The foreign ministry says that a group of 17 Czech citizens in Libya will be evacuated from the country on Monday at the latest. Six of the evacuees are tourists in the desert town of Sabha, eleven others are in the northern port of Benghazi. An additional five employees of the Czech embassy in Tripoli, which has been temporarily closed, are being evacuated on Sunday. The foreign ministry called on all Czech citizens to leave the country on Saturday due to the worsening security situation, primarily in Tripoli.
Leaders of the TOP 09 party have unanimously agreed to put forward a proposal to ban the Communist Party. The head of the party’s parliamentary club, Petr Gazdík, told the news website iDNES.cz that their five ministers would initiate the proposal within the government as soon as possible and have it submitted to the Supreme Administrative Court. Mr Gazdík said that recent comments made by Communist Party members in Parliament, praising communist-era border guards and equating resistance fighters with terrorists, opened the door to a full prohibition of the party.
A majority of Praguers would welcome a Constitutional Court decision invalidating the results of last autumn’s local elections, according to a new survey. The poll, conducted by the agency SANEP, suggests that 65% of Praguers are opposed to the grand coalition between the Civic and Social Democrats at City Hall, which nonetheless is a drop since December, when 80% were opposed. The Constitutional Court will be reviewing the election on March 29 at the behest of certain small parties, which are complaining that the city’s voting precincts were gerrymandered.
A snake breeder from northern Moravia is in specialised care in Prague after being bitten by a Black Mamba, one of the world’s most venomous snakes. The man drove himself to a nearby hospital immediately after being bitten and alerted rescue services of his condition while on route. He was transferred by helicopter to a specialised division of Prague’s Všeobecné fakultní nemocnice and was kept in an induced coma on artificial respiration. The hospital has not provided further information on his condition. The Black Mamba’s bite can inject 10 to 40 times the venom required to kill a human being and is lethal in almost 100% of cases.
Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek says he plans to introduce the main points of his changes to income taxation by no later than March 12. Speaking on TV Prima on Sunday, Mr Kalousek also said that growth in the price of labour is not in the country’s interests and added that labour in the Czech Republic is burdened with the fourth highest tax in the OECD countries. Increasing income tax or social insurance payments would in his opinion lead to higher unemployment, an increased deficit and weaken the country’s competitive ability.
Defence Minister Alexandr Vondra told Czech Televiion on Sunday that he is not planning any changes to the leadership of the Army General Staff. The current Chief of Staff, Vlastimil Picek, ends his term of office this year, however Mr Vondra says that with fundamental reform measures coming up, he does not want to propose anything that would destabilise the army’s high command. He also said he would discuss the possibility of keeping General Picek in office in order to implement those measure with President Klaus.
Czech tennis player Tomáš Berdych has recovered from a muscle injury and will be playing in the first round of the Davis Cup next week in Ostrava, where he will face Kazakhstan. A thigh injury caused Berdych to resign a semi-final match against world number three Novak Djoković in Dubai on Friday. The absence of the top seed Czech would have been a major setback for the national team, with Radek Štěpánek also out due to illness.
The Czech foreign ministry has called on all Czech citizens to leave the country immediately due to the worsening security situation, primarily in the capital city of Tripoli. The notice was posted on the ministry’s website Saturday afternoon. The Foreign Ministry also announced that its embassy in Libya would be temporarily closed as of Sunday and that its staff would be evacuated. News organisations on Friday reported a major government crackdown in which thousands of protestors were said to have been injured or killed. Twenty-two Czech citizens are believed to be in the country.
Writer Arnošt Lustig has died in hospital at the age of 84. He succumbed to a five-year illness at the Vinohrady hospital in Prague on Saturday morning. One of the internationally best known Czech writers, Arnošt Lustig made his name as a journalist for numerous publications and for Czechoslovak Radio, and through a number of novels about WWII and the holocaust, which he experienced first-hand as a Jewish internee in the Terezín and Auschwitz concentration camps. Following the 1968 invasion of his homeland he moved to Israel and then to the United States, and regularly returned to the Czech Republic after the revolution. According to his publisher, he was planning to finish several books and to travel widely when he died.
Former Czech MEP and diplomat Jana Hybaskova has been charged with leading the European Union diplomatic delegation to Iraq. Ms. Hybaskova, who is 45, is the first representative of the Czech Republic to be appointed to such a high post in the EU´s fledgling diplomatic service. She was appointed by EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on Friday. A member of the Czech diplomatic corps since 1990, Jana Hybaskova headed the ministry´s section for the Middle East for seven years and later was the Czech ambassador to Slovenia, Kuwait and Qatar, where she was also responsible for Iraq.
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