News Sunday, MAY 03th, 1998

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Hello and welcome to the programme. I'm AS and we start as usual with the headlines:

At the University hospital in Innsbruck, Czech president Vaclav Havel spent his first night outside the intensive care unit

Trade and industry minister Karel Kuhnl has spoken against a proposed Social democrat amendment to the law on screening

and Germans who used to live on Czech territory say the Sudeten German landsmanschaft does not represent all Sudeten Germans.

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

Czech president Vaclav Havel, hospitalized at the University hospital in Innsbruck since undergoing emergency surgery on his large intestine, has spent his first night outside the intensive care unit. He slept well and had a rich breakfast. After breakfast, according to his Austrian doctor Ernst Bodner, he showered without assistance. Havel's doctors said it's difficult for them to keep their prominent patient calm, as the president wants to start his routine daily regime as soon as possible. They also announced that on Monday they intend to remove a tube from Havel's throat that facilitated his breathing. Professor Bodner has stressed that the president is recovering according to plan and that all the tests he has undergone have shown satisfactory results. The Czech president will probably return back home on Wednesday. On Monday, photographers will have their first chance to take pictures of the Czech president, and on the same day his Austrian counterpart, Thomas Klestil, will visit Mr. Havel in the hospital.

Trade and Industry minister Karel Kuhnl from the Freedom Union thinks that if passed, the Social democrat proposal for an amendment to the law on screening could complicate prosecution for crimes of communism. He said this in a regular Sunday debate on the private TV station, NOVA. According to the amendment, a person who was cleared by the court of collaborating with the state secret police should be viewed as if he or she were not listed in the STB files at all. In Kuhnl's opinion, the verdict has already said this, which renders the amendment unnecessary. Moreover, this amendment could lead to communist secret police materials being destroyed - said minister Kuhnl.

The Circle of Friends of Czech-German Understanding, which associates Germans who used to live in Bohemia and Moravia and are not members of the Sudeten German landsmanschaft, has issued a statement to members of the coordination council of the Czech-German Discussion Forum which says that the Landsmanschaft represents only a small part of the Sudeten Germans. We can say, says the statement, that many people who belong to the generation of those who experienced WWII, agree - despite their cruel fate - with the Czech-German declaration. "What is most important for us is the idea of reconciliation and constructive understanding," says the statement, signed by the chairman of the Circle, Rudolf Kuchler. "We are sorry that the Czech mass media have given wide coverage to the Landsmanschaft's activities, but have been silent about the activities of other groups which are even more important, since they are interested in real reconcilitation without preliminary conditions," Rudolf Kuchler told the CTK news agency.

And that's the end of the news.