Daily news summary News

18-09-2004

False bomb alert

The police have disclosed facts relating to a false bomb alert which forced the national carrier Czech Airlines to cancel a flight from Greece last week. A thirty year old woman with a foreign accent allegedly called the airlines' client centre and informed them that a bomb would go off on flight 423 from Athens. Although the Greek police found nothing suspicious onboard the plane, another call from the woman shortly before departure led to the flight being cancelled. The Czech police arrested the perpetrator shortly after she made her second call from a pay phone on Wenceslas Square. The woman, a foreign national, has been charged with scaremongering. She claims to have made the calls in order to prevent her boss's return from a business trip to Greece.

Czech reconnaissance troops back from Afghanistan

The first fifty members of a Czech reconnaissance unit who took part in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan have returned home. The rest of the 100 member unit are expected back in the course of the next three days. For six months the unit helped to search for members of Al Qaida in the Taliban mountains at an altitude of 4,000 metres above sea level. They allegedly received high praise from the allied command, but Parliament decided against extending the mission. In a related development, it was confirmed earlier this week that Czech troops may work with a German military team to help prepare infrastructure and security in Northern Afghanistan for October's presidential election. The Czech Republic is prepared to make 40 soldiers available in the near future.

Conference in support of Cuban dissidents

A conference aimed at supporting the Cuban dissident movement is currently underway in Prague. The event, which has brought together several former European and American heads of state and government, is organized by the International Committee for Democracy in Cuba at the initiative of the former president Vaclav Havel. Opening the conference on Friday, Mr. Havel expressed the hope that the political regime in Cuba would change in the near future. He said Cuban dissidents should not only think about ways of overthrowing Fidel Castro but also about what would need to be done in the post-Castro period. The former Czech president spent more than five years in communist jails and his solidarity with the Cuban dissident movement is particularly strong.

Health minister gets complaints from the public

Health Minister Milada Emmerova is receiving letters of complaint from the public after she urged citizens to write and let her know what problems they faced in the health sector. Following her invitation to the public last week, the minister allegedly received 120 complaints in a matter of days. They include criticism of health care ethics, health insurance companies and health care facilities. The minister said she was dealing with each and every case and would not leave any letter unanswered.

Weather:

Sunday is expected to be warm and sunny with afternoon highs between 21 and 25 degrees Celsius.

18-09-2004