News Sunday, JULY 16th, 2000

Sudeten German criticises USA

According to the leader of the Sudeten Germans, Bernd Posselt, the USA should keep out of the dispute over the Benes Decrees. The decrees were issued after the Second World War, and included the expulsion of Czechoslovakia's Sudeten German population. Mr. Posselt says that this is a question of European internal politics, and not a matter for the US. This follows reports earlier in the week that the USA had assured the Czech government that in negotiations concerning compensation for forced labourers from Central and Eastern Europe who had to work in Nazi Germany during the war, the issue of the Benes Decrees would not be raised. The US further stated that the confiscation of German property by Czechoslovakia in place of war reparations was legally valid. Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kavan has said that the Czech Republic does not want to revive the issue of the Benes Decrees, as the Czech Republic and Germany are now allies, and further discussions on this matter could harm relations between them.

Temelin fully stocked with fuel

The first reactor of the controversial Temelin nuclear power plant in South Bohemia is now fully stocked with fuel. The loading of the fuel into the reactor apparently took place with any problems. The International Agency for Atomic Energy and the Czech State Office for Nuclear Safety have inspected the reactor and stated that the fuel had been put in place in accordance with international regulations. This now means that the final preparations for putting the first reactor on line can now go ahead, and should be completed within a week. There will then follow a further inspection. If this goes ahead according to plan, the first reactor could be providing energy by the autumn.

Foreign Minister opens Czech representative office Israel

Foreign Minister Jan Kavan has opened a Czech representative office in the town of Ramallah in Israel. Mr. Kavan told journalists during the opening ceremony that the Czech Republic intends to help the peace process in Israel in any way it can. The foreign minister stated that credit should also be given to the Czechs for their participation in helping implement the peace process.

Prime minister to pay fine for slander

Prime Minister Milos Zeman is to pay a fine of 20,000 Czech Crowns, or roughly five hundred dollars, for comments he made concerning former MP Josef Wagner. Mr. Wagner was a member of the Social Democratic Party, just like the prime minister, and was excluded from the party after he supported the then coalition government's budget proposal in 1996. After Mr. Wagner's removal from the party, Mr. Zeman, then the leader of the opposition, said that no-one wanted Mr. Wagner, not even the Communist Party. Mr. Wagner then sued Mr. Zeman and won. The prime minister was meant to apologise within two years, or pay a fine. That time period is up, and the prime minister will now have to comply with the court ruling.

And finally the weather forecast.

The weather will continue to be anything but summery in the Czech Republic on Sunday, with overcast skies and rain showers in places. Temperatures during the day should reach between fourteen and eighteen. Temperatures during the night should be between eight and twelve degrees.