Press Review

Today's PRAVO writes that prior to his planned visit to the Vatican on Sunday, Prime Minister Milos Zeman has tried to spruce up his image in the lead up to talks with the Pope. Mr. Zeman is prepared to discuss steps leading to returning agricultural land and forests, confiscated by the communists in the 1950s, back to the Church. The Prime Minister has informed the Catholic Church of his move, and church representatives have accepted his proposal with satisfaction, the paper says. But as Minister of Culture Pavel Dostal told the paper, the confiscated property would be not be returned directly to churches, but to the so-called church fund, established specially for this purpose. This fund would associate all of the churches in the Czech Republic, including the Czech Jewish community, concludes PRAVO.

"Interior Minister Gross considers the prohibition of dangerous dogs," reads the title of an article on the front page of LIDOVE NOVINY. The paper writes that this breeders' hobby might be restricted in the near future. The latest case, in which a pitbull bit a one-year-old baby in the village of Milovice in Central Bohemia last week, has opened a nationwide debate among politicians and the public alike as to whether the breeding of dangerous dogs should be prohibited altogether. But Interior Minister Stanislav Gross said his ministry does not want to make mistakes, which is why his people intend to consult dog experts. Dog breeders oppose the measure, saying that it's difficult to distinguish which breeds should be marked as dangerous and which shouldn't, and so this will be the subject of heated debates in the future, concludes the paper.

Today's SLOVO features an article about employees in the Dukovany nuclear power plant in South Moravia inviting Austrian anti-nuclear activists for an tour of the site. The paper notes that by doing so the plant is trying to enhance its good reputation, in the wake of massive Austrian protests against the recent launch of the second nuclear power plant in the country, Temelin. Some 200 citizens of Upper Austria are expected in Dukovany this coming Saturday, to be taken around all areas accessible during the plant's operation. The first informal contacts with the Austrian side started in 1998.

And finally, MLADA FRONTA DNES takes its readers to the village of Sloup near the South Moravian capital of Brno. Sloup has won the title "the village of the year 2000." The paper says that its inhabitants have been enormously delighted with the news, as their village is a relatively small one, with one elementary school and a small, recently renovated square. Sloup's mayor, Josef Mikulasek, hurried with the great news first to the parsonage, and together with the local parson they went to church to kneel in front of the altar. All the bells in the local church were ringing. People gathered on the village green and everybody was happy that their dream had come true. "We secretly hoped that our village would at least receive some kind of distinction. It deserves it, even if only because of the Baroque church, which is an exceptionally beautiful building," the mayor told MLADA FRONTA DNES.