Press Review

All of today's front pages carry reports about the United States asking the Czech Republic to provide an anti-chemical unit for the campaign it is leading against terrorism. Mlada fronta Dnes writes that the chance of Czech soldiers seeing action is high, while Lidove noviny features a photo of two Czech soldiers with the caption - "waiting for orders."

The mystery as to why an anti-tank missile launcher was found near a runway at Prague's Ruzyne airport may have been cleared up. The missile launcher was intended for use in an attack on an Israeli passenger plane, Pravo writes, quoting what it calls a well informed source.

The missile launcher was found by chance on October 18, two days after Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres flew out of the airport. Experts agree, however, that while the target may have been an Israeli plane, Peres was not the intended victim, says Pravo.

At the beginning of this year the law was changed to give pedestrians automatic right of way at zebra crossings. Prazske Slovo, however, quotes what it calls a 'grim statistic' - while four people were killed at zebra crossings in the first nine months of last year, in the same period this year some 17 pedestrians died at zebra crossings.

Transport police director Zdenek Bambas told the daily that the pedestrians are often at fault, while other police sources said that drivers are simply not following the new law. Psychologist Karel Humbal said that Czech drivers are more reckless than those in other countries.

While the Czech Republic's universities have recently been up in arms, demanding that the government deliver the funding it has promised them, the universities themselves have poor financial management, Prazske Slovo writes.

The Supreme Audit Office examined the books at six of the country's 23 universities at the end of September and found that they had spent tens of millions of crowns in an illegal manner in the years 1999 and 2000, says the daily. The universities sometimes use the funds they have received for certain purposes to completely different ends. Furthermore, several of them have not imposed fines for breach of contract when they could have; the university in Olomouc, north Moravia, has lost some 700,000 crowns - around 19,000 US dollars - in this way, says Prazske Slovo.

As the date when the Czech Republic joins the EU gets closer, Prague is considering imposing visa requirements on their former countrymen, the Slovaks, writes Mlada fronta Dnes. Slovaks would not need a visa to enter the Czech Republic but if they wanted to stay more than 90 days then they would need one, according to a treaty being prepared by the Czech Foreign Ministry. If the proposal becomes reality, it will not have an adverse affect on Czech- Slovak relations, a ministry spokesperson told the daily.

The Prague section of Mlada fronta Dnes reports on the fact that if you call the Prague police in an emergency you could be waiting hours for them to arrive. One motorist who had just been involved in a crash said that he and the other driver had been waiting an hour and there was still no sign of the police. Meanwhile, he told the daily, the traffic had been blocked needlessly. A police spokesperson defended the force by saying the number of officers in the city was less than ideal and that the police were called out several times a day by hoaxers, writes the paper.

A man in the north Moravian mining town of Havirov has been given a two-year suspended jail sentence by the local court following an incident in which his dog - a Staffordshire terrier - attacked and seriously injured a four year-old girl, Mlada fronta Dnes reports. The dog-owner also has to pay medical costs for the girl - who was bitten in the face and requires plastic surgery - for five years.

Mlada fronta Dnes's sports section carries a colour photograph of an ecstatic Jan Nezmar. The Liberec football player came on as a substitute and scored twice - his first after only a minute on the pitch and his second in the last minute of normal time - to help his team overcome a 3:1 deficit from the first round to knock Spain's Celta Vigo out of the UEFA cup by beating them 3:0. The accompanying headline - "Shock - Liberec go through".