News Monday, MAY 08th, 2000

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Left wing radicals demonstrate against IMF

A demonstration of left wing radicals against the policy of the IMF held here in Prague on Sunday was kept in check by a strong police presence. Cordons of police officers escorted the protesters through the streets of Prague as they chanted anti-globalization slogans and sported T-shirts reading " Turn Prague into Seattle". Nobody is reported to have been hurt and no arrests were made. The Czech police force is bracing for the upcoming autumn summit of the IMF and World Bank here in Prague, which is expected to attract an estimated 20,000 protesters who are planning to hold their own "counter-summit" in the Czech capital.

President Havel to visit Germany

On the eve of President Havel's state visit to Germany, both sides are proclaiming that bilateral relations have never been better. In an interview for the German daily Welt am Sonntag, President Havel said that in the past ten years bilateral relations had reached a qualitatively new level. The two countries now find themselves in the same military alliance, Germany has invested significantly in the Czech Republic and it is actively supporting the country's admission to the EU. In many areas – be it economy, culture or education – Germany is our most important partner, and the mutual benefit we get from this cooperation will help us to look to the future rather than the past, the President stressed.

End of SWW –commemorative ceremonies

Many towns and villages across the Czech Republic are marking the 55th anniversary of their liberation from Nazi oppression by the former Soviet and US armies. There have been commemorative gatherings to pay homage to the last victims of the war, unveiling of plaques and military parades. SWW veterans and history enthusiasts reconstructed the meeting of the allies at the West-Bohemian demarcation line, complete with veteran tanks, army vehicles, motorcycles and soldiers in SWW uniforms. The celebrations in the West Bohemian town of Pilsen have been planned on a lavish scale and are drawing tens of thousands of visitors. The events include a military parade, air- show, a fireworks display and a veterans' car ride.

Who'll take Lenin?

The town of Pardubice is putting a statue of the former Soviet revolutionary V.I. Lenin on the market for half a million Czech crowns. An auction is to be held by the end of June to which the local council is hoping to attract foreign private collectors who could meet the starting price. So far nobody appears to be willing to pay more than 200.000 crowns for the bronze work of art and plans to have Lenin melted down and turned into Czechoslovakia's first President T. G. Masaryk collapsed when the sculptor in question refused to allow this. Although the statue of the former revolutionary is not in any way unique – it is said to be special because Lenin is sitting rather than standing in typical fashion with his arms behind his back. Whether "Lenin in repose" will sell any better –remains to be seen.

And finally a look at the weather: Monday should bring partly cloudy to clear skies and day temps between 23 and 27 degs C. We are told to expect more clouds and possibly scattered showers in the afternoon. However this should not significantly affect Tuesday's temps forecast at between 22 and 26 degs.