Press Review

The front pages of Czech daily newspapers today are dominated by photographs of Ossama bin Laden, Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman, and the Czech national football team's defeat by Belgium. While the world's number one terrorist admits responsibility for the September attacks on the United States and claims he possesses nuclear weapons, Mr. Zeman is depicted as having a friendly chat over a pint of beer during his visit to the United States. And as far as football is concerned, most papers carry a photograph of a referee showing a red card to defender Tomas Repka.

Lidove noviny leads with information about the upcoming annual EU report on the preparedness of membership candidates. The essence of the document, which is to be officially published on Tuesday, can be summarized in one sentence, according to Lidove noviny: "You have been doing well but there is still much to improve."

In its editorial, Pravo evaluates Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman's visit to the United States. He held some important political and business talks but he also made some rather unfortunate remarks. Overall, Pravo concludes, Mr. Zeman managed to achieve the most important goal, that is to make his small country more visible.

Today's Mlada fronta Dnes reports on the case of former communist agent Pavel Minarik who has been charged with planning a terrorist attack on the headquarters of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Munich in the 1970's. The investigation which has been dragging on for almost ten years now seems to be coming to a successful end. Mlada fronta Dnes quotes a state attorney who foresees Minarik appearing in court by the middle of next year.

Back to Lidove noviny, and the newspaper comments on the renewed tradition of Veteran's Day in the Czech Republic. It was celebrated on Sunday for the first time after fifty years. The minister of defence asked Czechs to think about whether they would be able to fight for their country.

In Lidove noviny's opinion, the whole celebration of the Veterans Day was somewhat of a mockery, considering that the Czech Republic was not able to provide any special health care to its Gulf War veterans who suffer from the Gulf War syndrome.

The Prague daily Prazske Slovo reports that many people have abandoned natural gas and have returned to heating with black coal which is cheaper. The unexpected demand for black coal from individuals have led to an increase in prices and a temporary shortage on the market. Prazske Slovo points out that this trend continues despite the fact that small-scale solid fuel heating enormously pollutes the air.