Czech Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda, who is currently attending a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Valkenburg, the Netherlands, told journalists on Saturday that the Czech Republic hopes to invite the children who survived the Beslan school siege in Russia to stay at Czech recreational spots to help them recover from the shock. The decision was made after Prime Minister Stanislav Gross consulted the idea with Mr Svoboda over the telephone. According to Foreign Ministry Spokesman Vit Kolar, up to one million Czech crowns (a little over 33,000 euros) from the state budget can be used to aid the affected families. Should the Russians accept the offer, a plane will be dispatched to pick up the victims and take them to recreational spots around the country.
Former political prisoners came together at the Svaty Hostyn, or Holy Hostyn, pilgrimage site to remember their friends who were tortured and died in prisons under the Communist regime. The Czech Confederation of Political Prisoners has organised the pilgrimage every year since 1993, laying flowers at the memorial dedicated to victims of Communism, holding the names of all those who died in Communist prisons. According to the chairman of the federation, Leo Zidek, some 240 people were killed and 200,000 arrested in the forty years of Communist rule.
A group of Palestinian students expressed solidarity with Palestinians serving prison sentences in Israel at a gathering at the top of Prague's Wenceslas square on Saturday. The students handed out information flyers to passers-by in support of a hunger strike started by 4,000 Palestinian prisoners on August 15 to protest against bad prison conditions. On Friday evening, some twenty students in Prague also stopped eating in a 24 hour symbolic move to support the prisoners' cause.
At the annual meeting of the Federation of Expellees in Berlin, its president Erika Steinbach criticised the Czech and Polish governments for failing to revoke laws from the post-WWII period that sanctioned the expulsion and confiscation of property of ethnic Germans. The people expelled are not after their property, all they want is reconciliation, she said. The Federation of Expellees is a non-profit organisation formed to represent the interests of an estimated 15 million ethnic Germans who were displaced from their homes in Central and Eastern Europe, mainly Poland, Czechoslovakia, and the Soviet Union, during the expulsion of Germans after WWII.
Members of the skinhead movement from Prague and its surroundings will be attending a concert of the neo-Nazi Randall Gruppe band, Saturday's edition of the Czech daily PRAVO reported. The event is considered to be provocative as it is being held at the "U Karla Haslera" restaurant in Prague, named after famous Czech singer and song-writer Karel Hasler, who died in a Nazi concentration camp. The Czech police will be monitoring the event.
At a different part of Prague on Saturday, Czech actors and musicians honoured and remembered Karel Hasler at the Prague Jarmark international folklore festival. Music and theatre groups performed in the city centre in support of a public collection to finance a Karel Hasler memorial - a life-size statue that his fans hope to unveil on October 31 2006, the 127th anniversary of Karel Hasler's birth.
The Czech Republic celebrated its first victory at the ice-hockey World Cup when it beat Germany 7-2 at Prague's Sazka arena on Friday evening. The win means the Czechs finish the round-robin stage in third place. At the quarter finals on Tuesday, they will face the losers of Saturday's game between Finland and Sweden.
Sunday is expected to have partially clear skies with day-time temperatures reaching a maximum of 25 degrees Celsius.
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