Press Review

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The news that Prague and Vienna have basically agreed to disagree on the value of the Temelin nuclear power plant in South Bohemia came too late to inspire this morning's editorials. And so, most papers zero in today on two other leading stories: the resignation of Czech National Bank Governor Josef Tosovsky, and what went wrong in the Mirov maximum security prison, from which a dangerous contract killer escaped on Sunday and was apparently still at large on Wednesday morning.

MLADA FRONTA DNES believes that the murderer's daring jailbreak may have been assisted by a mobile phone, which prison guards found in his cell a couple of months ago. It was hidden in the spine of Mr Jiri Kajinek's Bible, apparently enabling him to get in touch with an outside accomplice and to neatly plan his escape. The paper says it has evidence that the mobile was provided to Kajinek by a bribed prison guard. In the cell of one of Mr Kajinek's fellow inmates, guards have found a diamond-encrusted string baked into a cake--a tool with which it is possible to cut through bars.

PRAVO compares Kajinek's story to that of a Czech national, identified only as Vlastimil N., whom a Yugoslav court has sentenced to death for killing four truck drivers in Serbia. The paper says both men are of the same age and both were hired to kill for profit. For Vlastimil N., this seems to be the end of the road, and he will hang unless a miracle happens. But the more famous of the two, Mr Kajinek, was convicted in a country which has abolished the death penalty. That's also why he was able to escape from prison. The paper is puzzled by the fact that three days after Kajinek's jailbreak, the prison's director is still in office and the chairperson of the National Prison Service hasn't even hinted she might step down. In a civilised society, heads roll from the top, it writes.

Central banker Josef Tosovsky bows out, but LIDOVE NOVINY says his move had long been expected. The governor himself indicated a few months ago that he intended to leave, maybe for greener pastures. The nagging question was, would he want to revive his political ambitions, given that he has served for a couple of months as head of this country's interim government in 1998? The news that Mr. Tosovsky has been appointed as the chairman of the Financial Stability Institute for the prestigious Bank for International Settlements has ended all speculation, the paper notes.

PRAVO relates the story of publisher Michal Zitko, the man who is to stand trial for having released a Czech translation of Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf". The state prosecutor has charged Mr Zitko with supporting and promoting a movement that aimed to suppress civil rights and liberties. The paper says that if convicted, Zitko could face up to eight years in prison. But Mr Zitko argues that the case against him has been political from the outset and that, if need be, he will go to the International Court in Strasbourg, which has acquitted at least one defendant in a similar case. PRAVO notes that the release of the "Bible of Nazism" last March caused shock and outrage among politicians and World War Two veterans.

And finally, Britain's Prince Charles is a man with a wide variety of interests, ranging from architecture and history, to ecological farming. ZEMSKE NOVINY writes that the Crown Prince grows organic food the natural way on his many properties. And on Tuesday, the Prince paid a visit to the company Dr. Stuart's Botannicus near the Central Bohemian town of Lysa nad Labem, which produces and sells herbal soap, spices, essential oils, herbal tea and other environmentally safe products. Prince Charles, wearing a red poppy flower in his buttonhole to mark Remembrance Day, liked the pleasant scent of a variety of herbal soaps, saying that artificial smells cause a headache, no matter how intricate their chemical formula is. The Prince was in the Czech Republic these past few days on a visit at the invitation of President Vaclav Havel, the paper says, with whom he runs a foundation for the preservation of unique architecture in Central Europe.