Insight Central Europe News

Hungary backs US anti-missile shield

Hungary's President Laszlo Solyom says Hungary supports Poland and the Czech Republic on the possible deployment of elements of the US anti-missile shield on their territory. He was speaking at the start of a three-day official visit to Poland on Thursday. Mr Solyom met his Polish counterpart Lech Kaczynski for discussions on Polish-Hungarian relations and European issues including the Berlin Declaration and the future of the EU Constitutional Treaty. Asked about Hungary's stand on the US anti-missile shield he said Hungary is backing the system. Both presidents also said the Visegrad countries should cooperate more actively. The Visegrad group is made up of Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

Vaclav Havel on solidarity hunger strike

Former Czech president and human rights activist Vaclav Havel has taken part in a one-day hunger strike in solidarity with a Kurdish businessman who is trying to clear his name in a Czech court. In 1994, Dr. Yekta Uzunoglu was accused of torturing, kidnapping, robbing and attempting to murder two Turkish nationals living in the Czech Republic. He spent two and a half years on remand in police custody until he was suddenly released with no explanation. Several renowned Czech figures including Mr Havel and actor Zdenek Sverak have pledged solidarity with Mr Uzunoglu who has been trying to clear his name since 1995.

Slovenia's opposition demands explanation on secret service data

Slovenia's left wing opposition parties say they're outraged at revelations the government sought secret files from the Slovenian Intelligence services (Sova). The opposition accuses the government of having no legal right to the data and is demanding to know why it used a confidential decree to gain access. The affair was brought to light by the Ljubljana daily "Dnevnik." The government has confirmed it has set up a working group to analyse the past operations of the intelliegence services.

Slovak opposition demands Economy Minister resign

Opposition leaders in Slovakia are calling for the resignation of Economy Minister Lubomir Jahnatek over remarks he made on corruption in the arms trade. In an interview with the weekly Trend, Jahnatek said that Slovak firms _ both government-owned and private _ should learn how to officially account for bribes that would allow for the sale of Slovak arms to some developing countries where corruption is unavoidable. Jahnatek also labeled bribes as "nontraditional forms of sale that really work."

Hungarian and Russian Presidents praise trade relations

Hungary's Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany and Russian President Vladimir Putin have praised an increase in trade between the two countries especially an increase in Hungarian exports to Russia. Speaking during a visit to Moscow by Mr Gyurcsany, the Russian President said Hungarian exports to Russia reached 1.5 billion euros last year. The Kremlin is actively seeking to improve economic ties with former Soviet satellites and allies.

World Bank puts 140 million into Poland flood protection

The World Bank is to allocate 140 million euros for a flood protection project on the Odra River. A statement from the banks says the 505 million euro project will also be financed by the EU, the Council of Europe Development Bank and Poland. The project will provide flood protection to over 2.5 million residents of southern Poland's Slaskie, Opolskie and Dolnoslaskie provinces.