Insight Central Europe News

02-07-2004

The Czech President, Vaclav Klaus, has thanked the outgoing Prime Minister, Vladimir Spidla, for his efforts in trying to hold together the fragile coalition that collapsed at the end of last week. The future of the country is now uncertain, with the strongest opposition party, the Civic Democrats, pushing for early elections, and Mr Spidla's successor at the helm of the Social Democrats, Stanislav Gross struggling to scrape together a coalition with majority support in parliament.

The Polish Justice Minister Marek Sadowski has said that evidence against a renowned child psychologist suspected of pedophilia is strong and clear. The man, named only as Andrzej S., was arrested last Sunday after pornographic pictures of children were found at a rubbish dump close to his home. Incriminating photographs were also found at his home. Minister Sadowski warned that the media should not pass sentence on the psychologist in advance, but he added that the evidence is strong.

The US lawyer Edward Fagan has filed an $18 billion lawsuit against Austria which claims the country profited from wrongfully kept artworks stolen by the Nazis. In Vienna this week Mr Fagan said he had filed the suit in a New York district court on behalf of the Association of Holocaust Victims for Restitution of Artwork and Masterpieces. The action follows an identical lawsuit filed by Mr Fagan last month against Germany.

Latest figures show that after twenty-three years of decline, the number of live births in Slovakia increased last year. The jump was highest in the area around the capital city Bratislava. But Slovakia remains one of the countries with the lowest birth rates in Europe. Further statistics suggest that women are starting their families later, with the Slovak average at just under 25 years of age.

There were broken hearts in the Czech Republic on Thursday night, as the country's team went down to outsiders Greece at Euro 2004. After a run that won the Czechs international praise, they lost in extra time against a plucky but defensive Greek side. An impressive five goals by striker Milan Baros in the course of the tournament gave the Czechs some consolation as they went home with bronze.

02-07-2004

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