News of Radio Prague

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Klaus: abolition of Benes decrees "unrealistic"

The speaker of the lower house, Vaclav Klaus, has described calls to abolish the post-war Benes decrees as "unrealistic". Mr Klaus, leader of the right-of-centre Civic Democrats, said the Czech Republic would not hold any further talks on the decrees, which sanctioned the expulsion of Czechoslovakia's large German minority after the Second World War. Quoted by the Austrian magazine Profil, Mr Klaus also said there could be no further discussion on shutting down the Czech Republic's Temelin nuclear power station, and pointed out that political agreements on both issues had already been signed.

Schuessel: joint declaration will settle matter "once and for all"

Meanwhile the Austrian Chancellor, Wolfgang Schuessel, has said he would welcome a joint declaration to resolve the dispute surrounding the Benes decrees. Speaking on Austrian television, Mr Schuessel said the declaration should make it clear that the decrees were no longer legally binding. Some two and a half million ethnic Germans - known as Sudeten Germans - were expelled or fled from Czechoslovakia after the war, in retaliation for perceived collaboration with the Nazis. Their property was seized by the post-war Czechoslovak state, and their expulsion was sanctioned by decrees signed by President Benes. The decrees were approved by the Allied powers.

Tvrdik: future NATO members will face tougher army reforms

The Czech Defence Minister, Jaroslav Tvrdik, has said future members of NATO will face tougher army reforms than the first post-Communist countries who joined the alliance in 1999. Mr Tvrdik said there would be much more pressure on new members than there was for the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, which are still struggling to bring their armed forces up to NATO standards. Mr Tvrdik recently announced a widespread package of reforms, including plans for a fully professional army. NATO meets in Prague this September to decide on further expansion to the east.

Brave faces at Zofin for 4K "funeral ball"

Members of the opposition Four-Party Coalition put on a brave face on Saturday for a gala ball at Prague's Zofin palace, two days after the coalition collapsed. The coalition disintegrated in controversy and mutual recrimination on Thursday, but the two main parties decided to go ahead with Saturday's ball, which had been organised several months beforehand. Members of the tiny Civic Democratic Alliance, whose expulsion meant the end of the coalition, did not attend the ball.

Police arrest man suspected of stabbing boy

Police have arrested a man suspected of stabbing an eleven-year-old boy in Prague on Friday. The 25-year-old-man is said to have confessed to police, and has been charged with attempted murder. The boy was attacked as he was cycling on a pavement. He was dragged into nearby bushes, tied up with a rope and stabbed. He managed to escape his attacker and ran to his grandfather's house nearby. Doctors say his condition is serious but stable.

President's wife recovering at home from stress-related illness

The wife of the President Vaclav Havel, Dagmar Havlova, has returned home after briefly being admitted to hospital on Friday. No details of her illness have been given, but a spokesman for Prague Castle said the illness was caused by stress and exhaustion. Mrs Havlova has cancelled all her appointments for this week.

Weather

And finally a look at the weather forecast for Sunday night and Monday. Tonight will be colder than recent nights, with frost in places. Monday will be another clear and very mild day, with daytime temperatures ranging between 9 to 13 degrees. The fine weather is expected to stay with us until Thursday.