Insight Central Europe News

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Austria debates controversial deportations of 'integrated' foreigners

The case of the 15-year-old Kosovar girl threatened with deportation from Austria led to a noisy debate in parliament. Austria's conservative interior minister Guenther Platter accused his critics of promoting lawlessness for opposing the deportations of foreigners who had lost legal appeals to stay in the country. His comments came during a parliamentary debate after the girl went into hiding two weeks ago and threatened suicide in a televised video. The girl's five relatives had recently been expelled after more than five years in Austria. Mr Platter said a demand by the opposition Greens for a general "right to stay" for well-integrated foreigners was impossible because this would swamp Austria with immigrants. The ethnic Albanian girl resurfaced early on Wednesday. A priest has offered her sanctuary in his parish house and said she was no longer a suicide risk.

Cuban refugees arrive in Hungary

Meanwhile 28 Cuban refugees who had been detained by the US after failing to flee their country arrived in Budapest this week where they were to be granted political asylum. The 28 were part of a group of 44 Cubans captured at sea over the past few years while trying to reach the United States and detained at the US naval base in Guantanamo Bay. The Hungarian government announced in late August that it would grant them political asylum for humanitarian reasons. Upon arrival, the refugees, mostly men with a few women and children, were kept away from the media and immediately taken to temporary housing.

Fico blames Hungarian politicians for "tensions"

Slovakia's leftist prime minister Robert Fico blamed Hungarian parties in both Slovakia and Hungary for what he described as the current tensions in Slovak-Hungarian relations. Mr Fico said in an interview with TA3 television that Slovakia's ethnic Hungarian opposition party lacked a clear agenda so had resorted to stirring up trouble. The prime minister added that across the border, parties in Hungary were vying with each other to prove who was more patriotic, and were using Slovakia for political ends. Mr Fico was speaking after controversial visits by senior Hungarian officials to Hungarian-speaking areas of Slovakia in recent weeks.

Baby mix-up couples spend two days together ahead of exchange

Two Czech couples whose babies were mixed up at birth spent two days together this week as they prepared to exchange their children. The two couples and the two baby girls - aged 10 months - were accompanied by a psychologist, who is overseeing the exchange. The apparent hospital error came to light when one of the fathers underwent a secret DNA test because he didn't think his daughter looked like him. The test proved he was not the girl's biological father, but further DNA tests proved that neither was his partner the girl's biological mother. The couples are suing the hospital for malpractice. The psychologist working on the case has said the girls should be exchanged before their first birthdays on December 9th.

Riot police evict rebel nuns occupying Polish convent

And police in Poland evicted a band of rebellious former nuns from a Polish convent they had occupied illegally since rejecting a Vatican order in 2005 to replace their mother superior. The woman, Jadwiga Ligocka, was described as a charismatic leader who had reportedly been having religious visions. Polish TV showed around 150 police in riot gear entering the walled convent by force and arresting Ms Ligocka, as well as a former Franciscan friar who had locked himself away with the nuns. Hours later, about 65 defeated ex-nuns, escorted by policewomen, walked out calmly in their black habits and boarded buses that took them away.