At a weekend conference of the Communist party Miroslav Grebenicek successfully defended his position as party leader, withstanding pressure for reform by his main rival Miloslav Ransdorf. Mr. Ransdorf advocated the need for a radical transformation which would enable the party to come out of isolation. Disappointed by his defeat, Mr. Ransdorf did not seek re-election as deputy chairman. Four of the five newly elected deputy chairmen are also in favour of retaining the status quo.
Political analysts say the outcome of the conference is not surprising since in recent years support for the party has grown. Although the communists are currently the second strongest party on the Czech political scene, their chances of entering government are nil since no other parliamentary party will cooperate with them on that level.
The government's human rights commissioner Jan Jarab says the Czech Republic's human rights record is improving but there is still much to be done. In his 2003 report, which the government is to debate on Wednesday, Mr. Jarab says that some progress has been made in fighting discrimination and racially motivated crimes but, the situation still varies in different regions. In particular, Mr. Jarab stresses the need to protect the rights of children and people receiving institutionalized care, who are not in a position to defend themselves or call attention to their suffering.
The 59th Prague Spring International Music Festival 2004 is underway in the Czech capital. This year's highlights include celebrations of the centenary of the great Czech composer Antonin Dvorak and performances by his great grandson Josef Suk and Czech mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kozena. For the first time this year, the festival introduces a smaller series of late-night concerts called "concerts without a break and without a jacket" to take place in a more relaxed atmosphere. The Prague Spring Music Festival annually attracts thousands of visitors from both at home and abroad.
Monday is expected to be clear to partly cloudy with day temperatures between 16 and 20 degrees Celsius.
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