News of Radio Prague

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Czechs lack support for Cuba resolution

The Czech Republic will not table a resolution condemning human rights violations in Cuba at the United Nations General Assembly unless it receives strong backing from the European Union and the majority of Latin American states. The Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kavan, who has been trying to drum up support for such a resolution on a tour of Latin America, said he had met with a lukewarm response both in Brazil and Peru. Although the Czech Republic has tabled this resolution at the UN for three years in succession the Czech Foreign Minister said the Czech Republic was not going to push for it regardless of the notable lack of support. We wish to do what is best for the human rights situation in Cuba –and under the circumstances it may be better to look for a different way that will generate wider support, Kavan said. The majority of Latin American countries condemn human rights abuses in Cuba but refuse to join public criticism of the Castro regime.

Czechs welcome expanded EU summit

The Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman has described the EU expanded summit of 28 nations in Barcelona as a satisfying experience. "For the first time EU candidates were invited to the negotiating table to discuss a subject other than enlargement, we were drawn into the decision making process, we were truly involved and it was a good feeling " Mr. Zeman said after the meeting, which focussed largely on how to revive Europe's sluggish economy. The EU's enlargement commissioner Gunter Verheugen also had praise for Friday's experiment, saying the meeting with EU candidates has proved very useful. "They were prepared and delivered very consistent and coherent views…we are already a Union of 28 countries as far as the economic, social and environmental side of global development is concerned" the EU commissioner told journalists.

Verheugen says he was misquoted on Benes decrees

In one on one talks with the Czech Prime Minister, the EU's expansion commissioner cleared up a misunderstanding regarding a recent speech of his at the Council of Europe, in which he was alleged to have stated that the Czech Republic had agreed to revoke the controversial Benes decrees if they were found to be in violation of EU laws . The so called Benes decrees, which sanctioned the expulsion of two and a half million ethnic Germans from Czechoslovakia after the SWW, have recently caused political friction between the Czech Republic, Germany and Austria. Mr. Verheugen said he had been misquoted by journalists who had intentionally linked his statement on the Benes decrees with separate comments about a 1991 restitution law. As far as the EU is concerned the Benes decrees are history, and they will not be a factor in EU admission, Mr. Verheugen said.

Opposition agreement to end on the eve of the Parliamentary elections

The so called "opposition agreement" between the governing Social Democrats and the centre right Civic Democratic Party is expected to end on the eve of the June 15th Parliamentary elections. The "opposition agreement" was a temporary arrangement enforced by circumstances, the head of the Social Democrats Vladimir Spidla told reporters on Saturday, when it ends it will be up to the voters to decide the country's future political set up. The opposition agreement, which has often been described as "a hidden coalition" by the two parties' political rivals has come under fire from both the public and the media. Both parties of the "opposition agreement" are now keeping their options open as regards whom they'll cooperate with after the June elections.

Two people dive into the Vltava river to save drowning man

A policeman dived fully dressed into the Vltava river from one of its stone bridges in a vain attempt to save a drowning man on Friday night . The policeman arrived on the scene minutes after a middle aged man jumped from the Legionaries' bridge in what was obviously a suicide attempt. Witnesses said the policeman dived in to save him and one of the onlookers, a twenty six year old man, followed suit. Although they managed to get to the drowning man within minutes it was too late to save his life.

Weather

Sunday should be partly cloudy to overcast with some drizzle in the eastern part of the country and day temps between 12 and 16 degs C.