The Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced the closure of the
visa and consular affairs section of its embassy in Yemen until further
notice in the face of the increased threat of attack. The embassy itself is
still functioning. The Czech move follows similar steps taken by other
countries such as the US, France and Britain.
Yemen has come under the spotlight in recent days following reports that the man suspected of trying to blow up a US passenger plane over Christmas was trained by radical Islamists there. The Yemen government is trying to counter separatist and terrorist movements linked to Al Qaeda.
A house which was turned into a place of pilgrimage by the Communist regime as the alleged birthplace of Communist leader, prime minister and president Klement Gottwald is to be sold. The current owner of the property at Dědice in Moravia, the local museum, has been using the building as storage space. But it now says that it is no longer needed because more modern facilities are adequate. The small house was turned into a place of pilgrimage after Gottwald‘s death in 1953. But historians have cast doubt on whether his mother, an impoverished farm worker, ever lived there.
Speakers of the two Czech chambers of parliament have called for elections
to the lower house to be held before the end of May. Their call came
following a New Year’s meeting with Czech President Václav Klaus on
Tuesday. President Klaus said on Monday that he favoured calling a vote at
the latest possible date, on May 28 -29.
But speaker of the upper house, Přemysl Sobotka, said he would prefer the vote a week earlier. His lower house counterpart, Miloslav Vlček, suggested the date should be around May 15. They argue an earlier election would give more time for a new government based on a political mandate to replace the current caretaker administration. One of the main tasks of the new government will be to decide on a budget for 2011.
The outgoing head of the Catholic Church in the Czech Republic, Cardinal Miloslav Vlk has warned that Europe is paving the way for its Islamisation because of its desertion of basic Christian values. The warning was made in an interview posted on the Archbishop of Prague’s website. He said that Muslims had many reasons for coming to Europe, one of them was to spread their faith in what was a heathen environment. Unless Christians wake up, they will find society increasingly marked by Islamic values, he added.
Czech farmers have launched a campaign to support the purchase of locally grown products and counter inroads made by imports. Struggling dairy farmers will be the first to benefit with a campaign for milk products. A campaign backing local meat is likely to follow. The campaign which largely features billboards, leaflets and internet ads, is being paid for by farmers themselves and from donations. Czech farmers last year staged protests against the low prices they were being paid for their products with milk sprayed on fields.
Police were called to half as many road accidents in 2009 compared with a year earlier, the daily Mladá fronta dnes reported on Tuesday. Police attended around 75,000 call-outs against more than 160,000 in 2008. But a change in the law rather than an improvement in standards is likely to behind the figures. A new law last year set a 100,000 crown damage ceiling below which police do not have to be called to accidents. Insurance companies say the number of claims last year rose by around two percent to around 170,000.
The death toll from an explosion at a rubber plant in the north-east of the country has risen to two with two still in hospital suffering serious injuries. The explosion at the Avon Automotive Plant which produces rubber parts for cars occurred on Monday morning. Police said on Tuesday that it would take several weeks to investigate the explosion. Production at the US-owned factory which employs around 380 has been halted.
Temperatures last year in the Czech Republic were on average 0.7 degrees Celsius higher according to the Czech Meteorological Office. April was, for example, 4.8 degrees Celsius hotter than average. On the rainfall front, there was 75 percent more rain in March than usual but only around 40 percent of the average rainfall in September. The averages are deduced from measurements taken between 1961 and 1990.
Czech Dakar Rally competitor Aleš Loprais has been forced to withdraw from the race. His Tatra lorry was involved in an accident on Sunday after which it was judged to be beyond repair. It is the second rally in a row that the nephew of the six times winner of the rally, Karel Loprais, has been forced to withdraw from. In 2007 he finished in third place.
In football, Czech captian Tomáš Rosický has signed a new contract with English team Arsenal. The injury prone midfielder‘s current contract was due to expire this season. Details of the new deal have not been revealed. Rosický joined Arsenal in May 2006 but has only played for the club 76 times. He was sidelined for a year and a half due to injury.