Press Review

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MLADA FRONTA DNES shifts the focus of the long-standing debate on the Temelin nuclear plant and in several articles today examines the Czech Republic's "other," but thus far only functioning, nuclear plant near the small village of Dukovany. The power utility CEZ, which operates both plants, has invested heavily into upping the image of nuclear energy in Dukovany, providing the town's 700 inhabitants with jobs and millions of crowns in investment as well as perks such as a swimming pool, tennis courts, a cinema and cable TV, writes the paper. Nevertheless, it will take another 20 billion crowns to renovate the 15-year-old plant. That is why, writes MLADA FRONTA DNES, environmentalists calling for the halting of operations at the newly modernised Temelin plant would do better to turn their efforts to the potentially more dangerous Dukovany plant. Why activists are insisting on a referendum on the dismantling of the new plant, which contains 100 billion crowns worth of the most modern technology and has been assessed by international experts, rather than the older Dukovany plant, remains a mystery, says the paper.

In a long-overdue commentary, HOSPODARSKE NOVINY warns against the hyped-up hysteria surrounding the upcoming fall meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in Prague. Recent statements of federal authorities have given the impression of an imminent gang war, writes the paper. The Interior Ministry's announcement that Prague police will be re-armed with better guns before the meeting, and the Health Ministry's warnings to store up on medicine in case doctors are too busy nursing the victims of the expected chaos have added fuel to the fire. They have also discredited the promises of the government's chief negotiator for the meeting to consider the concerns of the anti-globalisation activists. The "what if" speculation has gone so far as to ponder how the wounded from the two opposing sides of police and activists are to be isolated in the hospitals so as to prevent further scuffles. Czech authorities, however, have only one basic task: to ensure the meeting progresses in a relatively calm atmosphere, concludes HOSPODARSKE NOVINY.

And in a light-hearted commentary, LIDOVE NOVINY muses on the loss of public engagement in politics by examining the recent declaration of popular singer Daniel Hulka that he did not recognise either the name or face of Interior Minister Stanislav Gross. The paper reminisces on the public meetings held in the aftermath of the fall of communism, when the new faces of the young democracy gathered to debate with the public. But it also recalls the more recent concerts of equally popular singer Lucie Bila vociferously supporting Vaclav Klaus's Civic Democratic Party. Where are those concerts now? asks the paper. And is Czech society so bad off that it does not recognise, or want to recognise, its own top representatives? For, the question is not who people don't know but who they don't want to know, alleges the paper. Perhaps the true meaning of democracy is in remaining solitary, in creating conditions that enable each individual to survive the here and now. In that case, concludes LIDOVE NOVINY, we are witnessing the onset of circumstances in which all names and celebrities are secondary.