Nineteen people were killed and 34 injured in a coach accident near the southern town of Ceske Budejovice on Saturday night. A police spokesman said the coach ran off the road, crashed through a barrier and rolled down a steep embankment. The double-decker bus was carrying Czech travellers home from a skiing trip in neighbouring Austria. Seventeen of the victims were pronounced dead at the scene, and two others died of their injuries in hospital. The injured were transported to nearby hospitals, six are reported to be in a serious condition.
Around one hundred people have demonstrated in Prague against a possible war in Iraq. The demonstrators, mainly Czechs, Iraqis and Americans walked through the streets of Prague carrying banners and chanting anti-war slogans. The protesters, organised by the Iraqi minority in the Czech Republic and the International Peace Movement, then staged a protest in front of the US and Iraqi embassies and read out their statements. The event was monitored by several dozen police.
Pope John Paul II, the French President Jacques Chirac, the Austrian President Thomas Klestil, the Spanish King Juan Carlos, the Chinese President Chiang Ze-min, and other world leaders have congratulated the new Czech President Vaclav Klaus on his inauguration. After his election last Friday Mr Klaus received congratulations over the telephone from US President George W. Bush and the German President Johannes Rau. The Slovak President Rudolf Schuster congratulated Mr Klaus shortly after his election last Friday.
Mr Klaus was sworn in on Friday afternoon as the second president in the history of the Czech Republic and the tenth head of state since 1918 when independent Czechoslovakia was founded. The inauguration ceremony took place at the historic Prague Castle. In attendance were members of parliament, foreign diplomats, as well as former president Vaclav Havel and his wife Dagmar.
The joint Czech and Slovak anti-chemical, biological and nuclear battalion deployed in Kuwait began monitoring the chemical and radiation situation in the Kuwaiti capital on Saturday in preparation for a possible retaliatory strike in the case of war in Iraq. The troops recently moved from their base at Camp Doha to strategic objects in the country, such as military bases and vital installations including the Kuwaiti oilfields. The joint battalion of about 400 Czech and 60 Slovak troops has a mandate to respond to attacks in 24 countries, including Israel and Turkey, as part of a task force with US and German troops. The Czech and Slovak parliaments have also given permission for the battalion to operate in Iraq.
Monday should be mostly cloudy with occasional rain or drizzle. Daytime temperatures should range from 8 to 12 degrees Celsius.
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