Press Review

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It may be Friday 13th, but people skimming through the papers over their morning coffee must have breathed a huge sigh of relief. Parliament has finally approved an amendment to the banking law stipulating that individual savings accounts will be insured up to a million Czech crowns or 25,000 euros.

There is also good news for the thousands of people who lost much of their savings when three private banks - Pragobank, Moravia bank and Universal bank - went under, a chain of bankruptcies that seriously undermined public confidence in the banking sector. The clients of these banks should also recover 90 percent of their savings.

HOSPODARSKE NOVINY notes that the money will only be paid to the original holders of these savings accounts. Speculators on the financial market, who bought up many accounts under price after the bank's clients thought they had little chance of ever seeing their money again, will not be eligible.

The interior ministry is reported to have concluded the process of double-checking the 150,000 clean screening certificates it issued to individuals who hold high posts in public service. The order to double check all certificates came several weeks ago following the revelation that a number of former Communist agents had been given the all- clear.

According to LIDOVE NOVINY, the interior ministry found 117 "erroneous" certificates. In line with the law on protection of private data the ministry cannot name any of the individuals in question - not even at the request of individual ministries and institutions.

The authorities have, however, found a way around this hurdle. The institutions in question can send the interior ministry a list of their employees and the ministry will let them know whether they are employing former Communist agent, without specifying who they are. In such a case, the respective institution will have to request all its employees to produce certificates anew.

ZEMSKE NOVINY reports that parliament has finally liberalised the law on state symbols. Football fans who wrap the Czech flag around them or those who paint it on their faces will no longer be breaking the law.

The old law was far too strict, one of the Social Democrat MPs told the paper. Basically it made state symbols "untouchable" and sacred, but by flying the flag or wearing it people express positive feelings about their country, he says. Now, people will be able to hoist the flag when they give a party or on any other occasion.

The summer season is in full swing and holiday-makers have more to worry about than the credibility of their travel agency and the strikes that cripple international air travel. PRAVO has run a front page report warning people that house thefts double in the summer season. There is no 100 percent guarantee, but basically the more locks and security systems you have installed, the less likely you are to come back and find your flat in shambles, the paper says.

And finally, LIDOVE NOVINY reports on the death of Andrej Stankovic a well-known Czech poet, essayist and literary critic. Stankovic was a former dissident and LIDOVE NOVINY, where he worked as an editor, has devoted a full page to his memory, inviting his friends to reminiscence about him.