Defence Minister Karel Kuehnl said on Thursday that the military had decided to reinforce the protection of Czech soldiers in Afghanistan. The military is reacting to the outburst of violence in Muslim countries caused by the printing of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that are considered disrespectful by Muslims.
Four dozen Czech soldiers are serving in NATO's ISAF units in Northern Afghanistan, along with Germans and Danes. Czech soldiers also serve in international missions in other regions in which Muslim populations prevail - Iraq and the south Serbian province of Kosovo but no problems have been reported.
The Council of Judges of the Supreme Court has approved the Justice Ministry's request that Jaroslav Bures become a judge of the Supreme Court. Mr Bures is scheduled to be appointed judge by President Vaclav Klaus on Tuesday and so fulfil all legal conditions to be appointed chairman of the Supreme Court. The post has been vacant since Iva Brozova was dismissed by President Klaus last week. Mr Bures has been cited as a successor to Ms Brozova, but neither the president nor the Justice Ministry have confirmed it. Mr Klaus said at the beginning of the week that the new Supreme Court chairman would arise from the 30 judges whom he would appoint on February 14.
Meanwhile, the Czech Republic's Constitutional Court has decided that Iva Brozova will remain acting chairwoman of the Supreme Court, until the Constitutional Court rules on her complaint against her dismissal.
The Czech Medical Chamber has called on Health Minister David Rath to discuss easing the directive on remunerating medical care. The decree and Mr Rath's policies are opposed by a number of doctors' associations which plan to hold a large protest rally in the centre of Prague later this month. Under the minister's directive, doctors and health-care facilities will receive three percent more money for providing care than they received in the first half of 2005. However, the decree also stipulates strict limits on the use of medicines and certain treatments. If doctors and facilities exceed the limit, they will not be remunerated by health insurance companies and will face penalties.
Czech expatriates who lost Czech citizenship after they left communist Czechoslovakia can still ask for its renewal. President Vaclav Klaus has signed an amendment which abolishes the five-year deadline for the applications which expired last September. Czech legislators decided to amend the law because they expected that some Czech expatriates living in more remote parts of the world may not have learnt about the possibility to apply for the renewal of Czech citizenship.
The tent city which was set up in Prague on January 24 to provide overnight shelter for homeless people will by removed next Wednesday, Prague mayor Pavel Bem told reporters on Thursday. The seven army tents, equipped with wood-burning ovens and toilets, have been providing beds and food for around a hundred homeless people every night. According to estimates, there are some 4,600 homeless people in the Czech capital, while shelters only provide 900 beds. The costs of the operation of the tent city are estimated at just under a million crowns (38,000 dollars).
The next couple of days should be partly cloudy with occasional snow. Daytime temperatures are expected to range from minus 2 to plus 1 degree Celsius.
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