The Czech embassy in Pakistan has urged all Czech nationals to leave the country as soon as possible. According to the Czech Foreign Ministry, it is believed that there are up to thirty Czech nationals, including two journalists, currently in Pakistan. According to the head of the embassy's consular department, Milan Vohralik, any Czech nationals currently in Pakistan should contact the embassy immediately to arrange safe transport out of the country. Following the terrorist attacks on the USA last week, the situation in Pakistan is tense. Air strikes could be launched against neighbouring Afghanistan within a few days if the ruling Taleban movement does not hand over the main suspect in the case, Osama bin Laden to the USA. The Czech Foreign Ministry has also warned Czech nationals against travelling to Pakistan, or to Iran, which also shares a border with Afghanistan.
Experts in the armed forces say they have found no proof that Osama bin Laden may have been able to obtain the deadly chemical anthrax in the Czech Republic, or its predecessor, Czechoslovakia. An investigation was launched into the case following allegations in the British newspaper the Daily Mail that Osama bin Laden had acquired Czech supplies of the chemical. According to a spokesman from the Defence Ministry, all samples of dangerous chemicals that could be used to make chemical weapons were destroyed in 1994 on the orders of the Defence Ministry. Since then, the spokesman said, the Czech armed forces have not had these chemicals at their disposal.
According to Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kavan the attacks on the USA could speed up the process of EU expansion. This, said Mr Kavan after meeting with the Slovak Deputy Prime Minister Maria Kadlecikova, would help ensure security and stability in Europe. The European Union will feel the need for a strong joint foreign and security policy, the Czech Foreign Minister told journalists, and in this case, expanding and uniting the EU corresponds to this trend. As it stands, the European Union plans to accept its first wave of new member states, the Czech Republic included, in 2004, in time for the next European Parliament elections.
Czech Defence Minister Jaroslav Tvrdik has announced that despite the fact that the situation around Afghanistan remains tense, the Czech armed forces have decided not to take any extra security measures. On Tuesday, the Taleban movement called for volunteers to fight a holy war, or Jihad, if Afghanistan is attacked by the United States. The armed forces, the Defence Minister told journalists, are currently on a lower level of alert, and could be put on high alert immediately if there are any sudden developments.
The Czech police have filed charges against one of the Czech Republic's most notorious post-communist figures, businessman Viktor Kozeny. Mr Kozeny, the former controversial head of the now bankrupt investment company Harvard Funds, has been charged with fraud amounting to some 11.5 billion Czech crowns, or roughly 300 million US dollars. Charges have also been filed against the former forced administrator of Harvard Funds, Boris Vostry. According to the chief investigator into the case, Vaclav Laska, the charges have been sent to Mr Kozeny's lawyer in the Bahamas. Mr Kozeny has until Tuesday next week to respond to the charges.
And finally, a quick look at the weather forecast. Wednesday in the Czech Republic should see cloudy to overcast skies, with rain showers in places. Daytime highs could reach 17 degrees Celsius. Night-time lows on Wednesday could drop to 5 degrees Celsius.
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