Insight Central Europe News

11-08-2006

Poland's prime minister, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, has condemned the opening of an exhibition in Berlin commemorating the expulsion of Germans and others from Eastern Europe after world war two. Mr Kaczynski said it would do nothing positive for Poland, Germany or Europe. The exhibition was organised by the Centre against Expulsions, which represents 12.5 million Germans expelled from eastern parts of the defeated Third Reich. Poland's conservative government and many Poles believe it aims to portray Germans as victims of a war they started.

Poland has returned to Russia close to 40 kg of highly enriched uranium - enough to make an atomic bomb - as part of a global effort to secure high-risk nuclear material. In a secret pre-dawn operation, the uranium was airlifted from a research reactor to Novosibirsk, Russia, where it will be diluted to ensure it cannot be used to build a bomb, the International Atomic Energy Agency said.

Members of parliament from Hungary's ruling Socialist party have said they want a radical reform of the healthcare system delayed until late next year. The country's health system consumes seven percent of GDP, and is key to cutting the budget deficit - the biggest relative to the size of the economy in the EU. Reform of the health system was one of Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany's main pledges in an election four months ago.

Slovenia's Foreign Ministry has said it is doing everything in its power to secure the release of Tomo Kriznar, the Slovenian president's special envoy to the Sudanese province of Darfur. Mr Kriznar is on trial for lacking a valid visa for Sudan and has been accused of spying. He admits entering the country illegally but denies that he is a spy.

A Hungarian man was caught red handed tapping into an oil pipeline which transports crude to Hungary from Russia via Slovakia, Hungarian police said. They discovered an 80-metre tunnel under the man's holiday home south of Budapest leading to the Druzba (Friendship) pipeline.

Czech swimmer Yvetta Hlavacova has set a new women's world record for swimming the English Channel. Hlavacova completed the Dover to Calais swim in a time of seven hours and 25 minutes. She now says she will attempt to break the absolute record of seven hours, three minutes later this summer.

Poland is shirking its European Union obligations to protect natural habitats, threatening over 100 endangered animals, environmentalists and the European Commission said last Thursday. Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski stunned environmental groups and Brussels last week, saying the number of habitats protected under the EU's Natura 2000 conservation network should be cut because they held back important projects such as motorways.

11-08-2006