Press Review

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All the papers today carry extensive information on the latest developments at the country's public television network, Czech Television, whose General Director, Dusan Chmelicek, was sacked last week after less than a year in the job. MLADA FRONTA DNES claims the difficult process of choosing a new General Director is now in the hands of the two strongest political parties - the ruling Social Democrats and the 'opposition' Civic Democrats, who are bound together by a power-sharing pact.

Although it's the supervisory board of Czech Television which will choose a new director, negotiations are underway between the two parties to increase their power over the nation's public service broadcasting, says the paper.

The Social Democrats discussed the matter at an unscheduled meeting on Friday, which MLADA FRONTA DNES says is clear proof of political interference. And the Chairman of the supervisory board, Miroslav Mares, who was nominated by the Civic Democrats, confessed to the paper that he'd been receiving more calls from politicians recently. What 's even more surprising is the fact that the board intends to appoint a new General Director in record time - by the end of the year, writes MLADA FRONTA DNES.

PRAVO reports on Monday's meeting between the leader of the country's biggest trade union organisation, Richard Falbr, and the new Governor of the Czech National Bank, Zdenek Tuma. The two men discussed wage increases in the Czech Republic planned for next year, but they're far from united on how rapidly wages should rise, writes PRAVO. While the trade unions are proposing a rise of 10 percent, the central bank would like to see just a 7 to 8 percent increase.

The only exception, according to the bank, might be companies with high labour productivity. But when asked by PRAVO if he would retreat from his demands, Mr Falbr replied - 'No, but I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the difference between our proposals was just 2 percent.'

"Schools stop serving beef in school canteens," writes LIDOVE NOVINY on its front page. Parents of children who have lunch at school have been exerting pressure on headmasters to take beef off the menu. In some schools beef has been eliminated altogether, in others, parents are insisting their kids should be able to choose. The Ministry of Education has given a lukewarm welcome to the proposal, but says the school health authorities should decide. "We don't want to interfere," a ministry official told LIDOVE NOVINY.

Today's CESKÉ SLOVO features a photo of a blind teenager touching a bust of emperor Charles IV. The paper reports on a permanent exhibition in St. Agnes convent, newly opened by Prague's National Gallery. Part of the exhibition has been adapted for the blind, who can experience the exhibits by touch. Sculptures and busts documenting changes in styles from the Romanesque times to the late Gothic period were chosen specially for blind visitors to the convent.