Press Review

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THE story in today's dailies are the awards handed out at the end of the Karlovy Vary film festival on Saturday night. Since the vast majority of Czech dailies do not come out on Sunday, readers have had to wait for the photographs until the Monday editions. And front pages today do carry the pictures, most often photos of Ben Kingsley receiving the prize for outstanding artistic contribution to world cinema.

On its first page MLADA FRONTA DNES also reports on the growing number of racially motivated crimes in the Czech Republic. One extremist crime is committed somewhere in the country every day, the paper says. The number of skinheads has increased by 25 percent in the space of a single year, and many extremist groups are trying to break into mainstream politics, establishing their own political parties.

The paper quotes a report published by the Interior Ministry, which stresses that left-wing extremism is also on the rise. The number of supporters of hard-left and anarchist groups increased by 60 percent following the anti-globalisation riots during the World Bank meeting in Prague in September, in which anarchists from the United States, Britain and Holland took part, giving the Czech movement new impetus.

Today's PRAVO writes about the increasing interest in Czech spas. The spa tradition dates back to the 19th century, when Karlsbad and other West Bohemian spas were the meeting place of the nobility, and people such as Goethe, and Marx, came back to take the waters year after year. Then, during the years of Communist rule, the spas, too, were hit by the dictum that everything belongs to the working class, and the grand atmosphere gave way to drab uniformity in the state-owned and state-run centres.

After 1989 it seemed that Czech spas would never manage to make it back to international popularity, but, Pravo reports, it seems that they are. The number of foreigners who take the waters and bathe in them is increasing by 13.5 percent each year and there were two and a half times more foreign patients in 1999 than in 1985. Most of them come from Germany and Austria, but there are also many newly rich Russians as well as other nationals, including English visitors.

"Number of Children Drops" a headline in today's ZEMSKE NOVINY announces. Quoting the latest census results it says the Czech population is gradually getting older. While the Czech population as a whole has dropped by 0.1 percent over the past ten years, the number of children has dropped by 21.7 percent.

LIDOVE NOVINY has a whole section dedicated to the topic uppermost on practically everybody's minds these days - summer holidays. As of this year the minimum time off for every Czech employee is four weeks, regardless of age or length of employment.

In some specified kinds of jobs, the minimum holiday is 5 weeks and in high- risk workplaces even longer, according to agreements between the employer and workers' representatives. Generally speaking, Czech vacations are about as long as people in EU countries enjoy, but far longer than the average American vacation.

Author: Olga Szantová
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