Fourteen Czechs remain unaccounted for in the wake of the Indian Ocean disaster, 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. The first results have already been sent to the afflicted 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 second reactor of the Temelin nuclear power plant was closed down on Sunday due to a cooling failure in a secondary generator. The plant's spokesman said the technical problem did not involve any nuclear aspects of the 1,000 megawatt reactor and did not pose a health hazard. Repair work is expected to take several days.
Jaroslav Foldyna, chairman of the Social Democratic Party's regional branch in Usti nad Labem has resigned from office. Foldyna announced his resignation at the weekend regional party conference after being subjected to overwhelming criticism from party delegates. This development is viewed as a minor victory for party leader and Prime Minister Stanislav Gross since Foldyna belongs to the conservative faction within the party which intends to challenge his authority at the upcoming national party conference in March.
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.
Monday should bring more sunshine and day temperatures between 7 and 11 degrees Celsius.
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