Press Review

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Opening Wednesday's papers is sure to elicit many a frown, especially from readers on a tight budget. Rising oil prices are expected to send the price of petrol on the Czech market up by an average of half a crown, and higher transportation costs will naturally affect the price of many consumer goods. Lidove Noviny notes that it is no longer a question of saving on petrol and taking the tram to work instead. This will effect the price of municipal public transport and rail transport, which in the long term might adversely effect unemployment. It will put further strain on the already tight budgets of the police, firemen and the ambulance service. It will, in short, affect every aspect of our lives, the paper notes. Echoing that sentiment, Zemske Noviny sports a large front-page headline reading "The price of bread and rolls to go up as of October".

On a different topic, Pravo reports on the increasing abuse of mobile phones by extremists. Thousands of people are finding racist messages on their mobiles of the type "for every dead Gypsy you get 50 minutes worth of calling time free of charge". The paper notes that like the Internet, the mobile phone has now become an instrument for extremist propaganda and the police are rarely able to track down the perpetrators.

Do the growing number of smokers in the Czech Republic know that smoking may give them cancer? Lidove Noviny's Martin Zverina pokes fun at the fact that the Czech Medical Chamber is urging physicians to spend more time lecturing their patients on the adverse effects of smoking, in the hope that this direct approach would prove more effective than aborted anti-smoking campaigns in the media. Zverina says that although he does not doubt the Medical Chamber's good intentions he is confident that 99% of Czech smokers know exactly what the health risks are. They risk their health consciously as do alcoholics and people addicted to speeding, Zverina says.

And finally, although it has been ten years since the fall of the communist regime, there are still plenty of blanks in the country's history which need filling. In order to be able to present a balanced and objective picture, teams of historians are now studying a huge archive of samizdat literature in the town of Dobrichovice near Prague. Slovo magazine carries a snapshot of history enthusiasts opening a newly arrived truckload of samizdat literature from neighbouring Germany. There is a separate collection of samizdat literature open to the general public, the Libri Prohibiti Library in Prague, but, according to the paper, it currently faces serious financial problems.