News of Radio Prague

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Czech government sends protest note to Vienna

The war of words continues between Czech and Austrian politicians over the two countries' role during the Second World War. The Czech government has sent Vienna a protest note over comments made on Monday by Petr Sychrovsky of the far-right Freedom Party. Mr Sychrovsky criticized the Czech government for allegedly giving insufficient compensation to Jews persecuted under the Nazi occupation of the former Czechoslovakia. He pointed out that former Jewish property had ended up in Czech, not Austrian hands after the war. He accused the Czech government of lashing out against the Austrian Freedom Party in order to cover up its own failings. The Czech government's protest note to Vienna describes Sychrovsky's words as " a dirty lie, an absolutely base, false statement." The Jewish community in Prague has also supported the Czech government's protest.

Dissidents mark Charter 77 anniversary

Former Czech dissidents on Tuesday met to mark the 25th anniversary of the Charter 77 Human Rights Manifesto. The 1977 manifesto, signed by over 200 people was a brave protest against human rights violations under the communist regime and those who signed it knowingly risked persecution by the communist secret police. Although the communist authorities prevented the text of the Human Rights Manifesto from appearing in the Czechoslovak press, it was smuggled abroad and publicized in the Western media. Many of its signatories soon found themselves out of work or in jail. Twenty five years later, many hold parliament or government posts and their meeting took place in the Czech Senate, with President Vaclav Havel the guest of honour.

Four party coalition loses support

Support for the opposition Four Party Coalition has dropped sharply following an internal conflict over the unpaid debt of one of its members. The highly publicized debate over what should be done about the close to 70 million crown debt of the tiny Civic Democratic Alliance has sent the coalition's support in the opinions polls down from first to third place. If elections were held tomorrow, said one polling agency, the Four Party Coalition would come third with 25% of the vote. The Civic Democratic Party would win the elections, with 26% followed closely by the Social Democrats with just over 25% of the vote.

Man dies in gale

A 44-year old man was killed in a freak accident in the Moravian town of Bruntal on Tuesday. Walking across the town square the man was hit by a falling Christmas tree which the authorities had failed to dismantle. Reports say the ten-metre fir tree cracked in the strong gale and toppled to the ground, breaking the man's back. The town's mayor said the incident was a terrible tragedy and the local community was devastated by the news. He explained that the town square Christmas tree is taken down at the end of January each year and said it was a bitter irony that it was to have been removed on the very same day the man was killed.

And finally a look at the weather:

The gale-force wind which has created problems in many parts of central and northern Europe is finally expected to subside, the night should be partly cloudy with nighttime temps between 7 and 3 degs. Wednesday should bring partly cloudy skies, intervals of rain and shine and day temps between 10 and 14 degs C.