Czechs paid tribute to the victims of the Madrid bomb blasts by holding three minutes of silence at noon on Monday. Thursday's attacks on Madrid commuter trains left 200 dead and close to 1,500 injured. On Monday and Tuesday, people can sign a condolence book at the Spanish Embassy in Prague. A solemn mass in memory of the victims of the terrorist attacks will also be held at Prague's St Tomas' Church on Tuesday afternoon.
The Czech People in Need Foundation launched a campaign on Monday to commemorate seventy-five Cuban journalists and human rights activists who were imprisoned by the Castro regime last April. Under the Stop Repression in Cuba campaign, seventy-five volunteers represent the prisoners and spend an hour each in a symbolic cell set up on Prague's Wenceslas Square. Among the volunteers are politicians, artists, and journalists including Senate Chairman Petr Pithart, Deputy Prime Minister Petr Mares, journalist and former dissident Petr Uhl, and artist David Cerny.
Monday saw security tightened around Prague's Ruzyne airport with an armoured carrier now guarding the premises. Dogs are also to be used more frequently in security controls of cars, baggage and during passenger clearance.
Czech Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla is currently on a two-day visit to Romania aimed at strengthening bilateral political and business relations. At a meeting with his counterpart Adrian Nastase, Mr Spidla offered to help Romania prepare for EU membership by sharing Czech experiences. The two politicians also agreed that there was room for more trade. The Czech government's CzechTrade agency promoting foreign trade used the occasion of Mr Spidla's visit to open its new office in Bucharest. On Tuesday, Mr Spidla plans to meet with members of the Czech community and attend a Czech-Romanian business forum. He is scheduled to leave for Macedonia on Tuesday evening.
The terrorist attack in Madrid will not speed up plans to move the Prague-based headquarters of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) out of the city centre. According to Sonia Winter, spokesperson for the US funded station, there are also no plans to tighten security around the building, which sits next to the National Museum at the top of Wenceslas Square. The Czech government discussed re-locating the building after the September 11 attacks on the United States for fear that attacks against US interests around the world would follow.
The number of law suits filed by Czech citizens against the Czech Republic with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg is on a dramatic rise. A government representative at the European Court, Vit Schorm, told the CTK news agency on Monday that, since 1993, the Czech Republic has spent 17 million crowns on disputes with citizens in the European Court. Compared to the number of suits lodged in 2002, there were some 88% more filed against the country in 2003.Out of the fifteen cases the state has lost, only two have been resolved so far.
Tuesday is expected to have partially clear skies with day-time temperatures between 13 and 17 degrees Celsius.
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