Press Review

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One month to the day since the world changed forever - and the Czech papers are still full of the war against terrorism. A ray of light has broken through the clouds though - albeit a small and private one. Today's papers all carry snapshots of the quadruplets born to a twenty seven year old mother in Brno. All four are girls healthy and said to be doing well.

Their appearance on today's front pages makes a bizarre picture since the snapshots of the four newborns appear side by side with mug-shots of the worlds most wanted terrorists. " Twenty two men wanted by the United States" reads Lidove Noviny's Front page headline. The paper reports that there is a five million dollar price tag on their heads and removing their anonymity may well be the first step to spreading the terrorist hunt beyond Afghanistan's borders.

There's a lot of speculation as to when the expected ground-force operation in Afghanistan will be launched. Pravo, reports that US and British helicopters are due to go into action soon and that there may be some action on the ground this weekend.

Here in the Czech Republic, heightened security measures remain in place and there's a lot of concern about the vulnerable position of Radio Free Europe, which operates from a huge glass building in the city center. Although it is guarded around the clock by armored vehicles, soldiers and police, Pravo reports that the Czech and US governments have been negotiating the possibility of moving it to a safer location and one which can be better protected. Although there has been no official word yet -it seems that a move is imminent, says Pravo.

Mlada Fronta Dnes says that we Europeans should take care not to condemn Islam for the September 11th terrorist attacks and that we should make a clear distinction between Islam and its extremist proponents. We have our own extremists as well, the paper says.

Commentators agree that it would be much easier if there was a strong moral authority in the Islamic world capable of opposing the lies and half-truths that extremists are feeding to their populations. It would be far quicker and less painful if Islam could deal with its own extremists, the paper notes. Hospodarske Noviny echoes these sentiments, saying that although the eyes of the world are now focussed on Afghanistan, every country is fighting its own battle with terrorists.

Part of this battle was Wednesday's debate in Cabinet regarding who should be ultimately responsible for deciding whether or not a hijacked airliner, that is considered a public threat, should be shot down. This painful decision is to be the defense minister's - and his first words to journalists on the subject were - "I pray to God I never have to make it". Pravo says that the government must do everything in order to prevent things reaching that stage. Terrorists need to be stopped before it becomes a question of deciding to sacrifice several hundred lives in order to spare several thousand, the paper says.