Press Review

All the Czech daily newspapers today report on president Vaclav Havel's victory in a dispute with the government and parliament over the method for appointing the governor of the Czech National Bank. They mention NATO's decision to send troops to Macedonia. And most of the papers also discuss the issue of organ transplants from living donors.

PRAVO writes that doctors pin their hopes on living donors as the number of dead donors has been decreasing in recent years. However, transplants from living donors have been rare in the Czech Republic and many people have died because there has been no suitable dead donor. PRAVO quotes a doctor who believes it's necessary to break the psychological barrier in people so that they are willing to provide organs to their relatives in need.

ZEMSKE NOVINY reveals the cause of the Czech Republic's first BSE or mad-cow disease case. The paper claims it has obtained results of laboratory tests from Duesseldorf University, which identify milk feed imported from Western Europe as the source of the infection. The Dusejov farm, were the BSE occurred, fed its calves milk feed from Germany. It then took four or five years for the infected cow to contract the disease.

The business daily HOSPODARSKE NOVINY mentions a plan by the government to curb software piracy in state administration. As of next year, all state institutions will have to perform annual software audits to make sure there are no illegal copies running on their computers. HOSPODARSKE NOVINY quotes a representative of the Software Protection Agency as saying that at the beginning of this year, around 50 percent of all software used in state institutions was pirated.

Under the headlines "Is Beer Healthy?", LIDOVY NOVINY features a story about a heated debate being played out in the Czech medical community over the benefits versus the detriments of the Czech national beverage - beer. The director of the Addiction Treatment Center at a psychiatric hospital in Prague, Karel Nespor, has proposed raising taxes on alcohol sales, which he believes would lower the consumption of the addictive substance.

This has drawn a passionate responses from medical professionals and lobbyists alike, who quickly ran to the defense of beer. They maintain that substances found in beer lower the incidences of vascular diseases of the heart and brain, findings which are backed by international studies. Nespor realizes that he does not have the resources of his opposition, but refuses to give up the fight. He faces an uphill battle, given the fact that each Czech citizen consumes 10 liters of spirit, and in excess of 150 liters of beer per year.

MLADA FRONTA DNES leads with a report on a plan by Czech television tycoon, Vladimir Zelezny, to merge all three of the country's commercial TV stations. According to MLADA FRONTA DNES, Zelezny, who runs the successful station TV Nova, held talks with the owner of recently established TV3 and offered him the option of joining a holding company.

The paper claims that the meeting in New York was organized by the Czech Foreign Minister, Jan Kavan. As the paper points out, the creation of such a media empire would be illegal and the whole plan is being watched by the Czech intelligence service.