News Foreign Ministry advises Czech nationals to leave Iraq
The Czech Foreign Ministry has advised Czech nationals in Iraq to leave the country without delay. The ministry said that in view of the escalating violence it was no longer safe for them to remain and it might be even more difficult to leave the country at a later date. The ministry has also issued a travel warning to tourists not to enter the country.
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The Czech national carrier Czech Airlines has lowered their staff's salaries by around 40 percent as of Sunday, introducing new cost-saving measures. According to the Czech Airline unions, the drop in wages is higher than it was previously agreed. The airline in October agreed on a wage cut of around a third and 180 redundancies. The trade unions representing the company's pilots and stewards have already filed a complaint over the new collective agreement and are considering the option to strike.
Police are searching for a 13-year old girl from a village on the outskirts of Prague, who has been missing since Saturday. The teen, called Lucie Lorenzová, left home on Saturday afternoon to visit her grandmother in Prague, but failed to get there by the evening. A goodbye letter has been found among her thigs at home. Investigators are asking the public to share any information about the missing girl.
A record number of visitors on Saturday came to see the carnival at the open-air museum at Veselý Kopec, near Hlinsko in eastern Bohemia. More than 2,000 people watched a group of young men from a village called Vortová, performing a procession with masks. The centuries-old folk tradition, which remained intact in several communities in the area, was added to the UNESCO list of world heritage in 2010.
People from the north Bohemian municipalities of Bílina and Chomutov are casting their ballot in a fresh round of municipal election, after a regional court cancelled the previous election results due to fraud. Several people from the region have already been charged with vote buying. Police and members of anti-corruption initiatives are overseeing the voting. The voter turnout has been very low so far. Local elections also take place in 13 municipalities, which didn't have enough candidates in October.
Two women, one of them Czech, were killed and 24 injured in a bus crash in Slovakia in the early hours of Saturday. The accident happened on the D1 motorway near the village of Spišský Štvrtok in the Levoča district in eastern Slovakia. The regular coach bus, heading from Prague to Uzghorod in Ukraine, swerved off the snow covered road and hit a utility pole. The cause of the incident is being investigated but it is likely that it was caused by the driver, who was going too fast for the conditions.
Dozens of cold water enthusiasts have taken part in the traditional winter swim in the Vltava river in Prague's district of Braník. Altogether 192 swimmers from the Czech Repulic and abroad took pluge in the icy river on Saturday as part of the annual Branické ledy competition, which is now in its 13th year. The absolute winner of the event is Czech Rostislav Vítek, who covered the longest, nine-kilometre track, in nine minutes and fifteen seconds.
Some 400 people are attending a protest against Islam at Prague's Old Town Square on Saturday, organized by the group We Do Not Want Islam in the Czech Republic. After the gathering, the protesters are set to march to the seat of the Interior Ministry at Prague's Letná. Among those who attended the protest were a number of politicians, including Tomio Okamura, leader of the controversial Dawn Party, and Jana Volfová, head of the non-parliamentary Czech Suverenity movement. Around forty people have also attended the gathering in support of the minorities.
According to a survey conducted by the CVVM polling agency, public trust in president Miloš Zeman has gone up in January. Some 44 percent of people who took part in the poll said they trusted the president, which is an increase by ten percent compared to the previous month. The president's trust rating took a dive last October following a series of controversial moves by Mr Zeman, including his use of vulgar language in a radio interview. President Zeman had the trust of 61 percent of Czechs when he took office in March of 2013.
The Vysehrad Codex, a latin illuminated manuscript, which is regarded as one of the most valuable historical treasures in the Czech Republic, has gone on display in Prague. The manuscript, written in 1085 to mark the coronation of the first Czech king, Vratislav II, is temporarily installed in the Mirror Chapel at Prague's Clementinum. The Vysehrad Codex is listed as a national cultural heritage and was last displayed to the public in 1969. Security at Clementinum has been tightened due to the immense value of the manuscript.
Czech police in December arrested members of an organised network, which has allegedly been importing counterfeit 500 euro banknotes in the Czech Republic. According to the police, the money was forged in Bulgaria and distributed in the Czech Republic and other EU states. Spokesman of the Czech Police's Organised Crime Unit Pavel Hanták said on Friday that the group produced 90 percent of all fake 500 euro banknotes seized in the Czech Republic last year. Nine members of the group, including one Czech national, were charged with counterfeiting so far. If found guilty, they are facing up to 12 years in prison.