Rescuers have recovered the body of a third Czech mountaineer lost in an avalanche last Thursday on a mountain in Kyrgyzstan. Two more Czech climbers remain missing and are assumed dead; the search for their bodies was complicated on Monday by severe weather conditions. The climbers, part of a fourteen member team also including Russians and Ukrainians were struck by the avalanche at 5, 000 metres on Kyrgyzstan's 7000-metre high Mount Khan-Tengri.
According to Czech Radio's Radiozurnal service Jan Klas - the chairman of the Chamber of Deputies' committee monitoring the Czech intelligence service (BIS) - has failed to pass new security vetting allowing him to access top secret information. Czech Radio reported on Monday that Mr Klas had already received the announcement on the decision by the National Security Office. However, Mr Klas has denied his failure to pass and told the station that the matter had not yet been decided and that a final decision would be made public within a number of days.
President Vaclav Klaus has criticised as "toothless" the
policies outlined in the coalition agreement between the three parties in
the new government. Speaking on Czech Television on Sunday, Mr Klaus said
the agreement was vague and did not make the government's top policy
The President also took the opportunity to take a swipe at the opposition Civic Democrats, saying they should have reacted to the new government more quickly. Mr Klaus said the party, of which he is honorary chairman, should be more concerned with the present than possible future developments.
On the issue of former prime minister Vladimir Spidla being chosen as the Czech Republic's next European commissioner, President Klaus was highly critical, saying it was a "con" and a "mistake". Mr Spidla was given the job ahead of Pavel Telicka, the man he himself had chosen to represent the country on the European Commission. The former prime minister will take over from Mr Telicka in November.
Hope was fading on Sunday for any remaining mountaineers - many of them
believed to be Czechs - trapped by avalanches high on a mountainside in
Kyrgyzstan, a local official said. Five Czechs and one Russian were
confirmed killed on Thursday after avalanches on the 7,000-metre
Meanwhile a Czech climber has fallen to his death in the High Tatra Mountains in Slovakia, a mountain rescue worker said on Sunday. Ten Czech mountaineers have died in the Tatras this year.
And the President said he was considering granting a pardon to Karel Hoffmann, who is due to start a four-year jail term on Monday, after being found guilty of disrupting Czech Radio broadcasts during the Soviet-led invasion of 1968. Mr Klaus said he had not yet reached a decision on whether to pardon the former Communist Party official, who is elderly and in poor health.
A fast rail system capable of supporting 300-kilometre-an-hour trains could be begun within 20 years, a spokesperson for the Transport Ministry told the Czech Press Agency. The 700-kilometre system would be built from scratch and would not make use of the Czech Republic's existing rail corridors, which were created between 1839 and 1872.
President Vaclav Klaus has criticised the approach taken by the party he founded, the Civic Democrats, during the recent government crisis, according to Saturday's edition of the newspaper Mlada fronta Dnes. The daily said the President believed the intransigence of party chairman, Mirek Topolanek, was to blame for allowing the three parties in the out-going coalition to form a new government. Mr Topolanek became leader of the Civic Democrats in December 2002, after Mr Klaus had been at the helm for 12 years. President Klaus is the party's honorary chairman.
The first 300 professional soldiers to sign up for the Czech Army took their oath of allegiance on T.G. Masaryk Square in the Moravian town of Prerov on Friday. Among the new recruits were 85 women. Compulsory military service has been phased out in the Czech Republic and the Army will be fully professional from the beginning of next year.
Around 1,000 Polish people arrived on a special train in Jesenik on Saturday to take part in a beer festival in the north Moravian town. A local official said it was the third time guests from Poland had been invited to the festival, adding that the event could lead to an increase in cross-border co-operation.
New avalanches are hampering efforts to find climbers, many of them Czechs, who remain trapped beneath snow on a mountainside in Kyrgyzstan, according to a local official. Five Czechs and one Russian were confirmed killed after avalanches on the 7,000-metre Khan-Tengri peak on Thursday. The accident is the worst to befall Czech mountaineers since 1970, when 14 members of a Czechoslovak expedition died in Peru.