Press Review

"Snow and wind bring traffic to standstill", "Harshest winter in 15 years", "Country gripped by barrage of snowdrifts", "Worst calamity in 15 years", those are some of the headlines in today's Czech newspapers accompanied by large photos of snow-ploughs clearing away snow drifts and rows of cars stuck on roads.

People cut off in villages in remote areas of the country are beginning to get tired, the daily Pravo says. There is a danger of food shortage, no mail has arrived for days and ambulances have difficulties getting to the patients. Pravo quotes a psychologist who says that old people who are genuinely cut off from the world could suffer from anxiety - they may fear a sudden illness with there being no chance to find help.

Mlada fronta Dnes suggests not everybody is distressed by the heavy snow. Kids in many remote regions of the country have been granted a two day emergency holiday on Thursday and Friday as neither they nor their teachers can get to the schools or back. Children are sure to welcome the extra days added to their Christmas holidays.

"This is not fun anymore," Lidove noviny quotes Jiri Halouzka, the mayor of Jirikov, a small village in the north Moravian region of Bruntalsko where many people are confined to their homes and the village suffers frequent power cuts. "Night temperatures are so low that if you left a dog outside overnight you'd have to defrost it with a soldering gun in the morning," the paper quotes Jiri Halouzka. "We can bake our own bread and live on our food supplies for a fortnight but it's important we don't run out of fuel."

And we continue with Lidove noviny commenting on the first day Czech banks started selling the euro to customers. One customer bought a hundred thousand euro in cash. Otherwise the demand was negligible and people who bought the new single European currency did so mostly out of curiosity.

One reason why the demand for the euro is so low is that the Czech crown is relatively strong at the moment and customers are waiting for the exchange rate to become more favourable. But many people are converting their old European currency accounts to euros or using the last chance to get rid of the cash they've kept hidden in the mattress, Lidove noviny says.

Pravo interviews the winner of the Christmas Comet lottery. According to the lottery company's spokeswoman the winner - who comes from a small village near Ostrava - arrived in Prague to collect the prize of 100 million crowns in the company of his mother, brother, three friends and a bodyguard.

Five friends from a small family company had put money in to buy the lottery ticket and they are now going to split the prize fairly. They plan to build themselves new houses, invest in their company and make a donation to a children's charity. But first they're planning to go somewhere exotic on holiday together, Pravo says.

And more from the same paper: Pravo warns that the Czech Republic is in for more severe weather. The temperature on Friday will range from minus six to minus 10 during the day but at night it could drop to minus twenty degrees Celsius in some places. Poor old dogs!