The Czech Republic has granted asylum to 15 people from Uzbekistan at
the request of the United Nations refugee agency, the UNHCR. The 15 had
to leave Uzbekistan after taking part in an anti-government
demonstration in the country in May.
Meanwhile, the Czech foreign minister, Cyril Svoboda, has opened a new embassy in the capital of Moldova, Chisenau. Previously, the Czech Embassy in the neighbouring state of Romania was responsible for Czech diplomatic relations in the former Soviet state.
It's a boy! DNA tests have proven that the first gorilla born in the Czech Republic is male. When the gorilla, named Moja, was born in December last year keepers at Prague Zoo believed it was female, but doubts later arose over the primate's gender. Moja and four other gorillas are currently to be seen around the clock on the internet in a gentle parody of "reality" TV programmes.
The Czech prime minister, Jiri Paroubek, was forced to cancel a two-day official visit to Israel when his Israeli counterpart, Ariel Sharon, was taken to hospital after suffering a minor stroke. Mr Paroubek, who was due to leave early on Monday morning, had also planned to meet Israel's president, Moshe Katsav, and present the latest Czech made Skoda car on the local market. The visit will be rescheduled, the prime minister's spokesperson said.
The Civic Democrats remain the most popular political party, suggests an opinion poll released on Monday by the STEM agency. The right-of-centre would take 31 percent if elections were held now, followed by the governing Social Democrats on 26 percent. Fourteen percent of those polled said they would vote for the Communist Party. Fifty-one percent said they would cast their ballots.
The Czech Republic remain in second place in the rankings of world football's governing body, FIFA. The standings for December were released on Monday, showing Brazil in first place and Holland in third. The Czech team are currently looking forward to next year's World Cup in Germany, the first time the country has reached the competition in 16 years.
Czech customs officers have seized 19 kg of heroin in a truck entering the country from Slovakia. The find has been partly credited to use of a large mobile x-ray detector. A spokesman said the heroin was moving along the so-called Balkan trail, on which Czech customs also seized a large quantity of the drug earlier this year.
If the South Korean company Hyundai opens a car plant in Moravia Czech gross domestic product could increase by 1.5 percent in the year 2009, an official from state agency CzechInvest said on Czech Television on Sunday. A deal has been struck to buy land for the proposed plant, which would employee 3,000 people; a decision on whether it will be built is due by the end of the year.
The Foreign Ministry is to help 200 ethnic Czechs living in Kazakhstan return to the Czech Republic next year, Czech Television reported. The ministry is to spend around a million US dollars helping them find work and accommodation. Their families moved to Kazakhstan in two waves, in the mid-19th century and at the beginning of the 20th century.
The Union of Communist Youth has staged a protest outside the Constitutional Court in Brno against moves to ban the organisation because it promotes violent revolution. The Interior Ministry has threatened to outlaw the group if they do not change their policies, on the grounds that the young Communists are registered as a civic association, not a political party. They say they have no intention of dropping their call for a workers' revolution.
The police have arrested two boxers who acted as bodyguards for fugitive businessman Radovan Krejcir, the Sunday newspapers reported. The two recently visited Mr Krejcir in the Seychelles, where he fled after escaping from the Czech police. Meanwhile, the businessman says he will release documents proving he paid bribes to the governing Social Democrats. Radovan Krejcir is wanted on charges of plotting the murder of a customs officer and large scale fraud.