Press Review

Not surprisingly all the Czech newspapers continue to cover the aftermath of the attacks on the US, reporting on both the world-wide developments and Czech reactions. Some of the papers carry the results of a recent opinion poll which showed that more than two thirds of Czechs expect the developments to result in a third world war.

On its front page, Mlada fronta Dnes carries an image of an American woman in tears during a memorial service at the Yankee stadium for those who perished during the attacks. The paper writes that both the US and the Taliban are preparing for war. American and British troops in search of Bin Ladin are, according to Mlada fronta Dnes, already on Afghan soil.

Both Mlada fronta Dnes and Lidove noviny report that Bin Ladin has disappeared and that the Taliban is unaware of his whereabouts. They quote sources which say that Bin Ladin does not stay in any one place for longer than two nights.

Back to the Czech Republic - and the transformation of the Czech Army is the topic of yet another article in Hospodarske noviny. Last week, top Czech politicians met and agreed that it was time for a fundamental reform of the Czech armed forces. At the meeting president Vaclav Havel said that the Czech Republic required a highly mobile, flexible, well-trained and well-equipped, professional army. This ambitious goal is to be achieved by 2007.

Hospodarske noviny writes, that in the meantime, initial reforms are to begin at the ministry, which is expected to be converted into a purely civilian body. Defence minister Jaroslav Tvrdik told the paper that this part of the reform faces serious difficulties, although it is not yet running behind schedule.

Today's Pravo devotes a full print page to discussions about informed consent - the patients' right to be properly informed about their illness and treatment. Under current legislation, Czech physicians are not obliged to inform their patients as to the extent of their condition. This, according to Pravo, may change if a proposed new bill is passed where doctors would be expected to provide patients with all the available information.

But there is a catch - if passed, the new law would also make it possible for doctors to withhold information which could exacerbate the patient's condition. Pravo asked several doctors from various fields for their opinion. They all agreed that patients have the right to informed consent but that an individual approach was necessary.

Mlada Fronta Dnes writes of an investigation into a case where a Czech municipal court judge in Brno, Jiri Styblo, was caught drunk driving. His defence argument was that he hadn't consumed any alcohol but he had eaten home-made preserved fruit, given to him as a gift, and was completely un-aware of it's alcohol content.

Mlada fronta Dnes writes that an ordinary driver would face a fine of 15,000 Czech crowns or about 400 USD and a three year driving ban if caught with the same blood alcohol level. This, though, does not apply to judges, policemen and state representatives. If found guilty, Mr. Styblo, however will not escape punishment - he may indeed be removed from office - says the paper.

Author: Nicole Klement
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