Press Review

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Temelin kick starts its, hopely, useful life, Czechs believe that drunken driving is a greater offence than adultery, and exactly how safe is flying? This and more in a review of Friday's Czech papers. This time with Libor Kubik.

Today's PRAVO reports that the controversial Temelin nuclear power plant in south Bohemia could be launched as early as between the 10th and 15th of September. The paper quoted the project's co-ordinator, Frantisek Hezoucky, as saying that very much would depend on the outcome of the current hot testing programme to check the system's behaviour under operating pressure. PRAVO notes that the situation may change any minute and that, with all tests completed, the National Nuclear Safety Office will also need some time to evaluate the outcomes.

LIDOVE NOVINY today centres on a very interesting public survey, run by the IVVM polling agency to find out what's morally acceptable behaviour for Czechs. The results are not very encouraging although, like all other polls, they should be taken with more than a pinch of salt, notes a prominent publicist, Ivan Hoffman. It shows that Czechs have changed their attitudes over the past decade. Homicide in self-defence or stealing food if you are hungry, that's tolerable. Smoking pot and drinking and driving are despicable things to do. However, getting drunk out of joy is perfectly tolerable. So are divorce and euthanasia, both of which are more acceptable for Czechs than adultery, living on the dole or fighting with the police. And, taking bribes is less tolerable in the eyes of the public than keeping someone else's lost money.

CESKE SLOVO admits that although the incumbent Social Democrat government is seldom worthy of unrestrained praise, it has scored important points this time. The talk is about releasing another almost 380 million crowns in one-off compensation for those who, more than half a century ago, fought abroad against Nazism and for the freedom of their country. That is, those who were repeatedly risking their lives in the cockpits of RAF planes, who endured the searing heat of the Libyan Desert at Tobruk, confronting Rommel's panzer divisions, those who were cannon fodder in the Dukla Pass. The paper notes that apart from financial compensation, the Czech state still owes very much to these people and their loved ones in terms of apology. For they had to wait for one since the collapse of communism nearly 11 years ago.

Flying is still very much safer than driving, maintains MLADA FRONTA DNES in the wake of two major aviation disasters that occurred recently--the crash of an Air France Concorde in Paris a few weeks ago and this week's tragedy of a GulfAir Airbus off the coasts of Bahrain. In spite of the grisly death toll, over 250 lives lost, the paper points out that flying is, paradoxically, the safest of all known means of transportation. Statistics may be chilling: because of the growing number of flights and a constant safety factor, simple arithmetic reveals that in the year 2010, one big airliner will crash every week. However, considering that each year, about one thousand people die in air disasters but the number of passengers flown exceeds one and a half billion, the airlines' safety record is still quite disproportionately high compared to driving.

And finally, HOSPODARSKE NOVINY notes the collapse of Iridium, the satellite system for mobile telephones. Once considered a triumph of state-of-the-art technologies, Project Iridium has no chance to survive and satellite systems, designed to help people call to and from even the remotest part of the globe, will plummet to earth in flames, just like Motorola's shares have. Billions of dollars will burn in the atmosphere because of what experts have described as bad marketing strategy, concludes HOSPODARSKE NOVINY.

Author: Libor Kubík
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