Press Review

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No matter which paper Czechs chose to skim over their morning coffee today two stories are unlikely to have escaped their attention - the beating which the Czech national football team suffered at the hands of Iceland over the weekend and the beginning of the new school year.

"A shameful performance", "The Rejkyavik debacle" and "Koller's fatal error" read some of the headlines in today's papers. Although, thanks to a lucky break, the shaming defeat has not knocked the Czechs out just yet, the team's unexpectedly poor start has thrown a damper on fans' expectations, a mood further heightened by scathing words of criticism from the team's coach.

Koller has been mercilessly quizzed about what the papers describe as his " short-circuit reaction" and Pavel Nedved about his second yellow card in succession. Lidove noviny insists that the teams' coach Josef Chvanec should resign on the spot.

When all else fails Czech hockey players can always be relied on to lift the nation's spirits and sports commentators find some consolation in reporting on the fact that the Stanley Cup has once again arrived in the Czech Republic courtesy of Martin Skoula and Milan Hejduk.

The first day of the new school year always sparks a debate about the problems of the education sector and this year is no exception. A lack of finances and a lack of qualified teachers are at the forefront of media attention. Rather a paradox, says Lidove noviny, because universities educating future teachers are bursting at the seams.

However most graduates never make it to the classroom where they'd have to resign themselves to low salaries and increasingly aggressive and ill-mannered children. The state of our classrooms reflects the state of society - today's youngsters have more money and are more prone to violence than ever before, says the paper. Teachers complain that the number of parents who refuse to cooperate with schools to try and resolve these problems has significantly increased. A great many of them are too busy making money.

Mlada fronta Dnes has conducted a market survey and arrived at the conclusion that while most Czechs who take part in opinion polls claim they favour environmentally friendly products their actions suggest the exact opposite. Several large sales firms who took part in the market survey confirmed that environment-friendly labels do not boost their sales. The price is of sole importance, one salesman told the paper. Environment-friendly products are only considered if they are on par with or cheaper than other brands.

The papers have all run a column on the life and work of the world famous South African heart surgeon Christian Barnard who died of a heart attack in Cyprus over the weekend. Christian Barnard performed the first successful heart transplant in 1967, pioneering a practice which has saved hundreds of thousands of heart patients the world over, Mlada fronta Dnes writes.

And finally, Lidove noviny reports that the number of foreigners living and working in the Czech Republic has increased by 10% this year. This is linked to an increase in foreign investments and the fact that local branches of foreign multinationals begin operations with predominantly foreign employees, especially in management and administration sectors.