The Czech Culture Minister Pavel Dostal, an anti-communist dissident playwright turned politician, has died after a year-long battle with cancer, at the age of 62. Pavel Dostal died on Sunday morning at the Masaryk Oncology Institute in Brno where had been receiving cancer treatment after he had a tumour removed from his pancreas last autumn. Pavel Dostal was the longest-serving minister in the Czech cabinet. He served as culture minister since 1998 under four prime ministers. Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek said that "Pavel Dostal was an excellent minister, a real servant of the state. He led Czech culture through a difficult transformation period. He had an extraordinary influence over the artistic community. He was a tireless political personality, but also a good husband and father."
Czech diplomats in Egypt are still searching for potential injured Czech citizens in local hospitals but Czech travel agencies have not reported any missing people following Saturday's blasts in Egypt's Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh that killed at least 88 people. One Czech national, a 23-year old man, died and one other was injured in the explosions.
The Czech Airlines special that was sent to Egypt on Saturday with medical personnel and a psychologist onboard has returned to Prague and brought back a hundred Czech tourists who decided to cut short their stay in Egypt. Among them was also the man who sustained light injuries in the blasts. According to estimates, there are between 1,500 and 2,000 Czech holidaymakers in the area, staying in about 40 different hotels.
President Vaclav Klaus has condemned the terrorist attack in Egypt which killed at least 88 people including one Czech. In a telegram sent to the Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, President Klaus said this bloody and cowardly act proves that terrorism is one of the most dangerous phenomena our civilisation is facing. Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda has called on Czech citizens to avoid travelling to Egypt in the immediate future.
Prague Mayor Pavel Bem has said that the weekend's anti-flood exercise showed that the city can be ready to cope with flooding in half a day. It took rescuers precisely half a day to erect barriers along the Vltava River to protect the city, Mr Bem said. Some 500 fire fighters and police officers raised 2.5 kilometres of portable aluminium walls which are designed to protect the city against an 11-metre flood wave, the level which the Vltava River reached during the 2002 floods that cost the city 26 billion crowns (over a billion dollars). The massive exercise, at an overall cost of 2 million crowns (80,000 dollars), started on Friday evening and ended on Sunday afternoon.
The weather should continue to be partly cloudy in the coming days, with occasional showers. Heavier rain can be expected in the west of the country. Daytime temperatures should range from 23 to 15 degrees Celsius.
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