Press Review

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All papers today carry the photographs and description of the dangerous contract killer, Jiri Kajinek, who on Sunday escaped from a maximum security prison where he was serving a life sentence for two murders and an attempted third. Also, the papers carry the photographs of Britain's Prince Charles, who arrived in Prague today at the invitation of President Vaclav Havel.

The main international topic is the apparent election victory of Ibrahim Rugova's Kosovo Democratic League in Kosovo's landmark local elections. On a related theme, MLADA FRONTA DNES notes that the Balkan bubble has burst and cautions that Prague's hasty moves to invite Yugoslavia's new President Vojislav Kostunica to the Czech Republic may indeed be premature. It is naive to expect bombed-out Serbia to quickly accept Prague's business offers, the paper says. The Czech government's enthusiasm for Mr Kostunica is in striking contrast to the cool and reserved treatment Prague is giving to Croatia's democrat, Stipe Mesic, writes MLADA FRONTA DNES.

Death live on TV--that's how LIDOVE NOVINY reacts to TV footage of 14-year-old British girl Zoe Jeffries, who died of a new variant of Creutzfeld-Jakob disease. Britain was hit by a deadly epidemic, and up to 140,000 people may be infected by Mad Cow disease, reports LIDOVE NOVINY's London correspondent in his front-page despatch.

On to something less pessimistic now. Who's richer, Czech players in the North American NHL or Czech political leaders at home? LIDOVE NOVINY prints a comparison chart from which it follows that both Jaromir Jagr and Dominik Hasek, the two most famous Czechs in the NHL, earned roughly 100 times last year more than President Vaclav Havel, 300 times more than Chamber of Deputies Chairman Vaclav Klaus, and about 2,000 times more than Czechs with an average income. The two Czech players have between themselves earned the equivalent of over three billion Czech crowns in the NHL. Pre-tax, of course. Now, this money would buy over 200 million beers in a decent Czech pub, 12,400 Skoda Felicia cars, 920 family houses in Prague's suburbia, or two large department stores the size of Prague's Kotva.

PRAVO and other papers relate the story of Czech actress Lida Baarova, who died in Salzburg on Friday at the age of 86. A bright film star in her native Czechoslovakia before the Second World War, she cut a few films in Germany and caught the fancy of none other than Nazi propaganda chief Josef Goebbels. PRAVO says Baarova was forced to leave Germany after Frau Goebbels complained to Adolf Hitler and the Fuehrer intervened. She went to live and work in Italy where she even co-starred in a film by Fellini.

And finally, CESKE SLOVO has a dispatch from the small village of Dolni Lukavice, the birthplace of the grandparents of the American astronaut James Lovell, commander of the doomed Apollo 13 on its dramatic but abortive mission to the Moon in 1970. The astronaut, who made four space flights, visited his ancestral country at the weekend and shared his memories with eight relatives who still live in Dolni Lukavice and an enthusiastic crowd of local residents. The mood was festive for it's not very often that an American astronaut pays a visit to the village. Escorted, to boot, by Vladimir Remek, Czechoslovakia's one and only cosmonaut, who flew on board a Soviet spaceship in 1978, the paper says.