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PM chooses new culture minister

Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek has chosen actor and director of the Zlin film festival Vitezslav Jandak for the post of the Czech Republic's culture minister. The other two candidates were the general commissioner of the Czech Republic's exposition at the World Expo 2005 in Japan Vladimir Darjanin and the former director of Prague's National Theatre Jiri Srstka. The post was left vacant following the death of the late culture minister Pavel Dostal in July.

No Czechs aboard Larnaca-Prague flight which crashed on Sunday

There were no Czech citizens aboard the Prague-bound Cypriot airliner which crashed north of Athens on Sunday killing all 121 people on board, the Reuters agency wrote citing the official list of passengers. According to the Cypriot government there were 104 Cypriots onboard the plane, 12 Greek nationals, four Armenians and a German pilot. The Greek authorities have announced that the bodies of 119 victims have been found so far, along with both of the Boeing's black boxes, which have been sent to Paris to be examined by experts.

The Czech Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek and President Vaclav Klaus have sent their condolences and extended their sympathy to the victims' families and friends.

Some asylum centres to be closed as number of seekers drops-press

The Interior Ministry is planning to close down some of the local centres for foreign asylum seekers whose number has been declining, the daily Pravo wrote on Monday. According to an Interior Ministry spokeswoman, the number of applicants has dropped by half since the Czech Republic's EU entry, and the capacity of refugees' homes now exceeds the demand. She added that the final decision as to which asylum centres will be closed down will be made in several weeks. Almost 5,500 foreigners applied for asylum in the Czech Republic last year, the lowest number since 1999 and 52 percent fewer than in the previous year. Ukrainians and Russians prevailed among the asylum seekers. Over 77,000 people applied for asylum in the Czech Republic in the past 14 years, and it was granted to 2,500 of them.

Holocaust site proposed for Czech town where thousands of Jews died

The former Jewish ghetto Terezin or Theresienstadt north of Prague may become a vast European memorial to the Holocaust, as outlined in plans unveiled on Monday by the regional authorities. The head of the regional council Jiri Sulc, said he was impressed with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, adding that it was unfortunate that there was not a similar memorial in Europe which was so greatly affected by the Holocaust. Under Nazi occupation the former Czech military town of Terezin became a holding ghetto through which nearly 140,000 Jews passed during World War II. Some 87,000 of them were sent on to the death camps in Poland while nearly 35,000 died in the Czech ghetto, primarily because of deplorable health and sanitation conditions.

This year's agricultural production to be lowest in 15 years

The Czech Agricultural Association has announced that this year's gross agricultural output will be the lowest in the last 15 years. The association estimates the output at 67 billion crowns (2.8 billion dollars) down 10 billion crowns from last year. The fall has been mainly caused by shrinking animal production. According to the Czech Statistics Office data, beef production decreased by over 20 percent to almost 40,000 tonnes and pork production dropped by 16.2 percent to 168,000 tonnes in the first six months of 2005. The association said the Czech Republic was no longer self-sufficient in the production of pork meat, and will soon not be self-sufficient in beef production. There is a surplus of milk, but only because of low domestic consumption, the Agricultural Association noted.


We can expect clear to partly cloudy skies in the next couple of days with daytime temperatures between 19 and 25 degrees Celsius.