Press Review

All the major Czech newspapers cover the panic which is sweeping through the Czech Republic regarding possible Anthrax contaminated mail. Though an Anthrax outbreak in the Czech Republic does not seem likely, Pravo reports that 31 people in the United States have contracted this deadly bacteria from tainted mail.

Prazske slovo covers the same story in more detail. Its front page carries a colour photo of a bacteriologist holding a laboratory petri dish growing an unidentified organism - "anthrax or not?" - reads the caption. The accompanying article reports of two envelopes mailed on September 9th and addressed to an NBC news employee and a US senator which reached their destinations and did in fact carry anthrax. The highly toxic strain infected 31 people and caused the Senate to close down. The same strain was found on both the tainted packages, it was highly toxic and very pure - it is believed that it could have only been produced in a laboratory.

As far as anthrax scares in the Czech Republic are concerned, all the papers report the arrest of two suspects who sent out fake contaminated letters. While one of them is an eleven year old girl who allegedly distributed powder sugar in suspicious-looking letters, the other man is believed to have mailed dozens of letters containing threats which the police declined to specify.

"Woman sold her children" reads the headline on Mlada fronta Dnes' front page. The paper writes that Prague police have charged two women with carrying out a trade in babies. One is a Ukrainian woman who gave birth to two children and then sold them to families who desperately wanted children of their own.

Her accomplice, according to Mlada fronta Dnes, is a nurse from the Faculty Hospital in Prague -Motol, who helped her with the dubious transaction using the guise of a fake adoption. And how much does a child cost? the paper asks - it appears that the first child sold for 800 USD and the second for more than 1200 USD.

Hospodarske noviny writes that the Czech Ministry of Trade and Industry wants to stop imports of what it calls "dirty electricity" from Poland and Eastern Europe. As of January, importers of electricity into the Czech Republic will have to prove that the power was generated in power stations that do not exceed permitted emission levels.

Last year, the Czech Republic imported nearly two million megawatt-hours, which is 4 percent of the nation's total consumption, from a Polish utility provider. Experts say that prevention of these "dirty" imports should not affect the price of electricity in any way. Hospodarske noviny writes that the Czech power utility company CEZ will be offering such cheap electricity next year that there will be no need for imports.

On a lighter note, Lidove noviny reports that due to vandalism, forest wardens in the north-eastern city of Ostrava want to prohibit entry into forests or at least only admit people to certain areas. They state that to plant just one hectare of saplings costs 50 000 crowns or more, and one person on an all-terrain motorbike can destroy it in minutes.

Author: Nicole Klement
run audio