Press Review

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Today all Czech newspapers look back at this week's session of the IMF and World Bank in Prague, and also at the vandalism in Prague's streets which resulted in tens of millions of crowns of damage. Alena Skodova and Pavla Navratilova join me in the studio for today's Press Review.

Lidove noviny carries a thought-provoking analysis about the myths and the reality behind what happened in Prague over this past week. The first myth, says the paper, was that it was unorganized radicals who initiated the violence in downtown Prague on Tuesday night. The reality, according to the paper, was that people who headed the procession were extremely well organized. They kept in contact with each other via mobile phone and carried maps of the city. It is believed that they also carried bags of cobblestones and wooden sticks. The second myth was that it was mostly foreign anti-globalization protesters who were fighting in Prague's streets. The reality was that the police detained 859 activists, but only 330 of them were foreigners. And the third myth Lidove noviny disproves regards the perfection of the police operation. All we've heard this week has been praise and more praise for the police: have we forgotten that they were unable to prevent the smashing of shop windows or breaking into shops and restaurants? asks the paper.

Staying with the IMF/World Bank session, today's Pravo reports on the protests outside the Czech embassies in Spain and Belgium. Some 50 anti-globalization protesters gathered outside the Czech consulate in Barcelona on Thursday, Pravo reports, and 15 of them later broke in. They demanded that their colleagues detained in Prague be released. According to the paper, the same happened in Brussels but local police prevented the demonstrators from entering the building. As already reported, there are more than 300 foreign anti-globalization activists waiting for interrogation in Czech police cells.

Mlada Fronta Dnes continues the much-discussed issue of the controversial Temelin nuclear power station, which is just a few weeks away from being launched in southern Bohemia. Despite massive protests, primarily by Austrian anti-nuclear activists, European Union Commissioner for Enlargement Gunter Verheugen has said in Vienna that this matter cannot be considered by the EU during their negotiations on the Czech Republic's accession into the Union. Mlada fronta DNES quotes Verheugen as saying that all he could do was recommend the Czech Cabinet pays more attention to Austrian fears.

And finally, Slovo reports that the coalition of four center-right parties, the Freedom Union, the Christian Democrats, the Civic Democratic Alliance and the Democratic Union, has signed an agreement agreeing to fight the 2002 elections together. The paper says that the coalition has promised to choose a candidate for the post of prime minister by the end of next January. The four parties' representatives have also agreed that they would comply to the agreement even if they were not successful in the upcoming senatorial elections scheduled for November, reports Slovo.

Authors: Pavla Navrátilová , Alena Škodová
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