One a one day visit to Prague, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said the continuing row over the post war expulsion of Sudeten Germans from Czechoslovakia could not affect the excellent relations Czechs and Germans have today. He was referring to a weekend meeting of the Landsmanshaft in Bavaria where Bavaria's prime minister Edmund Stoiber hurled criticism at the Czech authorities for not revoking the Benes decrees which formed a legal basis for the expulsions. The manner in which he made the demand has ruffled feathers in Prague and deputies of the ruling Social Democratic Party have called on the Czech Foreign Minister to put Mr. Stoiber in his place. Pouring oil on troubled waters, the visiting German Chancellor said the views expressed at the Landsmanshaft meeting had been "extreme and marginal". He said that while he respected the personal tragedies accompanying the post war expulsion, causes and consequences could not be mixed up.
A deputy for the Christian Democratic Party has suggested WWII freedom fighters who later served the communist cause should be stripped of their merits. Josef Janecek argued that it was morally wrong for people who had supported a totalitarian regime to have the title of freedom fighters. It is wrong that people who enjoyed privileges from the communists after the war should be placed on the same rank as those who remained true to their ideals and who were persecuted for their beliefs after the communist take-over, Janecek said. According to him this would concern tens, possibly hundreds of war veterans.
The Czech Foreign Ministry has advised Czech nationals not to travel to Uzbekistan where over 700 people are believed to have been killed in the bloody suppression of a rebellion last Friday. Popular anger is simmering in the eastern part of the country and troops are out in force. Despite this the local authorities and travel agencies maintain that everything is under control and there is no danger for foreign tourists. The Czech Foreign Ministry statement urges people who cannot put off their trip to Uzbekistan to contact the Czech embassy in Tashkent for relevant information and to avoid taking unnecessary risks.
An amendment to the law passed by the lower house on Tuesday should give the Ombudsman's Office greater powers in protecting human rights in prisons, asylum centres and psychiatric institutions. Interior Minister Frantisek Bublan said he was pleased with the amendment since at present there was no systematic control of human rights in the above named institutions. The bill still needs to be approved by the Senate and signed by the President.
Wednesday is expected to be overcast with scattered showers and day temperatures between 11 and 15 degrees Celsius.
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