Press Review

The papers feature a wide variety of stories today - political, economic, crime and health matters. According to statistics the Czech state is becoming more successful in tackling economic crime; however, one aspect still remains to be addressed, and that is compensation for the victims, Mlada fronta Dnes notes.

Only a tiny fraction of stolen money or property is ever tracked down and returned to the victim of the crime. The Czech judicial system stops with punishing the perpetrator but the victims have no guarantee of compensation. The Czech Police President Jiri Kolar told Mlada fronta Dnes new legislation is needed if the situation is to improve.

The owner of the largest Czech travel agency, Fischer, is considering his resigning, the economic daily Hospodarske noviny reports. Vaclav Fischer - who is also an independent senator - wants to sell off a substantial minority stake in his travel agency to a foreign investor and he told the daily that he thinks political pressure has a negative influence on his business.

Mr. Fischer denies speculation about his travel agency's financial difficulties - as reported in Tuesday issue of the popular daily 'Super'. The paper is thought to be closely connected with the opposition Civic Democrats.

On its front page Lidove noviny carries a report on devitalization, the controversial anti-cancer surgical technique developed in the Czech Republic. The technique underwent several clinical trials recently but tests were abandoned and the treatment was outlawed by the Czech Health Ministry.

Devitalization remains unavailable as a form of cancer treatment to Czech patients. Specialists working for the Czech Patients' Association are now preparing protocols for new clinical trials as they feel the government should not close the door to this treatment option, Lidove noviny reports.

Pravo reports on the case of the former British BBC DJ Chris Denning who served a three-and-a-half year sentence in Prague for a series of child sex offences, and was released on Tuesday. Mr. Denning was originally due to be released and expelled from the Czech Republic in June but owing to Britain's extradition request was kept in custody until Tuesday's court ruling.

The court in Prague ruled that the extradition was unacceptable because the charges for which Mr. Denning was wanted are beyond the five-year statute of limitation in the Czech Republic. Some of the acts are alleged to have taken place more than 20 years ago. Mr. Denning was ordered to leave the Czech Republic within 10 days, in line with his original sentence.

Mlada fronta Dnes adds some figures to a report released on Tuesday by the U.S. National Cancer Institute. The reports confirms the suspicion that cigarettes marketed as "light" or "low-tar" by tobacco companies have offered smokers only an illusion of reduced health risks while leaving unabated the death toll caused by the habit.

The Czech Republic's yearly consumption is 20 billion cigarettes and smoking-related diseases kill 23 thousand people every year. Nine out of 10 cancer cases are caused by smoking, as are most cases of chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Tar is the substance blamed for those diseases.

Hospodarske noviny comments on the controversial hunting law passed by the lower house on Tuesday. According to nature conservationists and landowners, the hunting lobby was more powerful than common sense in the lawmaking process. Views differ on whether the law, allowing extensive leeway to hunters, is in tune with the European Union legislation.