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.
Meanwhile, a Czech Airforce plane flew to Indonesia on Thursday with over nine tonnes of humanitarian aid. The plane was carrying water, medicines and water purifying tablets, as well as body bags. It is due to bring Czech tourists back from the region on Sunday.
Czech police have charged 19 men they say were responsible for burgling the homes of some of the country's rich and famous, including President Vaclav Klaus and singer Karel Gott. Police say the gang may have committed up to 190 burglaries.
A woman died on Wednesday evening after jumping out of a window at the Defence Ministry in Prague 6. A spokesperson said it was clear that the woman, a civilian employ in her 50s, had committed suicide.
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 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.
Weather forecasters say the New Year should offer good conditions for Czechs spending the holiday at many of the country's mountain resorts, with plenty of snow expected in the Orlicky, Jizersky and Krusny mountain ranges. Many people have accommodation in the mountains months ahead of New Year.
Skies should get clearer in the Czech Republic over the next few days, with temperatures expected to stay at 5 or 6 degrees Celsius during the day.
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