News Sunday, FEBRUARY 08th, 1998

Those were the main points and now the news in detail:

Uproar in parliament

There has been an uproar in the Czech parliament to the news that leader of the Sudetten German landsmanschaft, Franz Neubauer, has been appointed to a Czech German forum set up by the Czech German declaration. The Social democrat leader, Milos Zeman, told parliament that his party would not take a seat on the body where Neubauer has been appointed. The Communist party of Bohemia and Moravia has called on the Foreign minister, Jaroslav Sedivy to resign. But Sedivy insisted that Neubauer's presence in the discussion forum was not an obstacle to further dialogue.

Kinkel's reaction Commenting on the Czech stormy reaction, German Foreign minister Klaus Kinkel said in Bonn on Saturday that an important impetus, represented by the forum designed to improve Czech-German post-war relations, must not be diluded. Kinkel called on all parties involved not to let themselves be dragged into disputes as to who should be a member of the forum and to start a dialogue immediately. Kinkel added that now it is most important to look to the future and not deal with the past all the time.

Freedom Union local administration

Representatives of local administration in the Czech republic, who support the new party, the Freedom Union, at a session in Kutna Hora on Saturday agreed upin setting up a platform of local politics within the framework of the Union. Forty local politicians present at the meeting then elected a preparatory committee and entrusted its members with elaborating a proposal concerning the platform and submitting it to the section of the Freedom Union working on the party's statutes. The Kutna Hora mayor Ivo Sanc told newsmen it was expected that the constituent congress of the Freedom Union in Nymburk later this month will aprove such statutes that would give local politics within the party a brand new position, different from that in other parties.

Cardinal Vlk on role of church under communism

Head of the Catholic church in the Czech republic, Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, has spoken on Radio Free Europe about the recent Pope's visit to Cuba and about the 50th anniversary of a communist coup in Czechoslovakia back in 1948, when communists took over and our country embarked on the road of socialism. "The Church has been everywhere, today in Havana as well as yesterday in Prague," said Cardinal Vlk adding that "the Church has always meant support to freedom and other human and democratic values. The communists were well aware of it and that's why after the so-called Victorious February they exerted gigantic pressure against the church and its spiritual face." According to Miloslav Vlk, the communists in Czechoslovakia had removed the spiritual elite of the church and damaged a big part of its structures. The church, though, lived on, because its internal structure was so strong. Under the church towers small cells used to live - small groups of people with their spiritual representatives - the clergymen. That was a place where people used to come voluntarily, despite unfavourable conditions and the fact that their very existence had been endangered, concluded Cardinal Vlk.

And that's the end of the news.