The number of Czechs unaccounted for in the wake of the Indian Ocean disaster has dropped to thirteen, eight of the missing are feared dead. The Czech Republic has only one confirmed casualty so far - a 24 year old woman. News of an alleged second Czech casualty have not been confirmed. The Czech ambassador to Bangkok Jiri Sitler said on Saturday that attempts to identify the body had failed and that a DNA test would be necessary.
Meanwhile, experts have been taking DNA samples from relatives of the eight Czechs believed to have died. They will be sent to the affected region in order to aid the identification process. The Czech Foreign Ministry has now openly acknowledged the possibility that the bodies of some Czech victims may already have been buried in mass graves.
The Czech public has donated 160 million crowns in aid to south-east Asia, the biggest collection to help overseas disaster victims in the history of the Czech Republic. The Czech government has contributed 15 million crowns in aid and pledged another 200 million for reconstruction of the stricken region.
The Czech retail watchdog intends to slap the French supermarket giant Carrefour with a heavy fine for misleading shoppers in a major post-Christmas sale campaign. The director of the Czech Trade Inspectorate Jiri Pekny said Carrefour was guilty of breaking the consumers law by announcing price cuts from inflated initial prices and charging customers more than the advertised sale prices at check-outs. Trade inspectors visited the company's ten stores in the Czech Republic after receiving hundreds of complaints from customers in a single day. Carrefour denies the allegations.
The child sexual abuse charges against choirmaster Bohumil Kulinsky have been extended to include the testimonies of several more girls. According to the Mlada Fronta Dnes daily the new witnesses include a girl who earlier told the media that she had had sex with Kulinsky when she was only twelve. The police have questioned hundred of girls who passed through the prestigious Bambini di Praga choir and say they have serious evidence against Kulinsky. The choirmaster, who has been in custody since late November, denies the charges. The choir which Kulinsky has headed since 1976 is made up of girls and boys aged 12 to 19. It performs with leading Czech and international orchestras and performs abroad several times a year.
Warm and sunny weather with daytime highs reaching 14 degrees Celsius - sent millions of people out to bask in the January sunshine on Saturday. Meteorologist report that the wave of warm weather broke the January 1998 record of 11.4 degrees. Sunday is expected to be slightly colder with some rain and day temperatures between 5 and 9 degrees, but Monday should bring more sunshine and temperatures should rise again to between 7 and 11 degrees Celsius.
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