The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have urged the Czech authorities to avoid violent confrontation with nongovernmental organisations during the annual meeting of the two institutions that is to take place in September in Prague. Prague's Mayor, Jan Kasl, said after meeting World Bank chairman James Wolfensohn that the World Bank would ask the Czech interior minister Stanislav Gross not to threaten potential demonstrators with suppression or being barring from entering the country. According to Kasl, the IMF and World bank do not want to have an image of institutions that persecute their opponents. He stressed that the Czech police had yet to learn to deal with violent demonstrations.
Groups representing the interests of Germans expelled from eastern Europe after World War Two have repeated their demands for compensation. At a conference in Berlin, Federation of Expellees president Erika Steinbach specifically called on the Czech Republic, Poland, and Slovenia to acknowledge the injustices done in the mass expulsion of ethnic Germans at the end of the war 55 years ago. She said that Hungary, Estonia, Lithuania and Romania had dealt with this chapter in their history and had provided compensation and offers for Germans to return. But there remained unresolved issues with regard to the other countries. She also repeated the expellees' groups demand that eastern European countries' membership of the European Union should be made conditional on resolving this issue.
The Czech government will sell its 30-percent stake in the country's largest car manufacturer, Skoda, to its majority owner, Volkswagen. Deputy Finance Minister Jan Mladek said that a preliminary deal had been agreed but he declined to provide more information until the sale is approved by the Cabinet on Monday. The Associated Press news agency reported, however, that the 30-percent stake will be sold for around 13 billion Czech crowns, or just over 300 million USD. The German auto giant bought into Skoda in 1991 and increased its share to 70 percent in 1995.
And finally, the weather forecast. We are expecting a rather cloudy day with scattered showers in North-Eastern parts of the country. Afternoon highs should range from 15 to 19 degrees Celsius. The next two days should be overcast with rain or showers with highest daytime temperatures between 15 and 20 degrees Celsius.
And that's the end of the news.
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