Press Review

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Austria may be fiercely anti-nuclear and its opposition to the Czech nuclear power station at Temelin seems unshakeable. But according to MLADA FRONTA DNES, that hasn't prevented a partially-state-owned Austrian firm, VA Technologie, from accepting billion-schilling orders for the controversial Czech plant. The paper writes that the Austrian firm owns 83 percent of the Czech company EZ Praha, one of the ten leading technology suppliers to the Temelin project. The Czech firm supplies the nuclear plant with special heatproof cables and other equipment and Austrian officials sitting on its board of directors see nothing unusual about the firm's obviously counter-government policy. The paper describes VA Technologie as one of the biggest Austrian firms with annual sales of more than three billion euros.

On the domestic political scene, LIDOVE NOVINY reports that three years ago the country's biggest commercial television channel, TV Nova, hired American detectives to probe into foreign bank accounts and property belonging to Civic Democratic Party leader Vaclav Klaus. The paper says TV Nova paid 150,000 dollars to the renowned U.S. detective agency Due Diligence Security Group to carry out the job. LIDOVE NOVINY claims to have seen a confidential business agreement between the agency and Nova director Vladimir Zelezny. DDSG detectives were asked to search for hidden Swiss property and bank accounts belonging to Mr Klaus, his family and senior party officials. Nova had earlier reported that Klaus owned a luxury villa in Switzerland but couldn't produce any evidence to support its claim. Mr Klaus immediately sued but both sides reached a settlement out of court.

And staying with television and the outspoken Vaclav Klaus, he and several senior members of his party have complained to the management of the Czech Republic's public TV network about its coverage of what they claimed was a vitally important Civic Democrat congress in Plzen last weekend. MLADA FRONTA DNES says the party was furious because Czech Television cameras were not rolling during Mr Klaus's keynote speech. The management has reportedly ordered an investigation. A Czech Television source who did not wish to be named told MLADA FRONTA DNES that the party had described the omission as yet another sign of the media boycott of the main opposition party.

But the Civic Democrats are not the only party accused of arrogant behaviour. ZEMSKE NOVINY relates the story of the Social Democratic member of parliament involved in an incident with police officers on Saturday in the West Bohemian town of Rakovnik. Vaclav Picl, police say, hurled abuse at officers after they refused to let him into the police station where he says he wanted to lodge an unspecified complaint. Mr Picl was apparently under the impression that he was being stalked by hooligans while returning home from a private party. The Rakovnik police chief, Vaclav Kadar, said later that the Social Democrat mumbled an apology the next day, and his colleagues in parliament believe there's no need for him to be stripped of his immunity. But a police officer who withheld his name told ZEMSKE NOVINY that Mr Picl, in a drunken rage, kicked doors, called those present various unsavoury names and made several threats to use his parliamentary authority to have the uncooperative coppers disciplined.