News

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Czech soldier dies in Afghanistan bomb attack

A Czech soldier was killed in Afghanistan on Wednesday. He died in hospital after a roadside bombing which wounded four other Czech soldiers, one of them seriously. The troops, who were travelling in a Humvee military vehicle when the attack occurred, were serving with a Czech Provincial Reconstruction Team in the province of Logar, south-east of Kabul. In March a military policeman became the first Czech combat casualty of the modern era when he was killed in a suicide attack in Helmand province. Last year another Czech soldier died in Afghanistan in an accident caused by flooding.

Before news of Wednesday’s attack, the lower house of the Czech parliament voted to send more troops to Afghanistan. Around 100 members of a special forces unit are to be sent to the war-torn state. That comes on top of a deployment of over 400 Czech soldiers approved last year.

May Day gatherings held in Czech Republic

A number of May Day events were held in the Czech Republic on Thursday, which was a state holiday. Left-wing political parties the Communists and the Social Democrats held rallies to mark the workers’ holiday. Far-right groups and anarchists also held gatherings. In Brno police confiscated hammer and sickle flags from the Young Communists, who are outlawed. No disturbances were reported at any of the gatherings.

Man evidently burns himself to death at witch-burning celebration

A 27-year-old man died after apparently setting himself on fire at a traditional čarodějnice (witch-burning) celebration in the village of Vesce in south Moravia. Revellers spotted the man on fire near the bonfire at the centre of the celebration, and attempted to douse the flames. However, he died on the scene of third degree burns. Police said the man’s clothes smelled of petrol and that it appeared to be a case of suicide.

Details of October 28 military parade announced

A Czech Army military parade in Prague in October marking the 90th anniversary of the foundation of Czechoslovakia will also feature Slovak and French troops, the Czech Ministry of Defence has announced. Czech fire and police officers will also participate in the one-hour parade, which is set to take place at Prague Castle on October 28. Soviet style large-scale military inspections began in Czechoslovakia in the 1950s, though the Czech Army pointed out that parades were also held in the inter-war period known as the First Republic. This year’s event will be a one-off.

Nedvěd to make position on return clear next week

The Czech football star Pavel Nedvěd is to announce next week whether he is willing to return to the national team for the European Championship in Switzerland and Austria. The midfielder’s Italian agent told a Czech newspaper that the player should be given time and space to make his decision calmly. Nedvěd, who turns 36 in August, retired from international football after the 2006 World Cup. He scored 18 goals in 91 games for the Czech Republic.

Čech reaches Champions League final with Chelsea

The Czech international football goalkeeper Petr Čech has reached the final of the Champions League with his club Chelsea. Čech made a couple of fine saves but also conceded one soft goal in Chelsea’s 3:2 win over Liverpool on Wednesday night, a result which gave the Blues a 4:3 win on aggregate. Three years ago Milan Baroš and Vladimír Šmicer became the first Czechs to win club football’s most prestigious competition with Liverpool. Last year AC Milan’s Marek Jankulovski became the third.

Weather

It should be quite bright with rain at times over the next few days. Temperatures are expected to reach up to 19 degrees Celsius.