Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla has confirmed that if parliament approves the sending of a Czech military field hospital to the Gulf it will be based in the southern Iraqi city of Basra. The prime minister made the statement at the start of a debate on the issue in the Chamber of Deputies on Tuesday. The debate had been scheduled for Thursday but was brought forward due to the speed of developments in the region. The Senate is also discussing the matter, with the approval of both houses widely expected. Defence Minister Jaroslav Tvrdik told the Senate that the first doctors could fly out on Thursday afternoon and be at work 24 hours later.
Three people have now been charged with kidnapping Italian businessman Giuseppe Roselli for 24 hours last week, police said on Tuesday. Mr Roselli is the chairman of the company Union Group, which is the major shareholder in the collapsed bank Union Banka. The police are refusing to confirm whether one of the three suspects is Jaroslav Starka, the owner of Pribram football club. In a further development, the judge who sent Union Banka into bankruptcy last week, Jiri Berka, has been dismissed and charged with abuse of power. Police have accused Mr Berka of making the bankruptcy declaration on the basis of false documents. Both Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla and President Vaclav Klaus had to consent to charges being brought against Mr Berka, who as a judge is protected by immunity.
The Czech Foreign Ministry has released a statement expressing "grave concern" over a recent tough crackdown on dissidents in Cuba. Tuesday's statement called on Cuba to honour its international commitments to protect human rights. Meanwhile, former president Vaclav Havel is one of around 20 Czech politicians and intellectuals who have signed a letter urging Cuba to release all political prisoners who have been unjustly jailed. All 20 were signatories of the landmark Charter 77 human rights document. The letter is to be presented to the Cuban Embassy in Prague on Wednesday.
The British authorities have flown another group of Czech asylum seekers back to Prague, in the tenth mass deportation of its kind. A specially chartered plane carrying 89 asylum seekers arrived at Prague airport on Tuesday. Britain has consistently refused to grant asylum to Czech applicants, almost all of whom are Romanies, saying the Czech Republic is a safe country.
Wednesday should be another sunny day around the Czech Republic, with a maximum daytime temperature of 20 degrees Celsius.
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