News of Radio Prague
The leader of the governing Social Democrats Vladimir Spidla has spoken out in favour of compensating those ethnic Germans who fought against the Nazis during WWII and whose expulsion from post-war Czechoslovakia was unjust. In an interview for the Suddeutsche Zeitung Mr. Spidla made it clear that he was not criticizing the controversial Benes decrees which sanctioned the expulsion of 2.5 million ethnic Germans from post-war Czechoslovakia. The decrees were part of the post war settlement package in Europe, they were part of the peace settlement and as such we are not in a position to judge them today, he said. However those ethnic Germans who fought against the Nazi regime and were expelled with the rest suffered injustice and they deserve some form of compensation, the Social Democrat leader told the paper.
Schily on Benes decrees
Meanwhile, controversy over the Benes decrees continues. At a meeting of the Sudeten German Landsmanshaft in Nuremberg over the weekend, German Interior Minister Otto Schily called on the Czech Republic to revoke the Benes decrees once it joins the European Union. When the minister said that such a move must not open the door to compensation claims relating to the expulsions he was booed by the crowd, some of whom wish to lay claim to former property and want to see the Czech Republic kept out of the EU until it has revoked the decrees. Disregarding the protest, minister Schilly reminded his audience that it was the Nazis who first expelled Czechs from their homes in 1938. "This is a truth you must face" he told the gathering.
Laura Bush in Prague
The US First Lady Laura Bush is in Prague on a four day visit. Mrs. Bush, who is touring several European states, arrived in Prague from Hungary on Saturday afternoon. Her weekend schedule is being kept private for security reasons. On Monday she is scheduled to meet with President Havel and his wife Dagmar at Prague Castle, and on Tuesday the US First Lady will be taken on a tour of Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty.
Another Czech scales Mount Everest
Czech mountain climber Miroslav Caban fulfilled his dream in the early hours of Saturday when he conquered Mount Everest without using an oxygen mask. Another Czech, Miloslav Palacky had to give up only several hours before they were due to reach the top because of severe breathing problems. Although one might not expect it there was a fair amount of traffic at the top of the world's highest mountain at the time. Forty climbers from various country's scaled the mountain on the same day, and the Nepalese Ministry of tourism reported a record number of climbers on Thursday when 55 people reached the highest mountain peak.
And finally, a quick look at the weather forecast:
The night will bring cloudy skies and rain. Sunday is expected to bring more showers especially in the western part of the country, Moravia can expect to enjoy a few more hours of sunshine. Day temps between 22 and 26 degs C.