The Czech National Security Council has called an emergency session to evaluate the future security situation in the country and discuss Czech policy as war looms in Iraq. As supreme commander of the Czech armed forces President Vaclav Klaus is also to attend the session. Following growing tension in the Gulf, the Czech Republic has closed down its embassy in Baghdad. On Monday, the last two embassy officials left the Iraqi capital. According to Foreign Ministry spokesman Vit Kolar the country's consular services have been transferred to Damascus, Syria.
The Czech Airport Authority has announced it would introduce security measures at Prague's Ruzyne airport against the severe and contagious strain of pneumonia, which is thought to have killed nine people in Asia and Canada and infected 170 others. So far no case of infection has been recorded in the Czech Republic. An authority spokesman said on Monday that all passengers or crew members coming from Asia with symptoms of high fever, chills, cough and breathing difficulties would immediately be taken to a special medical unit at Prague's Bulovka hospital upon arrival in Prague. SARS - Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome- is believed to have spread to Europe after both Britain and Germany reported their first suspected case this week.
Prague's main railway station is now back in operation after it had to be evacuated and closed for a few hours on Monday. An anonymous caller phoned the emergency services in the North Moravian town of Olomouc claiming he had planted several kilograms of the Czech-made Semtex explosive at the station. The station was re-opened shortly after 1330 hrs after no Semtex was found in a detailed police search. The Police are now investigating whether the case is linked to one last week when a functioning explosive was found on a railway bridge in Olomouc, after police received a letter saying there was a bomb under one of the city's bridges. The anonymous man then threatened to keep on planting bombs unless the state paid him a large amount of money.
Police said on Monday that a man set his disabled wife on fire following a disagreement on Sunday. The 49 year-old woman is now in hospital and is in a critical condition with burns on over fifty percent of her body. Her husband has been arrested and will be charged with attempted murder, a police spokesperson said.
Monday saw the 108th birthday of the Czech Republic's oldest citizen, Frantiska Cermakova. Besides celebrating with family and friends, Mrs Cermakova also spent the day with the mayor of her Moravian home town whose birthday is coincidentally also on March 17th. Mrs Cermakova was showered with gifts from all over the country and received a letter of congratulation from Czech President Vaclav Klaus. According to her daughter-in-law, Mrs Cermakova's secret to long and healthy years has been her peaceful and rational approach to life.
Tuesday should see overcast skies and occasional showers in the north eastern parts of the country. Temperatures will range from 6 to 10 degrees Celsius.
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