Press Review

Today, all the national newspapers feature on their front pages two series of photos - the French football team celebrating victory at Euro 2000, and snaps from the Sokol rally - a mass sporting event that took place over the weekend in Prague. But the summer holidays officially started at the weekend and this is reflected in the papers, which are mostly full of light-hearted stories.

LIDOVE NOVINY ponders over the fact that many young Czech politicians have succeeded in avoiding their national service. For instance Minister without Portfolio Karel Brezina, says the paper, has not done his military service, as he managed to obtain the infamous 'blue book' - a certificate from his doctor saying his health was too poor to serve in the army. Mr. Brezina won't say what health problem he's suffering from. But he's not the only one to avoid his compulsory military service - many young MPs did the same. For instance 31-year-old Marek Benda, a Civic Democrat MP in the lower house, explained that at the beginning of his political career he still was a university student and his national service was postponed because of his work in parliament. As for Minister Brezina, he says he's not going to make his health certificate public, reports LIDOVE NOVINY.

Under the title "Zeman tells Austrians Temelin is none of their business", today's PRAVO reports on Sunday's televised debate, during which Prime Minister Milos Zeman emphatically rejected Austria's demand to be involved in the final discussion on the launch of the Temelin nuclear power plant in South Bohemia. Mr Zeman explained that he had received many letters, some of them not even expressing the official Austrian stance, which categorically demands that Temelin should not be started up. "I always answer that it's none of their business and that they have no right to demand this," Mr Zeman explained. His political rival, Karel Kuehnl from the opposition Freedom Union, agreed with the prime minister this time, reports the paper. It quotes Kuehnl as saying that it would be ridiculous if a foreign country had a decisive say on whether Temelin should start operating or not.

What happens to a person who owes and refuses to pay back millions of crowns and has been removed from the board of several companies? In the Czech Republic, he ends up with a senior government post, replies MLADA FRONTA DNES on its front page. Zdenek Munzar, who also avoided confiscation of his property by transferring it to his relatives, works as a ministerial advisor at the Ministry for Regional Development. It seems, though, that Minister Petr Lachnit is unconcerned. "He doesn't advise me on how to liquidate companies," the minister said. As for Mr. Munzar himself, he told the paper: "I'm not going to communicate via the media. I have nothing more to say," he told MLADA FRONTA DNES. The greatest irony is that Mr. Zeman's Cabinet promised to clean up government and the economic sphere.