News

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Legendary WWII pilot dies at age 94

The legendary WWII pilot General Frantisek Fajtl has passed away at the age of 94. The war veteran had fought in France, the United Kingdom - where he served in the Royal Air Force, and in the liberation of Czechoslovakia. He also survived three prisons and a concentration camp. General Fajtl was awarded the Order of the White Lion, the highest state distinction, two years ago. Frantisek Fajtl died in hospital on Wednesday morning.

Social Democrats call on to President not to delay talks on new government

The Social Democrats have called on to President Vaclav Klaus not to delay talks on the establishment of a new government. Following the failure of the minority Civic Democrat government to get a vote of confidence in Parliament on Tuesday, President Klaus said he would take steps to appoint a new prime minister designate after the senate and local elections on October 21 and 22.

When it comes to entrusting someone with the task of forming a new cabinet, the president faces no time limit and is free to pick whoever appears to have the biggest chance of carrying out the task.

Government discusses military presence abroad

Czech soldiers from the anti-chemical unit will help guard next month's NATO summit in Latvia, the cabinet, which is expected to resign next week, decided on Wednesday. Twenty-seven experts on chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons will be deployed to Riga, where they will serve from November 21 to December 9. The Czech contingent will be part of a multi-national unit but its expenses paid for by the Czech Republic, the Defence Ministry said.

The government also decided to send three specialists on pyrotechnics to Lebanon. The team is to take part in the UN's peace-keeping unit UNIFIL.

Terezin memorial site vandalised

Police say a memorial at Terezin has been vandalised and a bronze plaque commemorating the victims of fascism has disappeared. The fascists turned Terezin into a Jewish ghetto and the fortress town in North Bohemia was also the site of a Nazi labour camp. The plaque disappeared from the bank of the Ohre River into which the fascists threw the ashes of 22,000 perished Jewish prisoners in November 1944.

Minister Vondra: special meeting on US anti-missile base unnecessary

Foreign Minister Alexandr Vondra has said that the possibility of a US anti-missile base being built in the Czech Republic need not be discussed at a special meeting of the lower house of parliament. The minister was reacting to a request by Communist MPs to hold the meeting next Friday to decide on a new law on a referendum they propose to hold on the issue. Mr Vondra says members of the Bush administration told him during a recent visit to New York that a decision on what country will host the US base will not be made before the end of this year.

Minister Vondra releases statistics on Czechs abroad

Minister Vondra, on Wednesday, also released a number of statistics involving Czechs abroad. The number of Czechs committing offences involving narcotics is on a dramatic rise, he says, with 45 people arrested this year alone. In the summer months, 90 citizens passed away compared to 107 in the same period last year. While the number of hospitalised Czech tourists has decreased (168 as opposed to 132 in 2005), the number of accidents has risen by 23 to reach almost three hundred (295 accidents).

Exhibition of Vaclav Havel state honours

An exhibition has just opened in the Romanian Embassy in Prague, featuring over two dozen state honours received by former Czech president Vaclav Havel. The medals and honours are from 24 countries and were given to the former dissident and human rights activist in the period from 1989-2005. The exhibition will close on October 12. Vaclav Havel turns 70 this Thursday.

Tennis: Novak reaches third round at Japan Open

Czech tennis player Jiri Novak defeated British number one Andy Murray in the second round of the Japan Open men's singles in Tokyo on Wednesday. Novak won the Japan Open championship in 2004 with a victory over US player Taylor Dent.

Weather

The next few days are expected to bring scattered showers and a drop in day temperatures to around 15 degrees Celsius.