The Czech and Hungarian presidents, Vaclav Havel and Ferenc Madl, believe that the terrorist attacks on the United States last week will boost integration efforts in Europe and strengthen transatlantic ties. The presidents met on Wednesday in Prague to discuss international as well as bilateral issues. They said that the Czech Republic and Hungary, as NATO members, must take an active part in efforts to find and prosecute those responsible for the attacks.
The Czech police have initiated criminal proceedings against the leader of the far-right National Social Bloc, Jan Kopal, for comments he made in support of the terrorist attacks on the United States last week. Mr. Kopal was charged with approving a criminal act, by saying that the United States deserved the attacks in retaliation for what he described as the country's role in international terrorism. Mr Kopal told a gathering last weekend that the attacks were revenge for such actions as the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in March 1999. If convicted, he could be sentenced to up to one year in prison. The National Social Bloc is a new organisation that has brought together several far-right groups, and has a strong neo-nazi skinhead following.
According to Czech defence minister Jaroslav Tvrdik, the imposition of a trade embargo in connection with the terrorist attacks could cost the Czech Republic billions of crowns. Tvrdik said it was likely that a trade embargo would be imposed on countries suspected of supporting terrorism and companies that might appear problematic. These countries include Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Sudan a Syria.
The Foreign Ministry has said the number of Czechs registered as missing in the United States since last Tuesday has now fallen to 58. A ministry official said the majority of these people have been staying in the United States for a longer period of time or in other places than New York and Washington. The ministry will exclude the latter from its list and will intensively search for the remaining twenty people. Earlier, the ministry said there was no evidence to suggest that any Czech citizens had either been killed or injured in the attacks.
The new computer virus, Nimda, which has been spreading rapidly across the globe has also hit the Czech Republic. Representatives of Czech anti-virus companies said on Wednesday that the worm has been spreading at a record pace in the country, although it has not done much damage so far. However, experts say the "Nimda" or "readme" worm is spreading like wildfire throughout the world and will cause more destruction than the recent "Code Red" worm. The worm, whose name is "admin" spelled backwards, attacks both servers and PCs running Microsoft's Windows operating systems.
And finally, the weather forecast. We are expecting a mostly cloudy day with scattered showers in the Eastern parts of the country. The highest daytime temperatures are expected to reach between 12 and 16 degrees Celsius.
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