President Vaclav Havel has expressed his disquiet over recent statements made by Prime Minister Milos Zeman and Labour and Social Affairs Minister Vladimir Spidla about the post-war expulsion of Czechoslovakia's ethnic German minority. Mr Havel said in an interview on the German television station ARD that while he was in favour of calm reflection on the issue, it was dangerous to inject passion into the debate. Mr Zeman recently said that Czechoslovakia's German minority had wanted to join the 'reich' and that is what they had done, while Mr Spidla said that the expulsion had been a source of peace in the post-war period.
Mr Havel met the Austrian President Thomas Klestil at a meeting of presidents from Central and Eastern Europe in Slovenia on Saturday. The APA news agency reported that Mr Klestil had called for a "political or legislative declaration" to abrogate the Benes decrees, which sanctioned the post-war expulsion of Germans. He and Mr Havel agreed to meet again in south Moravia in September.
The Prime Minister, Milos Zeman, has told delegates at a Socialist International conference in Casablanca, Morroco, that the organisation should concentrate on resolving potential conflict situations. Mr Zeman said that it was cheaper and more effective to prevent disputes than to resolve open conflict. Mr Zeman said that for a decade he had watched as his friend, current Israeli Foreign Minister Simon Peres, had shaken hands with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, and that he wanted to see more than the shaking of hands.
The 64-year-old pilot of an ultralight plane died on Saturday when his plane fell to the ground from a height of two hundred metres near Nymburk, in central Bohemia. An investigation has been launched into the cause of the crash. A number of people die in the Czech Republic in ultralight plane crashes every year.
The Foreign Minister, Jan Kavan, has opened an 800-hour marathon reading of Czech and Slovak literature. Mr Kavan got the event underway in Prague at 2 o'clock on Friday afternoon. Readings will be held in 17 Czech Centres around the world, in a kind of literary 'relay race', which will end back in Prague on June 8.
Borussia Dortmund midfielder Tomas Rosicky has won the Golden Ball award for the best Czech football player of the year, in a poll of the country's sports journalists. Rosicky, who is 21, said that while he was happy to win the award, he would swap it for participation in the World Cup finals which are now taking place in Japan and South Korea.
Sunday is expected to be quite sunny, though eastern parts of the country can expect some rain. The maximum daytime temperature should be 21 degrees Celsius.
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