The Prague Jewish community has expressed concern with regard to the growing number of neo-Nazi gatherings taking place in the Czech Republic. In an open letter leading representatives of the Jewish community have appealed to the public not to allow racism and intolerance to take root in the country. "For too long now incidents of racism and intolerance have been ignored. What we need is for the public to make it clear that this philosophy of evil has no place in the Czech Republic" the chairman of the Prague Jewish community, Tomas Jelinek told the CTK news agency. He said he was disappointed by the fact that the authorities tolerated neo-Nazi activities in a country in which the Nazi regime had killed thousands of innocent people. Two ultra right wing gatherings took place in the Czech Republic only this weekend.
Responding to the appeal, Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla said that the Social Democrat Cabinet was aware of the problem and action would be taken shortly. On Monday the Interior Minister Stanislav Gross is to present the Cabinet with his law-enforcement plan aimed at cracking down on racial abuse. The minister has pledged to take a tough line with extremist groups and ordered the police to clamp down on any violation of the law at such gatherings. Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla has indicated that if the problem cannot be resolved by consistently enforcing existing laws the government would consider amending them. Eight senators have likewise stressed the need to address the problem without delay.
Close to 500 people on Sunday attended a ceremony on the site of the former Terezin concentration camp to pay homage to the thousands of men, women and children who lost their lives there. Between 1940 and 1945 two hundred thousand Nazi prisoners entered the Terezin ghetto. Forty thousand of them died there, over 100.000 were deported to gas chambers. Speaking at the commemorative ceremony the chairman of the Czech Union of anti-fascist fighters Jakub Cermin said that no effort must be spared to prevent a repetition of the atrocities committed by the Nazis.
The Czech Republic has met the Austrian government's demand for a report on the Temelin nuclear power station evaluating the option of mothballing the plant. The possibility of a permanent shutdown was raised last week during talks between Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kavan and Austrian Environment Minister Wilhelm Molterer. At Vienna's urging Prague agreed to add the "shutdown alternative" to a previously completed environment impact report on Temelin. "We have done more than necessary" a Czech foreign ministry spokesman told journalists, adding that "nothing would change" as regards the Czech government's plan to put Temelin into commercial operation as soon as the Nuclear Safety Agency gives its final approval.
The Dutch Foreign Minister Jozias van Aartsen is expected to discuss EU expansion, NATO related issues and economic cooperation with Czech top officials on Monday. The Netherlands is one of the Czech Republic's biggest economic partners and has numerous investments in the Czech Republic. The Dutch concern Philips is building what is to be the largest TV factory in Central Europe on Czech territory. The visiting Dutch Foreign Minister will be received by President Havel, and has scheduled meetings with Prime Minister Zeman, the Chairman of the Lower House of Parliament Vaclav Klaus and Foreign Minister Jan Kavan.
Zdenek Bus has won the Czech Strong-Man Title. He excelled in several disciplines at the weekend Strong Man Contest in Prostejov, beating his rivals in the ring, lifting heavier beer barrels and single-handedly pulling a truck further than anyone else. The twenty seven year old security guard shared his know- how with anyone interested : "I eat a lot and exercise a lot that's all it takes" the winner told an admiring crowd of onlookers. Mr. Bus is 174 cm tall and weighs 116 kgs.
Monday should bring sunny skies and day temps between 18 and 22 degs C. Tuesday is expected to be slightly colder with rain in places and day temps between 14 and 18 degs.
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