A Cypriot airliner carrying 121 people crashed north of Athens on Sunday. The plane, which was bound for Prague, went down just minutes before it was due to make a scheduled stop-over in Athens. The accident happened over mountainous terrain and the Greek authorities have said there are no reports of survivors. There have been conflicting reports about the nationalities of those on board. A Cypriot official said the majority of passangers were Greek Cypriots. According to available information there were no Czech nationals on board. An earlier report according to which there were 80 Greek children aboard the plane has been ruled out.
The Greek authorities have said the accident was most likely caused by a sudden failure of the air conditioning system and resulting loss of pressure and oxygen in the cabin as a result of which the pilots lost consciousness. An investigation is underway.
The Czech Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek and President Vaclav Klaus have sent condolences and extended their sympathy to the victims' families and friends. The Czech foreign ministry and Ruzyne Airport had prepared to deal with a potential crisis, setting up hotlines and having psychologists on stand-by at the airport in case relatives and friends of people bound for Prague had need of them. According to available information their services were not required.
The world athletics governing body IAAF has announced it will not take any action against Czech decathletes Roman Sebrle and Tomas Dvorak over glucose injections they were given during the World Championship in Helsinki. The IAAF said in a statement that "a full investigation into alleged intravenous infusions by the athletes had been completed and it had been agreed that no further action would be taken". It was ascertained that the glucose injections were administered for medical reasons by the team doctor after the athletes complained they were dehydrated. This was allegedly performed in front of ten witnesses. While glucose is not a banned substance, injections are only allowed during competition for "legitimate and acute medical reasons".
The police have filed charges against the organizer of the CzechTek techno party Vaclav Sroub for damaging private property. The police used water canons and tear gas to disperse a crowd of some 5,000 participants on the grounds that they were trespassing on private land. Dozens of people were injured during the police action. Sroub had rented a meadow for the party but there is some controversy as to whether the size of the given plot of land was adequate for such a large gathering.
The Czech intelligence services have rejected claims in the press that Prague is high on the list of a future terrorist attack. The daily Pravo wrote in its Saturday edition that an attack on the Czech capital is highly likely, for many reasons, among them the fact that it is a popular destination for Jewish tourists. The daily enumerates several possible scenarios, including bomb explosions in the metro leading under the Vltava river and a plane exploding over Old Town Square. A spokesman for the intelligence service BIS slammed the press report, saying that it bordered on scaremongering. He said the country's intelligence services had no information to suggest that Prague or any other location in the Czech Republic was in serious danger of a terrorist attack.
A medical study conducted by researchers at Masaryk University suggests that people living in the vicinity of the Temelin nuclear power plant do not suffer any adverse psychological effects from the plant's close proximity. The study involved a thousand Temelin locals and a thousand people from other areas. According to the results, the incidence of depression among people living near Temelin is lower than the average in the Czech Republic. Nevertheless many respondents living close to the plant said that they felt they did not have as much control over their lives as people elsewhere.
Monday is expected to be partly cloudy with scattered rain showers and day temperatures between 15 and 19 degrees Celsius.
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