Press Review

Not surprisingly the Czech papers today are again dominated by one story, Tuesday's tragic events in the United States. They focus on the continuing rescue work in New York, international reactions to the tragedy and the global wave of solidarity with the American nation.

All the papers also carry photographs of Czechs laying flowers and lighting candles at the statue of St. Wenceslas in Prague's Wenceslas square, a traditional place for public gatherings, as they expressed their support for the American people. LIDOVE NOVINY reports that several hundred people came to square despite warnings from the Interior Minister Stanislav Gross that such a gathering might represent a security risk.

ZEMSKE NOVINY carries an interview with the Czech ambassador to NATO Karel Kovanda. There again, the key question is what can the Czech Republic do to help. What is of utmost importance at this point is complete solidarity and a high level of team work, Kovanda says. Our intelligence services must intensify their work and intensify cooperation in order to beat this scourge. And of course, it is important to provide whatever immediate assistance is needed, the Czech ambassador to NATO concludes.

MLADA FRONTA DNES comes with a special supplement titled "Global earthquake". The supplement devotes three pages to analysis of the global political and economic consequences of the terrorist attack. "We now face the end of certainty", reads the headline above a large photo of what remains of the World Trade Center.

In an editorial, MLADA FRONTA DNES writes that the Czech Republic may enter into a war alongside its NATO allies. The author of the commentary tries go give an answer to those who ask why we should join the Americans in fighting a highly dangerous and invisible enemy. The United States intervened twice in European wars to help preserve freedom and democracy. Now, it is our turn to help the Americans, MLADA FRONTA DNES concludes.

Robert Dengler in PRAVO points out that the terrorist attack united the Czech political elite in an unprecedented way. Unfortunately, this unity appears to have been short-lived. As an example, PRAVO mentions president Vaclav Havel and the speaker of the lower house Vaclav Klaus, who share a mutual, deep- rooted dislike. In their immediate reactions to the disaster, they spoke in the same terms.

But only two days later, PRAVO continues, the gap widened again and it was Mr. Klaus who started attacking his opponents. He has a history of fierce criticism of those whom he calls anti-capitalists and anti-globalizers, whom he blames for the latest events. The paper sees this as insidious, since Klaus is intentionally mixing fanatics with respected scientists and philosophers, including President Havel himself.