Russian rescue workers have been attempting to rescue seventeen Czech climbers who are trapped on an active volcano on the Kamchatka Peninsula in the Far East. One team of eight Czechs had ascended to a height of 4,300 metres on Monday when a falling rock hit one member on the head, causing serious injuries. One of the group was able to reach a town at the foot of the volcano to raise the alarm. The other team of ten Czech climbers was located at about 2,500 metres, though there was no contact with either group on Tuesday afternoon. A spokesman for the Kamchatka regional emergency department said thick fog was hampering rescue attempts.
Meanwhile, a Czech climber has died in Tajikistan. Nine other Czechs were evacuated by helicopter on Tuesday, and brought to the Tajik capital Dushanbe. Though the man died last week, the rest of the group were unable to leave their camp due to bad weather, a spokesman for the Czech Foreign Ministry said.
Railways in the Czech Republic have, as in other parts of Europe, been hit by the current high temperatures. There have been several cases of tracks warping in the heat, and trains are running at slower than usual speeds in some areas as a precautionary measure.
The sweltering heat has also been having an impact on Czech hospitals, most of which do not have air-conditioning in all departments. Doctors have been working to ensure that patients drink sufficient amounts of water.
President Vaclav Klaus has accepted the resignation of the justice minister, Pavel Rychetsky. Mr Rychetsky is stepping down in order to take up a position on the Constitutional Court. Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla, who has been having trouble finding a replacement for the outgoing minister, is currently fulfilling the role himself in a caretaker capacity.
The Czech Republic is to appeal once again to the European Union for permission to support an indebted steel products exporter, the Industry Ministry said on Tuesday. The ministry said it would advise the cabinet to continue in its efforts to inject two billion crowns into Trinecke Zelezarny, which is privately owned. The EU has expressed opposition to the plan, which was not mentioned in the Czech Republic's accession talks with the union.
Parts of Prague were without electricity on Tuesday morning, when an employee of the Prague Energy company was killed by an electric current at a distribution station in the city's Malesice district. A spokesman for Prague Energy said it was the first death of its kind in over a decade.
Five people, including four employees of arms manufacturer Ceska zbrojovka, have been arrested on charges of illegal arms dealing, police said on Tuesday. The suspects allegedly made guns from parts stolen from the company, which is based in Uhersky Brod, south Moravia. The man said to be the group's leader was arrested attempting to sell pistols without serial numbers in a car park in Zlin. Police said they had been monitoring the group's activities since last September.
Police in the north Moravian city of Ostrava have arrested two women and a man who they accuse of conning old-aged pensioners out of over a quarter of a million crowns. Police said the group concentrated on women of around 80 years of age. The man would phone them pretending to be their grandson, asking to borrow money immediately to buy a second hand car; he would then send one of the women to collect the money. Eighteen such cases have been uncovered so far, and police are appealing for other possible victims to come forward.
Wednesday should be yet another hot and sunny day here in the Czech Republic, though storms are expected in some places. The maximum temperature will be 33 degrees Celsius.
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