Press Review

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The continuing search for a missing 5-year-old girl, disputes between top political representatives and debates around the controversial nuclear power station at Temelin make the main headlines in the daily newspapers today.

Today's MLADA FRONTA DNES reports that a former investigator for the Communist secret police has applied to receive compensation from the German government that is reserved for victims of Nazi concentration camps.

While Alois Grebenicek is technically eligible for the compensation since he spent time in a Nazi concentration camp during World War II, Grebenicek has also become a symbol for the atrocities committed by the Communist secret police, claims MLADA FRONTA DNES.

Grebenicek is currently on trial for crimes that he allegedly committed while he worked for the infamous secret police. It is likely that Grebenicek will receive the compensatory sum, although many are outraged that a man suspected of crimes comparable to those that he suffered is even applying for the victim's compensation.

The business daily HOSPODARSKE NOVINY leads with a report on the IPB bank, once the third largest bank in the country, which was put under forced administration a year ago and subsequently sold to another bank, CSOB. The paper claims to have obtained preliminary results of an investigation by a special parliamentary committee which suggest that top state representatives broke the law in the process. However, the full report on the case is due next Tuesday.

Jaromir Jagr, the famed Czech hockey player, has been visiting his homeland this week. In an interview with LIDOVE NOVINY, Jagr comments on his impending departure from the Pittsburgh Penguins. He cites finances as his motivation for leaving Pittsburgh, and he also spoke of the possibility of playing for the New York Rangers next season.

According to LIDOVE NOVINY, Vaclav Klaus, the leader of the main opposition Civic Democratic Party and the ruling Social Democrat party leader Vladimir Spidla have been in disagreement over upcoming finance legislation. The quarrel began two weeks ago, and it quickly turned into personal insults that have been aired in the media. The two parties are bound by a power-sharing pact, and the dispute between its two leaders does not bode well for government stability.

And finally, illegal drug use among Czech soldiers is on the rise, according to ZEMSKE NOVINY. Police last year found illegal drugs among 410 soldiers, a sharp increase from previous years. In 1996, 98 soldiers were caught with drugs, compared to only 13 in 1993. The increase is due to a reduction in rules and discipline in the Czech Army, and the Defense Minister, Jaroslav Tvrdik notes that soldiers today have more contact with civilians.