Press Review

Today's PRAVO carries a report on a protest on Saturday which was staged by Austrian anti-nuclear activists at the Czech-Austrian border crossing of Wullowitz - Dolni Dvoriste. Protesting against the launch of the Temelin nuclear power plant in South Bohemia, the Austrians organized an hour-long fire show and carried banners reading "Temelin - don't play with fire". The spokesman of an Austrian anti-nuclear movement, Josef Puhringer, said that his people would travel in several buses to the city of Brno to show support for Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel during his planned talks with Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman. The Austrian activists told PRAVO that in the event that Temelin would not be stopped, they would blockade all Czech-Austrian border crossings in southern Bohemia.

"Czechs defend their taxes and oppose NATO," reads the title of an article on the front page of MLADA FRONTA DNES. The paper carries the results of an international survey carried out in four post-communist countries--the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Lithuania. Czechs don't like tax evaders, the survey showed. Three quarters of those polled think that tax evaders should be imprisoned, and the majority of people agree with the present tax system in their country. This is really very rare, notes the paper, as most people in Poland and Hungary are all for the reduction of taxes they pay, even if the state didn't have a single penny. Czechs seem to have quite weird attitudes towards their country's economy; while most of them think that the Czech Republic's economic situation is bad and will get even worse, an equally large number consider themselves well off and hope their situation will improve in the near future, writes MLADA FRONTA DNES.

SLOVO carries an article about the punishment drug addicts face for possessing soft drugs and planned changes to drug laws. The paper writes that while at present people might be sent to jail for up to two years for keeping just twenty marijuana joints, in the future marijuana and other soft drugs should fall into a different criminal category than cocaine and heroin. The secretary of the Anti-Drug Commission, Josef Radimecky, told the paper that although his commission would not recommend that soft drugs be legalized, punishments for possessing and selling them should not be so severe in the coming years as they are now. He mentioned a case of an 18-year-old boy who was only saved from serving a prison sentence, which he received for distributing joints to his friends, by a presidential pardon.

And finally, today's LIDOVE NOVINY discusses a new trend in buying Christmas presents. A lot more people than ever before, some 33 percent, plan to buy their Christmas presents via installment payments. Companies offering this kind of purchase expect a growing number of customers, writes the paper. A representative of one of these companies told the paper that this does not just involve young people. "The middle generation is also a possible target group, and 4 percent of our customers are pensioners," he told the paper. The economic situation of many families has improved to such an extent that people are not afraid to live in debt any longer. In this respect we are a lot closer to the advanced West European countries, writes LIDOVE NOVINY.