The funerals of two of the Czech soldiers were due to take place on Friday. Full military honours were given for 39-year-old corporal Jan Šenkýř at Hradec Králové in the morning. He was promoted in memorium to rank warrant officer. Around 1,000 people attended the ceremony. The funeral of 19 year old corporal Libor Ligač was due to be held not far away at Týniště nad Orlicí on Friday afternoon. Funerals of the remaining two soldiers still have to take place.
Five replacements for the soldiers killed in last week’s suicide attack also flew out to Afghanistan on the special flight from the Czech Republic on Thursday. The five will be given three-days of special training at the Bagram air base before taking up their duties. Around 150 Czech soldiers are tasked with patrolling the perimeter of the massive base with the main goal to stop rocket attacks being launched on it. The Czech contingent has been particularly successful in the past in collecting information about possible attacks.
Czech Airlines has confirmed that it had changed the flight paths of all its eastern-bound flights in order to avoid Ukraine’s airspace following the downing of a Malaysian plane that killed close to 300 people on Thursday. A spokesman said all late night Flights on Thursday and all flights on Friday had been rerouted though some may take slightly longer as a result of the changed route. Passengers have been advised to contact information.
Defence Minister Martin Stropnický on Thursday paid a morale-boosting visit to Czech troops in Afghanistan, following last week’s suicide bomb attack which killed five servicemen. According to military sources the minister thanked the troops guarding the Bagram military base for their good work and discussed the practical aspects of their service in the wake of heightened attacks by Taliban insurgents. The minister also brought messages of support that people sent the Czech unit in the wake of the tragic incident. It took a tragedy of such proportions for people to come to appreciate and admire their servicemen’s great courage, the minister told the troops. For security reasons, information about the minister’s visit was only released on Friday.
The lower house on Thursday approved in its first reading a government-proposed bill which would introduce a reduced 10 percent VAT rate on books, baby food and medicines as of January 2015. The basic VAT rate of 21 percent and the reduced rate of 15 percent will be maintained. A final vote on the bill in the lower house is expected in September, after which it will still have to win approval in the Senate and be signed into law by the president.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka on Thursday met with the Minister For Human Rights and Minorities Jiří Dienstbier to discuss problems and priorities in the given portfolio. He praised the minister’s strategy in fighting social exclusion and integrating the Roma minority. Minister Dienstbier is pushing ahead with plans to establish social housing and is currently working on a bill that would increase the powers of the Ombudsman.
The Višegrad Group states and South Korea have agreed to broaden bilateral cooperation in the areas of business, science and culture, the ctk news agency reports. At a meeting in Bratislava on Thursday Czech, Polish, Slovak, Hungarian and South Korean officials discussed potential areas of cooperation. The Višegrad Group countries have attracted plenty of South Korean investors. Most recently the tire manufacturer Nexen chose the Czech Republic for its 23 billion crown investment, a tire plant that is expected to create over 1,000 new jobs.
President Miloš Zeman has refused to appoint Judge Jan Veselý chief justice of the regional court in Ustí nad Labem, the ctk news agency reports. According to the president’s spokesman the head of state based his decision on the negative stand of the Czech Judges Union to the nomination as well as the poor performance of the court in Mělnik where Judge Veselý is currently chief justice.
Hundreds of people attended the funeral of one of the five soldiers killed in a suicide attack in Afghanistan last week. Sergeant David Benes was laid to rest in his home town of Chomutov, north Bohemia, on Thursday. A mass served in the Church of St. Ignac was for family and friends only but the funeral at the local cemetery was open to the public. The soldier was buried with military honours.
Czech singer Michal Hrůza, who was due to perform at the Colours of Ostrava music festival tonight, is hospital in critical condition after getting into a fight outside a bar in the city in the early morning hours of Thursday. A hospital spokesperson said Hrůza had suffered severe brain damage and the prospects were uncertain. The police is investigating the incident.
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