Press Review

The good news is that Czech air traffic controllers might not go on strike next month after all, which could allow businessmen from around the world to peacefully converge upon Prague unhindered for the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. As PRAVO reports today, air traffic controllers at Prague International Airport have vehemently denied rumours of imminent strike action, although a dispute over pay, personnel policy and overtime work is still brewing. The paper notes that the Ministry of Transport and Communications is prepared for all contingencies, including perhaps the recruitment of air traffic controllers from abroad, should their Czech colleagues decide to team up with anti-globalisation protesters from around the world in wreaking havoc on the annual meeting.

The bad news is that if you are rich, you must be a thief, according to the Czech public that is. Most Czechs are convinced that the majority of their wealthy fellow citizens have accrued their riches in a less-than-honest way. This according to LIDOVE NOVINY, which reports that, as shown by a recent public opinion survey, seven Czechs in ten believe that only crooks and criminals have profited from the collapse of communism and the advent of capitalism more than a decade ago. Almost 80 percent of those polled by the STEM agency said they were worried by the widening of the gap between rich and poor. But the paper notes that envy and angst are the major factors of this conventional wisdom. Few Czechs will admit bearing grudges even against those who have grown rich thanks to their own skills, efforts and work ethics. And, menacingly, about 15 percent of those asked were convinced that no one had the right to be richer than the rest.

Corrupt!!! cries MLADA FRONTA DNES. Who's corrupt? The Czech Board of Radio and Television Broadcasting! The paper claims that upon resigning five years ago, one of its former members, a certain Jiri Koubek, was granted an interest-free loan of over one million crowns to buy a flat. The paper says it can produce evidence that Mr. Koubek hasn't even attempted to repay the loan, which he insists isn't true. The loan, the paper says, came from his new employer, Premiera Television, today known as TV Prima. That was shortly after this private company, initially broadcasting only in Prague and Central Bohemia, received essential nationwide frequencies. And who grants those frequencies? You guessed it: the Czech Board of Radio and Television Broadcasting.

And finally, Bonnie and Clyde are alive and well and living in Velke Bilovice near the East Moravian town of Breclav, close to the Slovak border. It was a silly thing to do, a 20-year-old man admitted to MLADA FRONTA DNES. We just wanted to prove it can be done. Earlier this month, he and his girlfriend, who is 19, attempted an armed robbery of a post office in the nearby village of Boleradice. They took a car, the girl, whose name was withheld, aimed a gun at the post office's single clerk and, apparently, some shooting ensued. The enterprising couple never got any money from the clerk. The modern-day Bonnie and Clyde are now facing trial and if convicted they could land themselves in jail for up to 10 years.