Press Review

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The smiling face of the Czech ambassador to Great Britain, who caused something of a media storm yesterday with his reported intention to become a part-time window cleaner at London's Canary Wharf, graces the front pages of all the Czech papers. And they all clear up a slight misunderstanding; the ambassador says the window cleaning stunt was intended as a charity event, not a part-time job.

Still, anyone leafing through today's papers might be excused for thinking that Czech politicians have an obsession for scaling giddy heights. The deputy mayor of Brno, Milan Simanovsky, is pictured scaling the side of a building on Brno's main square. He too was snapped in the process of spraying detergent, but unlike the ambassador he's not a closet window cleaner. As Slovo explains, the deputy mayor was just showing voters in the forthcoming local elections how effectively he could rid their city of graffiti.

The British human-embryo-cloning project naturally commands a great deal of attention. In its science and technology section, Zemske Noviny gives cautious support for the project by publishing an article on the long waiting lists for organ donations in the Czech Republic. Our surgical teams perform around four hundred liver transplants a year, but there are nine hundred people on the waiting list, the paper says.

On the other hand, there's an angry reaction from Martin Zverina in today's Lidove Noviny. He compared future hospitals to "garages for human spare parts" where people will come in to be serviced, just as they bring the car in for its annual check-up. Zverina insists that he for one does not want to live in the "beautiful new world" doctors are planning to create for us.

Who does the housework in your family? According to a public opinion survey, 66% of Czechs believe in the traditional male-female division of labour. An even higher number, 79%, believe that women should be solely responsible for the cooking. As for who should bring up the kids, 50% of respondents said the mother, 49% said both parents while only 1% of those asked would entrust this responsibility to the father alone. Statistics show that as compared to 1998 women have taken on greater responsibility for child care, housework and shopping. Apparently this has to do with increased pressure on family finances and the fact that unemployment has hit women harder.

On the subject of unemployment, Lidove Noviny reports that one of the reasons for the relatively high unemployment rate is the Czechs' low mobility and general unwillingness to leave their home, friends and relatives and accept a job which would mean starting again somewhere else. Faced with a choice, they are more inclined to commute, and in an effort to encourage this, the Labour Ministry is considering a plan to subsidize transport costs for those who take the leap. According to the proposal, which the government has yet to debate, those willing to commute longer distances would receive a thousand-crown monthly bonus from the state.

And finally Slovo carries the story of the New York baby whose parents picked his name off an Internet site. The boy has been christened IUMA, in honour of the Internet Underground Music Archive. Hopefully, he'll develop a sound sense of humor.