Press Review

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The continuing controversy around a study on how smoking benefits the Czech treasury, criminal charges against a policeman who shot dead an innocent civilian, and disputes over the Temelin nuclear power station make the main headlines in Czech daily newspapers today. The papers also feature photographs of the famous Czech ice-hockey player Jaromir Jagr, showing off his new Washington Capitals shirt, with number 68.

LIDOVE NOVINY analyses the likely reasons why tobacco giant Philip Morris commissioned a study on the economic benefits of smoking. The study is revolutionary, the paper writes. Until now, all such studies claimed that damage caused by smoking overweighed any benefits. Now, the Czech government is told that it can save money on the early deaths of smokers who then do not claim their pensions.

The economic benefits are probably meant to dissuade parliament and the government from limiting tobacco advertising. And it is well calculated, as the Social Democratic government is desperate to patch-up the holes in its deficit budget, LIDOVE NOVINY concludes.

MLADA FRONTA DNES carries a large article on the life of Czech Roma asylum seekers who sought refuge in Canada. Most of them say they left their home country because of racist threats - but there are also economic benefits in going to Canada. While a small number of them found jobs or started private businesses, most of the Roma refugees live on social welfare, MLADA FRONTA DNES writes. However, this guarantees them a higher standard of living than they had in the Czech Republic.

ZEMSKE NOVINY predicts that the price of bread and other corn products will rise later this year by as much as ten percent. The paper quotes a representative of the Union of Bakers and Confectioners who claims that transport, heating and personnel costs have been constantly growing and that there is no room to prevent the knock-on rise for the consumer. Currently, ZEMSKE NOVINY writes, Czech prices stand at around one third of those in the EU and are expected to gradually reach the same levels.

HOSPODARSKE NOVINY report that there are a growing number of foreign tourist guides in the Czech Republic who work here illegally. The Czech Association of Tourist Guides estimates that around forty percent of tourists groups in Prague are guided by foreigners. Their qualifications, however, are reportedly much lower than that of their Czech counterparts - most of whom have passed language, history and culture exams.