The Czech military says it is not planning to take its Russian made transport planes out of operation in the wake of Thursday's plane crash which killed 42 Slovak soldiers returning from a KFOR mission in Kosovo. It is not yet clear what caused the Slovak military's Russian-made Antonov 24 veer off course and crash in a mountain area close to the border. A Czech military spokesman said that the Czech air force discarded its last Antonov 24 last year, and the remaining Antonov 26 planes were reliable and well-maintained.
The four most popular Czech politicians are all in the government, suggests a poll by the STEM agency. Culture Minister Viteslav Jandak headed the January poll, followed by Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek, Finance Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and Petra Buzkova, who is minister of education. Fifth place was occupied by Pavel Bem, the Civic Democrat mayor of Prague.
A controversial "memorial" erected by the far-right National Party at the site of a World War II concentration camp for Romanies in Lety, south Bohemia has been removed, following a vote by local councillors. The obscure party had planned to unveil the stone memorial on Saturday; they said it was in honour of those who died during the war. However, the idea was strongly criticised by Czech politicians and Roma rights groups. Over 300 Romanies died at Lety during World War II.
The funeral of Lady Luisa Abrahams has taken place in London. She was born in Prague in 1910 and was Czechoslovak ladies golf champion in 1938. During the war she became a major in the Czechoslovak Airforce, before settling in England with her aristocrat husband. But Lady Luisa maintained ties with her home country and did a lot of work for Czech charities.
The Czech minister of defence, Karel Kuhnl, has described as a terrible tragedy Thursday's air crash in which 42 Slovak soldiers died. Mr Kuhnl said the crash was all the sadder for the Czech Republic because the Slovaks had served side by side with Czech soldiers in the United Nations KFOR mission in Kosovo. He also expressed his deepest sympathy to Slovakia's defence minister, Juraj Liska.
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