Insight Central Europe News


The Polish Prime Minister, Marek Belka, has survived a parliamentary vote of confidence, averting the threat of early parliamentary elections in August. Mr Belka had been in a caretaker role since May, when his government failed to win parliamentary support. Both Mr Belka and President Aleksander Kwasniewski now favour a general election early in 2005.

The first Hungarian serviceman killed in action in Iraq, 27-year-old Richard Nagy, was buried with full military honours on Wednesday. The Hungarian President and other prominent politicians were among the mourners. The US President George Bush expressed his condolences to the serviceman's family. During an audience with Mr Bush at the White House, the Hungarian Prime Minister Peter Medgyessy said that his government did not intend to pull the Hungarian contingent out of Iraq before its mandate expired at the end of the year.

It has been announced that the first foreign trip by the Austrian president-designate Heinz Fischer will be to neighbouring Hungary. Mr. Fischer will be officially sworn into office on July 8th and is set to pay a visit to Budapest on July 13th. He will be accompanied by the foreign minister Benita Ferrero-Waldner, whom Mr. Fischer defeated in recent presidential elections.

The Prime Minister of Slovenia, Anton Rop, has announced he is to sack his Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel. He accused Mr Rupel of being too close to the opposition and hampering the work of the centre-left government. The sacking is unlikely to have a significant impact on government policy, but it could influence public opinion in the run-up to parliamentary elections later this year.

Czech and Slovak police have charged 25 people with running an internet-based global prostitution ring using 230 women, many of whom were threatened with violence if they refused to comply. A Slovak police official told Reuters that the group, which was based in Slovakia but had a branch in the Czech Republic, posed as a modelling agency, luring girls with promises of work as hostesses around the world.


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