Press Review

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The funeral of two young police officers killed in the line of duty while investigating an alleged rape has stirred public emotion and received plenty of coverage in today's papers. Mlada Fronta Dnes reports on emotional outbursts in the town of Protivin as the funeral cortege went past the house where the shooting took place. Zemeske Noviny notes that were it not for the strong police presence around the house the funeral could have turned into a lynching. The tragedy has led to numerous questions and police president Jiri Kolar publicly admitted that the police officers sent out on the case had underestimated the risks involved.

Lidove Noviny reports on the trial in Munich of former Nazi SS officer Anton Malloth, allegedly one of the most brutal guards at the Terezin concentration camp in what is now the Czech Republic. Crimes against humanity must be punished -not only for the sake of those who were murdered but as a warning to those who would commit evil in the future, says Petr Fisher in a front page editorial. The German judiciary clearly recognizes this need. The Czech Republic has a few skeletons of its own from the communist days and it is time we followed Germany's example in dealing with them, the author says.

The fact that a man considered to be one of the smartest Czech neo-Nazi proponents was invited to lecture at Prague's prestigious Charles University has created plenty of controversy. The head of the department who invited him to perform a series of politology lectures says the aim was to acquaint students with a right-wing radicals "way of thinking". He claims that similar lectures had been given by left wing radicals as well. However, not everyone approves of this policy and Tomas Menschik of Lidove Noviny notes that while the benefit of such lectures to students is dubious there is no doubt at all that neo-Nazis and radical communists stand to gain a great deal by being treated as an academically acceptable minority.

Meanwhile, Hospodarske Noviny comments on the plans of a number of well-known intellectuals and business leaders to create a new political party for those voters who are dissatisfied with the present state of affairs on the Czech political scene. Any emerging political party needs to have a target group and a clear vision, the paper says. Gaining votes on the failures of others is not a policy programme and Czech voters have good reason to know that one cannot resolve long-standing problems simply by setting up a new party in the belief that it will do a better job.

And finally on a lighter note, Zemske Noviny has mercilessly spotlighted the lifestyle of Czech politicians, comparing them to tennis playing, weight-lifting and jogging foreign counterparts. And the picture is a sorry one. Gone are days when ex-prime minister Klaus made his Cabinet climb to a mountain chalet in the Krkonose for a government session, the paper says. The present heavy-set, comfort loving Prime Minister Milos Zeman clearly hates any regular physical activity as much as he loves a thick steak and Becherovka. He is moreover a heavy smoker.

The paper goers on to amuse readers with some of the Prime Ministers standing jokes in which he recalls how he broke a leg the minute he walked onto a football pitch or how he smokes to alleviate the social and labour ministry from the burden of having to sustain him in his old age. However there is hope for the Social Democrats yet, the paper notes - the new party boss, labour and social affairs minister Vladimir Spidla appears to be in good shape and has even been seen running a marathon. In any case Czech voters allegedly don't care about a few extra kilos - possibly because many of them are carrying around a too many of their own, the paper concludes.