Insight Central Europe News

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Right-wing groups steal traditional May Day venue from Czech Communists

There was an eventful May Day in the Czech Republic. The Communist Party had to make alternative arrangements after anti-Communist activists booked their traditional May Day venue - Prague's Letna Plain - and held a colourful event called "May Day Without Communism Forever." Meanwhile across town a government human rights official was beaten up and arrested by police as she demonstrated against a march by far-right skinheads. The police officer in question has been suspended pending an inquiry.

Slovakia revises economic growth upwards to 6.1 percent

Slovakia reported economic growth of 6.1 percent in 2005 instead of the previously announced 6.0 percent. The revised data was released by the Slovak Statistics Office this week. The figures mean that Slovakia matched its best-ever economic performance of 6.1 percent in 1996. The data also made Slovakia Central and Eastern Europe's best performing economy last year, overtaking the Czech Republic on 6.0 percent, Hungary with 4.1 percent, Poland with 3.2 percent and Austria with 1.9 percent.

Polish nationalists to join government - source

A senior Polish government source told the Reuters news agency that the fringe nationalist League of Polish Families is set to join the conservative-led ruling coalition, giving it a majority in parliament. The source said the League's leader Roman Giertych, a controversial figure due to his nationalist, anti-Western views, would become a minister in a reshuffled cabinet of Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz. As part of their drive to end months of minority rule, the Law and Justice conservatives have already joined forces with the leftist Self-Defence party led by firebrand populist Andrzej Lepper, who is set to become deputy prime minister.

Quarrel over Slovene mufti appointment

Slovenia's Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel congratulated the country's newly-appointed mufti, Nedzad Grabus, who will lead Slovenia's small Muslim community. However the former mufti, Osman Djogic, said he does not recognise Mr Grabus because he was appointed in Sarajevo. Mr Djogic says Slovene Muslims must have the right to elect their mufti themselves.

Hungary workers get shock at bottom of rum barrel

Hungarian builders who drank their way to the bottom of a barrel of rum while renovating a house got a nasty surprise when they opened it up - a man's pickled corpse was lying in the bottom. Workers in Szeged in the south of Hungary tried to move the barrel after they had drained it, only to find it was surprisingly heavy. The body of the man had been shipped back from Jamaica 20 years ago by his wife in order to save money and avoid paperwork. The workers described the rum as having "a special taste."