The Czech tennis number one, Jiri Novak, will miss the first Grand Slam tournament of next year, the Australian Open. Novak, ranked 24th in the world, says he is taking the month of January off to spend more time with his family. The 29-year-old told reporters Thursday he would enter only a limited number of tournaments in 2005, although he denied he was planning to retire soon.
According to the latest reports from Southeast Asia, 152 Czech citizens are still unaccounted for four days after the Indian Ocean tidal wave disaster. Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda said it was likely some of the missing Czechs were dead, given the extent of the catastrophe and the time which has elapsed since it occurred. Officials said they had serious concerns about six or seven missing Czech citizens in particular. Most of the Czechs still unaccounted for were holidaying in Thailand and Sri Lanka.
Czech Television has begun showing an advertisement by the environmental organisation Greenpeace free of charge. The ad encourages viewers to use environmentally friendly products and advises them not to buy genetically modified foods. A spokesperson for the station said the advertisement "had a place" on public service television.
The Czech government has agreed to send a military plane to provide
humanitarian aid to Thailand, one of the countries badly hit by
Sunday's tsunamis. The plane is scheduled to leave within hours. After
delivering aid, the plane will help Czechs who were vacationing in
Thailand return home.
Meanwhile the Czech carrier CSA is continuing to send daily flights with humanitarian aid to the area, primarily drinking water, packages of medicine and water purification tablets are also to be sent. Experts such as Czech doctors and psychological councillors are also expected to arrive.
Following Sunday's tsunami disaster, the number of Czechs unaccounted for
in Southeast Asia has fallen from a previous 381 to 263, according to
information from the Czech foreign ministry. The number is still likely to
change. As many as 1,000 Czechs were vacationing or travelling in parts of
Southeast Asia when the deadly tsunamis struck.
Foreign ministry officials believe the majority of those still unaccounted for are safe but unable to contact relatives due to damaged telephone lines and infrastructure. At the same time accidental death can not be ruled out.
Though no Czechs have been reported as having died as a result of Sunday's disaster, the foreign ministry has said it is considering the circumstances of at least eight missing persons' cases as "grave".
Two Czechs who suffered injury have been transferred to hospital in
Bangkok following Sunday's tragedy. A third, supermodel Petra Nemcova,
could not be transferred Wednesday due to the nature of her injures.
The 25-year-old suffered a broken pelvis when the waves hit in
Thailand, and was only rescued after an eight-hour ordeal. She remains
in hospital in Hat Yai and her condition is stable.
Her partner, British photographer Simon Atlee, 33, remains missing.