Press Review

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ZEMSKE NOVINY reports that the state has lost hundreds of millions of Czech crowns due to mismanagement and corrupt state officials. Most of the wasted money comes from public tenders - many of which fail to be viable. Every year, state offices make such orders worth tens of millions of Czech crowns - often, however, contracts are agreed with inefficient companies.

The paper quotes a member of the Supreme State Audit Authority, Josef Pohl, as saying that most bad orders are made due to the lack of expertise of state officials, but adds that a significant number tend to be awarded as a result of bribery or as a favour to relatives and friends. The law on public tenders can be easily circumnavigated by villages and towns councils, and even in parliament.

"Whites go, blacks stay" reads a headline in MLADA FRONTA DNES, referring to the approach of British immigration officials at Prague's Ruzyne airport. The Czech Republic's former human rights commissioner, Petr Uhl, tells the paper that he considers it to be discrimination, saying that the British officials only rejected the applications of members of the Roma community. The paper goes on to say that on Wednesday some ten Roma citizens were refused entry to the UK and on Thursday 12 more. Whilst white citizens are questioned for no longer than two minutes, those with darker skin are immediately asked to step aside and then have to go through tens of minutes of questioning after which they are refused entry to Britain.

The paper says that Prime Minister, Milos Zeman thinks the measures appropriate and notes that this approach is the only way to keep Britain from introducing visa requirements for Czech citizens. It also quotes the Foreign Minister, Jan Kavan as saying that he rejected allegations that the Czech Republic sacrifices its Roma citizens in order to improve their chances of getting into the European Union. The Roma Community intend to speak to Mr. Kavan about the affair and are even ready to defend their rights in court, the paper says.

HOSPODARSKE NOVINY reports that the British company, British Energy, has expressed interest in buying the controversial Temelin nuclear power plant. The paper says that the company is interested in participating in the privatisation of the Czech energy sector but is ready to purchase Temelin even before the privatisation takes place. Prime Minister Zeman's cabinet intends to privatise the power utility CEZ before the end of the year. British Energy's representative in Prague, Jan Piskacek told the paper that the British company found Temelin to be safe and that he believed it had enough experience to be able to complete and fully activate the plant.

Today's PRAVO reports that the policeman who shot a 46-year-old woman during a car chase on Monday shot at another person five years ago. The earlier incident also involved a car chase, during which the driver, a 26-year- old man was shot. In that case, he survived and the policeman - from the Central Bohemian town of Melnik - was cleared of any charges. Monday's incident, however, is still under investigation as witnesses are still being questioned. The paper says that the policeman - who is currently on sick leave - will be called in for further questioning next week. The family of the victim has so far not been given any offer of compensation from the Ministry of Interior, says the paper.

LIDOVE NOVINY says that Dominik Hasek, the Czech Republic's famous ice-hockey goaltender was released from hospital after being treated for an unidentified illness for 14 days. Although he has been released, the paper says that he will have to undergo further treatment for two more weeks at home during which he will be put on antibiotics and will visit the hospital for consultations in order to fully recover. Hasek told the paper that at this time of the year he would usually be in training for the new season in September, but he remained confident that he would be fit in time.