Press Review

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All the Czech newspapers today feature photographs from Saturday's ceremony in Prague's National Theatre, where the Thalia 2001 awards were handed out to the most successful stage actors, singers and dancers. The papers also carry pictures of footballer Pavel Nedved, whose goal against Northern Ireland on Saturday means the Czechs have won three of their four matches in the 3rd qualification group.

PRAVO reports on an awkward meeting between Defence Minister Vladimir Vetchy and Czech journalists. Mr Vetchy refused to answer questions over allegations of mismanagement which has cost the ministry millions, mostly due to bungled contracts. PRAVO writes that the Defence ministry has been under a barrage of criticism for some time, but the minister has refused to comment on the allegations and has ignored calls for his resignation.

When a PRAVO journalist asked him about his ministry's problems, Mr Vetchy told him he didn't have time to reply. During an informal debate with journalists, he complained that everybody was criticising his ministry even though the problems weren't his fault. Mr Vetchy defended himself by pointing to his ministry's low budget, which is even more burdened with the purchase of new jet fighters and modernisation of old tanks.

LIDOVE NOVINY reports from the Oscars ceremony in Los Angeles. Sitting anxiously in the audience was Czech director Jan Hrebejk, whose film "Divided We Fall" had been nominated for Best Foreign Film, an award which eventually went to Ang Lee's "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon".

"You've made better films than us Americans," the small contingent of foreign directors were told by Mark Johnson, the head of the Committee for the Nomination of Foreign Film. Mr. Johnson had words of praise for the non-English language films nominated this year, which will probably come as some consolation to Hrebejk, despite the fact that "Divided We Fall" didn't take home the Oscar, writes LIDOVE NOVINY.

And finally, ZEMSKE NOVINY says that Czechs seem to be lured by the chance to work in Germany. Czechs mainly seek work abroad for economic reasons, but not many of them settle there, writes the paper.

And nothing will probably change with the Czech Republic's future membership of the European Union. The most popular country is Germany, which will probably open its doors to some 20,000 Czech workers, says a study published by the Council for Social and Economic Strategy.

Equally popular are English-speaking countries such as Britain, the United States and Canada. Only five percent of respondents say they would go and work in neighbouring Austria.

The paper says this is because Austria - together with Germany - is trying to force the European Union to restrict the rights of workers from former Communist countries when those countries join the EU, in fear of an influx of cheap labour, concludes ZEMSKE NOVINY.