Czech politicians have been expressing deep sorrow over the devastating explosions in the resort island of Bali which killed nearly 200 people on Saturday. Whilst the Czech President Vaclav Havel sent a telegram of condolence to his Indonesian counterpart Megawati Sukarnoputri, the Czech Cabinet held a minute of silence before its session on Monday. Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla expressed sorrow, sympathy, but also outrage and indignation at the attacks and Interior Ministry representatives pointed out that this was another warning that the dangers of terrorism could not be underestimated.
During its session on Monday, the Czech Cabinet approved a bill on the issuing of state bonds to cover the 2001 and part of 2000 state budget deficits, involving a sum of close to 38 billion Czech crowns. The Cabinet also approved the halting of the privatisation process of the state-controlled chemical giant Unipetrol. In September, the leading Czech firm in the agricultural and chemical industry that won last year's tender, Agrofert, failed to pay some 11 billion Czech crowns for a 63-percent stake in the holding. The Finance as well as the Trade and Industry Ministries have been given until November 15th to submit a new plan for Unipetrol's privatisation.
Some 70 members of a Czech field hospital that were to be deployed to Afghanistan on Monday, will be leaving for Kabul on Tuesday instead. The delay was caused by stricter air traffic controls enforced after the weekend's attacks on U.S. military bases in northern Afghanistan. The Czech doctors will be replacing members of another Czech field hospital who have been serving as part of the ISAF mission since March. The first half of the 140-member hospital staff from Hradec Kralove in eastern Bohemia, left a week ago. Most of the members of the field hospital will remain in Afghanistan until the end of the year. With security worsening, the Czech military command only plans to leave some 20 medical experts to work in an international hospital in Kabul in 2003.
A first degree chemical alert was called in the north Bohemian town of Neratovice on Monday morning following a leak of sulphuric oxide from the Spolana chemical factory. The alert was called off after two and a half hours, when chemical experts who were immediately called to the scene secured the factory. The sulphuric oxide is not hazardous to our health and was only found within the chemical plant.
The General Director of the Czech Republic's biggest power utility, CEZ, which owns and operates the controversial Temelin nuclear power plant in South Bohemia, was appointed as chairman of the European Nuclear Council (ENC) on Monday. Jaroslav Mil, is expected to take over the post from Jose Luis Gonzales Martinez in 2003. The ENC is a body that brings together top executives from Europe's main nuclear energy companies, with the aim to ensure the secure development of nuclear energy and trade with nuclear power utilities.
Monday night will be cloudy with occasional showers and temperatures between 4 and 8 degrees Celsius. Tuesday is expected to have early morning fog, overcast skies with occasional rain and temperatures between 11 and 15 degrees Celsius.
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