Press Review

All the Czech newspapers today feature photos of Marie Cerna, who was sentenced on Thursday to three months in jail for hiding hired assassin Jiri Kajinek after he had escaped from the most heavily guarded prison in the Czech Republic last year. He managed to make it from the prison in Moravia to Prague and hid in Cerna's flat for 40 days.

Cerna defended herself by saying she was too scared to report Kajinek to the police, writes LIDOVE NOVINY. But even the testimony of Kajinek himself, who was brought to the trial by a heavily armed convoy direct from prison, failed to help her, even though he admitted he was carrying a gun all the time. Cerna told the court the fear was stronger than anything else, and as she has appealed, the trial will now go to the Prague Municipal court, reports LIDOVE NOVINY.

Today's HOSPODARSKE NOVINY writes that the Czech Republic is another step further on its way to joining the European Union. The paper writes that another accession chapter - that of free movement of services - has been preliminarily closed. It concerns one of the four basic freedoms - the free movement of persons, goods, capital and services within the EU - and completing this chapter is seen as very important.

Although the chapter must still be formally approved by the EU, previous experience suggests the Czech Republic can count on almost automatic approval. However, the Czech Republic's EU negotiator, Pavel Telicka, told HOSPODARSKE NOVINY that the Czech Republic and the European Union have yet to start detailed talks on the issue and this might not be as easy as it seems.

PRAVO reports on a tense situation surrounding the controversial Temelin nuclear power plant in South Bohemia. The paper writes that a civic organization formed by those who favour the plant, which calls itself South Bohemian Daddies, has given American lawyer Ed Fagan, who is representing Austrian environmentalists in their fight against Temelin, an ultimatum to provide concrete evidence about the danger of Temelin within thirty days.

Ed Fagan claims that the combination of Soviet and American technologies used in Temelin could prove fatal, an opinion that the South Bohemian Daddies strongly oppose. The group comprises of the plant's engineers, who say if they don't receive evidence from Mr. Fagan within a month, it will be clear to the whole world that the American lawyer is lying, writes PRAVO.

And finally on a lighter note - employees at a local job centre in the North Moravian town of Havirov were extremely scared on Wednesday when they heard what sounded like a loud explosion outside their building and saw flames two metres high coming from a nearby container, reports ZEMSKE NOVINY.

But the firemen who arrived on the scene shortly afterwards found just an exploded small gas container, which housewives use for making whipped cream. The explosion happened the entire container went up in flames, because of a lit cigarette end that somebody carelessly threw into it. All the staff at the job centre employees breathed a sigh of relief at the news, as they thought someone had planned a bomb attack against them, writes ZEMSKE NOVINY.