Reconstruction work has begun on the Czech National Building in New York. The building, which is located in Manhattan and owned by the Czech state, is to serve as a cultural and administrative centre when it reopens in 2004. The Czech minister of culture, Pavel Dostal, told a crowd of several hundred at the ceremony to mark the beginning of the reconstruction that it would save a piece of Czech culture in the United States.
A demonstration against abortion organised by a group called Movement for Life was held on Prague's Wencelas Square on Saturday. The estimated 600 people who took part in the protest were met by counter-demonstrators defending women's right to choose. Abortion is legal in the Czech Republic. The number of pregnancies terminated every year has fallen considerably since the political changes of 1989.
The Communist Party has protested against the fact that the savings bank Ceska Sporitelna plans to make donations to its three main rivals, the governing Social Democrats and the right-of-centre parties the Civic Democrats and Coalition, which is made up of the Freedom Union and the Christian Democrats. Ceska Sporitelna is giving each party the same amount - 2.5 million crowns. The bank's largest shareholder is Austria's Erste Bank. Communist MP Stanislav Fischer said it was doubtful that Ceska Sporitelna would make the donations for disinterested reasons.
Meanwhile, the Communist MP Vojtech Filip has said that NATO is currently acting like Adolf Hitler in the 1930s. Mr Filip said on a TV discussion programme on Sunday that NATO was trying to destroy the United Nations Security Council, which he described as the world's security system, just as Hitler destroyed the League of Nations in the 30s. The Czech Republic joined NATO just over three years ago. The Communist Party is opposed to the alliance, which it says is a relic of the Cold War era.
The British historian Timothy Garton Ash is to present his proposed lyrics to accompany the European anthem - Beethoven's 9th Symphony - in Prague in September, the chairman of the European Parliament, Pat Cox, said on Friday. Mr Garton Ash, who has written several books on modern Central and Eastern European history, has been invited to make the presentation in Prague by the Czech president, Vaclav Havel.
And finally a look at the weather forecast. Monday should be cloudy with snow or sleet showers in places. Temperatures should range from two to six degrees Celsius.
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