The chief of staff of the Czech Army, Aleš Opata, says an attack that left a Czech soldier dead in Afghanistan was carried out by an Afghan soldier serving alongside NATO troops. Corporal Tomáš Procházka, who was 42, was shot dead on Monday while returning from a routine mission outside his base in Herat Province. His body is due to be flown home on Wednesday.
General Lieutenant Opata said the assailant had fired on the men not primarily because they were Czech, but because they were members of the coalition forces.
The Czech minister of defence, Lubomír Metnar, described the attack as unexpected and unprecedented. Two other Czech soldiers were injured.
A former Czech minister of foreign affairs, Lubomír Zaorálek, says the Czech Republic should gradually withdraw its troops from Afghanistan, as should other NATO members. He made the comment after the shooting dead of soldier Tomáš Procházka in the country on Monday.
Mr. Zaorálek told the news website Novinky.cz that deploying Czech troops to Afghanistan had cost a lot of money. He said it had been a mistake to enter the country, just as it had been wrong to go into Iraq.
Four Czech soldiers have died in Afghanistan in the last three months.
People who have refused to accept the election of Miloš Zeman have not been invited to a ceremony at Prague Castle on Sunday celebrating the centenary of Czechoslovakia, the president’s spokesman, Jiří Ovčáček, said. His statement confirmed reports that some figures, including the heads of political parties, have not received the usual invitation to such events.
Mr. Ovčáček said the Office of the President had done such people a favour as they would not now need to wrestle with their consciences with regard to whether to attend. He said hundreds of people had been invited to the event at the Vladislav Hall and the number ignored was small.
President Miloš Zeman will make a speech in the Chamber of Deputies on Wednesday at a session where a vote will take place on next year’s state budget, his spokesperson said. Mr. Zeman previously backed the draft budget during negotiations between and ANO and the Social Democrats on forming a government.
The coalition plans for a deficit of CZK 40 billion in next year’s budget, down from the CZK 50 million deficit envisaged for 2018. Some opposition politicians have criticised the maintenance of a deficit at a time of economic growth.
The Czech National Bank will on Wednesday issue new CZK 20 coins featuring images of politicians Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, Milan Rastislav Štefánik and Edvard Beneš. The three played key roles in the foundation of Czechoslovakia, the centenary of which is currently being celebrated.
They are ordinary coins rather than memorial ones and are intended to circulate normally. However, they will be limited in number and collectors can acquire a maximum of three of each from branches of the Czech National Bank.
The regular CZK 20 coin features a portrait of St. Wenceslas on horseback.
Many of Prague’s museums will open their doors free of charge or for a token sum on Saturday and Sunday, when events are being held to mark the centenary of the foundation of Czechoslovakia. Some of the 14 institutions taking part in the weekend’s celebrations are planning to run special programmes in connection with the anniversary.
The most prominent participant in the event Prague Museums 1918–2018 will be the National Museum, which is reopening after major renovations on Saturday. It will host the exhibition Czech-Slovak/Slovak Czech, which has already been shown in Bratislava.
It should be raining in the Czech Republic on Wednesday, with temperatures of up to 9 degrees Celsius. The following days are expected to see daytime highs of up to 12 or 13 degrees Celsius.
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