Insight Central Europe News

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Left-wing leaders from around world attend conference in Hungary

Hungary played host this week to a summit of left-wing leaders called Progressive Governance. Eleven heads of state and government - from Europe through Canada and Mexico to New Zealand - gathered at the Hungarian government resort at Oszod, Lake Balaton, to discuss strategies and policies aimed at meeting challenges facing the New Left. It was the fifth event of its kind, but the first held in a country from behind the former Iron Curtain. German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski, and Czech Prime Minister Stanislav Gross cancelled their visit.

Poland negotiates arms deal with Iraq

Poland is negotiating an arms deal, including the sale of helicopters, with Iraq. A delegation from the Iraqi Defence Ministry is currently in Poland, visiting production sites, Polish Defence Minister Jerzy Szmajdzinski said this week, adding that bargaining has been tough.

Meanwhile, President Aleksander Kwasniewski has said Poland's relations with France and Germany are good, despite certain differences over Iraq. Kwasniewski suggested that only future experience will show which of the sides had made the right decision on the matter.

Suspected war criminal released from custody

The probability of alleged war criminal Ladislav Niznansky being acquitted of war crimes seems high after a court in Munich approved his release from custody on Friday. Judge Manfred Goetzl said that while there was still a suspicion that Niznansky committed murder, there was insufficient proof at present. Niznansky faces multiple charges of murder relating to his role as leader of the Nazi-backed Edelweiss unit that killed 164 civilians in three villages in Slovakia.

Amendment to Criminal Code passes first hearing in Czech Parliament

A draft amendment to the Criminal Code has made it to the second reading at the Czech Parliament. The main purpose of the amendment is above all to impose tougher sentences on perpetrators of violent crimes like murder and robbery. While now the limit for imprisonment is 25 years, apart from exceptional life sentences, in the future it could be raised by five years. Several entirely new crimes have also been defined, such as terrorist attacks, cloning, and prostitution endangering the moral development of children.

Hrastnik Glassworks to Get New Plant

In what is believed to be Slovenia's biggest business investment of this year, glass factory Steklarna Hrastnik has ordered the construction of a new plant for glass packaging material, worth 27 million Euros. The plant, to be built by construction company Rudis, is to have four production lines and employ 200 people. It will be located in the industrial zone due to emerge shortly near Hrastnik, central Slovenia. Promising to boast up-to-date technology, the facility is expected to produce around 30,000 tonnes of glass products per year, mostly earmarked for the markets of the EU and North America, according to the company. The Hrastnik-based company mainly manufactures tableware glass products and special container glass.

Frankfurt Book Fair Features 24 Slovenian Exhibitors

Nineteen Slovenian publishers and five printing houses are featured among over 6,500 exhibitors at this year's Frankfurt Book Fair, which opened on Wednesday. The joint presentation of the Slovenian exhibitors, whose section measures some 200 square metres, was organised by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia. Slovenian literature at what is the world's biggest book fair was represented by authors Marjan Strojan, Uros Zupan, Ales Steger, Brane Mozetic, Cvetka Lipus, Evald Flisar, Dusan Sarotar, Mojca Kumerdej, Feri Lainscek and Marko Ursic.