Insight Central Europe News

23-01-2004

Poland's Treasury Minister has been fired by President Aleksander Kwasniewski. The Minister, Piotr Czyzewski, is the 13th person to leave Prime Minister Leszek Miller's Cabinet since it was elected in 2001. Czyzewski was criticized, notably by Brussels, for stalling the privatisation of state assets, depriving the cash-strapped budget of vital funds. Poland's interior minister Krzysztof Janik is also to be replaced by Jozef Oleksy, a former prime minister.

Hungary's broadcast regulator has banned a radio station from broadcasting for 30 days for insulting Christians. During a live programme on Christmas Eve a presenter from Tilos Radio, suggested that all Christians should be exterminated. This ban is on the basis of a paragraph of the media law, which prohibits comments, which offend or ostracise any social group. The authority has also prevented the station from applying for state support for six months and issued a final warning that if similar comments are broadcast it could lose its licence altogether.

Hundreds of employees for the Czech Republic's two nuclear power stations have been protesting this week to call for wage increases. It's the first demonstration ever by employees of the nuclear plants, and follows months of unsuccessful negotiations between unions and management. Czech law bans nuclear power plant workers from striking.

Prosecutors in Munich say they've arrested an 86 year old for possible prosecution on charges of murder during World War 2. The suspect, identified only as Ladislav N., was the commander of Nazi-backed unit which is alleged to have massacred Slovak civilians, including Jews. The unit also captured a group of American and British officers who were later executed at a concentration camp in Austria. The arrested man is accused of having headed a Slovak unit that hunted down resistance fighters when Slovakia was a Nazi puppet state during World War II.

The trial in Austria's worst peacetime disaster, the ski train fire at the Alpine resort of Kaprun in November 2000, has entered its final phase. Prosecutors delivering their closing arguments have blamed the tragedy on a heater unsuitable for vehicles. Some 155 people were killed when a fire broke out in a funicular train that was going through a tunnel up to a ski resort on the Kitzsteinhorn Mountain.

Sixteen people, including officials from the train company and transport inspectors face charges of negligence. They pleaded not guilty. A verdict is expected in February.

23-01-2004

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