Press Review

MLADA FRONTA DNES reports that the numerous errors found during test operations at the Temelin nuclear power reactor in South Bohemia, will make it impossible for the reactor to commence commercial operations by the date planned. The paper says that according to an agreement made between CEZ, the utility company in charge of constructing the plant, and the reactor's main supplier, Skoda Praha, the first bloc should be ready for uninterrupted output of 144 hours by May 3rd.

The paper quotes Skoda Praha's director as saying, that it will be another two months before this would be possible. So far, the plant has only been able to stay online without running into problems for a maximum of 2 consecutive days. Test operations are far from complete and technicians have been faced with numerous errors and shutdowns ever since the plant went online, the paper says, adding that because of the delays Skoda Praha may face a large fine totaling hundreds of millions of Czech crowns which could force the company into bankruptcy. Skoda Praha representatives are currently holding talks with CEZ, in an attempt to avoid having to pay the fine.

LIDOVE NOVINY reports that a former adviser to Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman, who was sacked from office in 1999, told the paper that he had recently been offered a job as advisor to the newly appointed Finance Minister, Jiri Rusnok. Jaroslav Novotny was involved in what has become known as the Stirin affair, in which he was accused of trying to blackmail the former director of the Stirin conference centre, Vaclav Hruby, who publicised records of telephone conversations in which Mr Novotny allegedly tries to persuade Mr Hruby to make false allegations against a former Foreign Minister.

The paper says that although an unnamed source from the Finance Ministry revealed that Mr Novotny has already been introduced to some of the ministry's staff as an "honorary advisor", an official Finance Ministry statement says that it does not employ anyone by the name of Jaroslav Novotny.

"Poisonous material in food only poses a threat to young children" reads the headline of an article in HOSPODARSKE NOVINY, which focuses on a report published by the State Health Institute on the influence of the natural environment on health. The report says that the quantity of poisonous materials that adults take in with various foods is not high enough to pose any serious threat to their health.

This, however, does not apply to children between the ages of 4 and 6. In the case of manganese, for example, children consume 75 percent more than the official recommended amount and the paper says that some experts believe this to be the reason behind a monitored increase in hyperactivity and a failure to concentrate. The article is accompanied by a graph that identifies the different minerals contained in food and the intake of various age groups.

Today's PRAVO features photographs of two policemen who were killed while on duty close to the South Bohemian town of Pisek. Their funerals were held today. The paper also reports that the man who reportedly killed the two policemen and seriously injured another, before attempting to commit suicide, died in hospital on Friday. One of the doctors who treated him, told the paper that the 45-year-old man had suffered severe head injuries.

ZEMSKE NOVINY goes a step further, with a moving report on the lives of the widow and son of one of the murdered policemen. Ivo Marek was 27 years old and died in hospital, seven hours after sustaining a gunshot wound to the head. The paper visits his widow, who says that her 2-year-old son, Adam, was still waiting for his father to come home from work. Mrs Marekova told the paper that she hoped that the policeman who was left seriously injured in hospital would survive so that she could find out what the last minutes of her husband's life were like.