Mr Vlk says Christians have also had to come to terms with several examples of what he called the "defamation" of Christian religious figures. Their objections, however, have not been heard because Christians are less sensitive and not as quick to fight for their beliefs. The Cardinal added that the media "crosses the limits of freedom of speech" when it insults religious figures with examples like the Prophet Mohammed cartoon.
Health Minister David Rath is currently on a state visit to Saudi Arabia, where he is expected to sign a memorandum on closer cooperation with his Saudi counterpart on Monday. Some 5,000 Saudis are treated in Czech spas every year and Mr Rath hopes to see that number rise to push more money into the ailing health sector. The Saudi government has also expressed interest in more Czech doctors, nurses, and physiotherapists, who can share their expertise on spa treatment with their Saudi colleagues.
The National Gallery in Prague celebrated the 210th anniversary of its foundation this Sunday. The gallery came to being on February 5 1796, thanks to the joint efforts of a group of intellectuals and aristocrats called the Patriotic Friends of the Arts. Besides a number of accompanying programmes, the gallery also offered free tours of most of its permanent exhibitions on Sunday.
Fire fighters in the South Bohemian town of Ceske Budejovice battled rising water levels on the river Vltava on Sunday after part of a local hospital was flooded with sewage water. Freezing temperatures froze the river surface, forcing the water underneath to spill back into the canalisation. The river authorities have also been called to the town to lower the water levels.
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