Press Review

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Well of course all of today's papers report on the past weekend's senatorial elections and analysis of the unexpected results, but what really catch the reader's eye this morning are images from polling stations and pictures of senatorial candidates waiting in anticipation. MLADA FRONTA DNES features a whole bunch of election photos, starting with a member of the election commission in the Prague 2 district studying a Spanish textbook in a totally deserted polling station. Another picture features would-be senators from the victorious Four Party Coalition, clapping their hands and cracking open a bottle of champagne, while the front page of today's ZEMSKE NOVINY is dominated by a huge photograph featuring the present Senate chairwoman, Libuse Benesova from the Civic Democratic Party, fighting back tears after having learned she had lost her seat--and probably her chair--to a Four Party Coalition rival.

But away from the elections now, and MLADA FRONTA DNES reports on a technical failure over the weekend at the controversial Temelin nuclear power station in southern Bohemia. The control system automatically shut down the reactor, although no breakdown occurred during tests of the plant. Temelin director Frantisek Hezoucky explained that one of the protection systems had made a mistake, while the Nuclear Safety Authority's spokesman told the paper that such errors might happen, and that's exactly why the plant is being tested. But Austrian anti-nuclear activists see the failure as just more proof that Temelin isn't safe enough; they want the whole plant to be shut down immediately.

"Greenpeace wins battle over harmful PVC toys," reads a headline in today's LIDOVE NOVINY. The paper writes that while the sale of toys made of softened PVC will be banned in the Czech Republic as of next year, Czech Greenpeace has scored another success by forcing the biggest Czech department stores, including Tesco, to withdraw the plastic toys from their counters before Christmas. The toys are dangerous to babies' health, as chewing them can cause kidney, liver and fertility problems. "We didn't expect it to go so easily, and we are happy that in Tesco's case, the whole network, not only one store, has agreed to withdraw the dangerous toys," a Greenpeace activist told LIDOVE NOVINY.

ZEMSKE NOVINY reports on the first snowfall in Bohemia. Although the popular weather saying says, "Saint Martin arrives on a white horse," and St. Martin's day in the Czech Republic is on November 11th, the first snow in the Krusne Mountains appeared only this past weekend. Nevertheless, North Bohemian road-keepers have already started working hard, as there were many cars slipping off the icy roads. Well, winter has arrived, and drivers are warned not to set out on any mountain journeys without winter chains on their tyres.