Press Review

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Most of today's papers continue to cover the U.S. military operations in Afghanistan. On the home front, however, the photo of Czech singer, Lucie Bila, who won in two categories of the Cesky Slavik music awards which were underway in Prague on Saturday, dominates the papers.

Pravo's Tomas Loskot comments on the tenth anniversary of the Maastricht Treaty, which he says marked the beginning of the real political and economic integration of European states. No matter how painful the treaty's birth was, its economic success is undeniable and palpable. Loskot says that for some people the word 'Maastricht' raises hope but it gives others the creeps. He concludes that it will not be before the treaty's twentieth anniversary that the Old Continent will be able to fully appreciate its positive impact in a more mature and less emotional way.

Mlada fronta Dnes comments on Monday's session of the Czech Cabinet, during which it is to decide on the purchase of Supersonic jets. The paper's Martin Komarek writes that the decision is not an easy one as the reasons why the country needs the jests are just as good as why the country can't but them. In the arguments for the purchase, Mr Komarek points to Afghanistan and says that a modern war cannot be won without Supersonic jets.

Mr Komarek adds that those who do not think that the Czech Republic would enter into war should think again and look at what happened in New York. We live at a time when the unimaginable can become reality, he says, and notes that an army without Supersonic jets would be less valuable.

According to Mr Komarek, the arguments against the purchase lies in the public tender for companies from whom the jets would be bought. The tender, he says, was a rather suspicious one. Three contestants withdrew as there appeared to have been a favourite all along - the British-Swedish consortium, Bae/Saab. The chances of getting their jets at a price that is affordable is highly unlikely. He adds that the belief that the Gripen manufacturers would help the Czech economy is just an illusion. Komarek concludes that a new public tender should be held, and the decision-making and purchase should be left up to next year's newly elected government.

Prazske Slovo reports on SMS messages becoming a popular form of advertising. Operators say that there is nothing that can be done to prevent companies from sending text messages to millions of mobile phone users advertising their services. The paper says that all of the main mobile phone operators have admitted that the misuse of their database was possible.

The paper advises victims of mass advertising to take the following steps - the operator can be requested to block all messages sent from the internet, while making a call one can switch off the option of having the personal telephone number displayed on the screen of the other person on the line, and when filling out commercial questionnaires, the personal telephone number can be left out. Since most of these text messages are sent through the internet, operators have blocked the possibility of sending SMS's through the internet to a lot of people at the same time.

Lidove noviny writes that it does not expect the fight over the Temelin nuclear power plant to come to an end. The paper's Marek Kerles deduces this from a recent resolution passed by the Austrian cabinet. Kerles says that just 14 days after Prague and Vienna signed an agreement on the plant, the Austrian Cabinet wants to reserve the right to intervene in the Czech Republic's EU accession, if Prague should fail to deal with Temelin the way Austria wants it to. Furthermore, the Czech National Office for Nuclear Safety has said that it was impossible to come to an agreement with the Austrian government's experts over the plant's safety.

Does a compromise solution exist that would suit both sides, Kerles asks and replies with 'no'. He compares the situation to a person opening up a pub, despite the disapproval of his neighbours. Whenever the pub's opening hours exceed the official time, the neighbour calls the police and may sometimes even send a complaint to the Financial Bureau. If the Czech Republic prefers to take the chance of a never ending neighbourly dispute, then Temelin must be worth a gold mine, Kerles concludes.