Press Review

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Most of today's front pages feature the story of the Russian nuclear submarine which went down on Sunday in the Barents Sea. Zemske Noviny newspaper features a chart showing the worst Russian submarine accidents in the past, the most deadly being in 1968, when 70 Russian sailors lost their lives. This time there are 107 crewmembers trapped in the icy depths. Zemske Noviny points out that the submarine had no rescue capsules attached, which was probably due to the desperate state of the Russian armed forces. The only way out is to exit the submarine through a torpedo ramp and swim to the surface. But since the submarine is 100 to 150 metres below water, and the pressure difference has made escaping through the torpedo ramp impossible, the submarine will probably become a watery grave for the sailors, says the paper.

Today's Pravo says some cities are thinking of removing some of their pedestrian crossings. This is because of the new law of road traffic, which will give pedestrians absolute priority on crossings from January 1st. The Prague authorities say that if the final version of the law is passed, they might have remove some crossings in order to prevent traffic chaos. At some places the crossings are too close together and so there's no point in having them. According to the new law, pedestrians have to use a crossing if there's one within 50 meters, but should the number of crossings be reduced, there's no point in the law, because people will cross the streets wherever they want to, again exposing themselves to the danger of cars, says Pravo.

Lidove Noviny carries a picture of Social Democrat Stanislav Gross, one of the youngest politicians in the Czech Republic, next to a woman baring her bottom at him! "Now that was a party!" comments the paper, referring to a Social Democratic fundraiser which formed part of the election campaign. Stanislav Gross and Petra Buzkova are the major attractions of the Social Democrat campaign. According to Lidove Noviny, you can even win dinner with the two politicians in a prize draw. One lucky man will dine with Petra Buzkova, and one very lucky lady will spend an evening with Stanislav Gross.

And dinner with the Social Democrats is also the subject of a light-hearted essay in Lidove Noviny today. It describes the aforementioned dinner with Petra Buzkova, or to be more precise, what the dinner might look like from the point of the lucky man. Sitting in a fancy restaurant, table full of embroidered napkins and posh forks, and she'd let you call her Mrs Petra. If it was dinner with Prime Minster Zeman, writes the paper, it would be probably be in a local pub, eating pickled giblets and drinking beer. But what do you talk about with a female lawyer, if you know nothing about this new ombudsman bloke and so on? Well at least she's a pretty blonde, and the lads at work will be green with envy when you tell them the next day! says Lidove Noviny.

And finally, today Pravo features the story of Hungary's last prisoner of war, who has just returned from Russia. During the Second World War he fought on the German side and was thrown into a Russian prison when the war ended. There he was placed into psychiatric care a thousand miles from Moscow, in an isolated cell, because he was aggressive and didn't understend a word of Russian. Two years ago he was discovered by a Slovak psychiatrist who spoke some Hungarian. He notified the Hungarian embassy and they issued him with a new passport. When he arrived in Budapest, the doctors weren't sure whether he actually knew what was going on, but as soon as he said, "This is the capital," they knew he was well on the mend, says the paper.