Insight Central Europe News

Czech Republic close to formation of government after Topolanek named PM

Following over two months of post-election deadlock in the Czech Republic, the formation of a new government appears imminent, after Mirek Topolanek of the right-wing Civic Democrats was appointed prime minister designate. However, Mr Topolanek now has to negotiate the formation of a cabinet with the Social Democrats, who led the last Czech government.

Slovenian diplomat jailed in Sudan

A Slovenian diplomat has been jailed for two years in Sudan. Tomo Kriznar - the Slovenian president's envoy - was found guilty of spying and entering the country illegally. Mr Kriznar was involved in the peace process between Sudan's government and rebels in the Darfur region. He admitted entering the country without a visa, but denies charges of being a spy.

Slovak Hungarian party sues nationalist leader for defamation

The SMK, a political party representing Slovakia's ethnic Hungarian minority, has filed a criminal complaint against National Party leader Jan Slota over remarks it said defamed ethnic Hungarians. Mr Slota, who is in Slovakia's coalition government, recently called for the banning of the SMK, which he said was disloyal to the country. He also insulted two Hungarian national heroes. Budapest has also protested against Mr Slota's comments.

Polish coastguard requests return of bell from Berlin exhibition

Poland's coastguard has requested the return from Berlin of a ship's bell recovered after the world's worst maritime disaster, the 1945 sinking of a liner carrying 9,000 German civilians. The bell was on display at a new Berlin exhibition devoted to refugee expulsions, including the flight of Germans from eastern Europe. Many Poles say it is offensive to their own war dead to memorialize Germans' suffering.

Communist Czechoslovakia's doping programme revealed

Secret documents published by a Czech newspaper show that Communist Czechoslovakia systematically administered performance enhancing drugs to athletes. Doctors supplied steroids and other illegal substances to athletes during the 1980s, when Czechoslovakia had some of its greatest sporting successes. Coaches and high-ranking sports and government officials also knew about the programme.

Former Solidarity dissidents disagree over Grass SS revelation

Former Polish president Lech Walesa called on the German writer Gunter Grass to give up his honorary citizenship of Gdansk - the setting for his The Tin Drum - after Mr Grass admitted he had been a member of the Waffen-SS. However, another former Solidarity dissident Adam Michnik has defended the novelist, who he said had been Poland's most reliable and selfless friend in Germany for many years.