Press Review

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The front pages of all Czech daily newspapers on Monday carry photographs from the Czech Lion, the Czech equivalent of the Oscars."Czech Lion eaten by Otesanek" reads a headline in Lidove noviny, alluding to the winner of the best film award - Otesanek, a horror fairy tale about an insatiable wooden monster. The papers also feature Czech decathlete Roman Sebrle running with the Czech flag after he won the gold in the heptathlon at the European Indoor Athletics Championships.

The front pages of all Czech daily newspapers on Monday carry photographs from the Czech Lion, the Czech equivalent of the Oscars."Czech Lion eaten by Otesanek" reads a headline in Lidove noviny, alluding to the winner of the best film award - Otesanek, a horror fairy tale about an insatiable wooden monster. The papers also feature Czech decathlete Roman Sebrle running with the Czech flag after he won the gold in the heptathlon at the European Indoor Athletics Championships.

As the general elections draw near, today's Lidove noviny tried to find out more about the candidates of the main political parties, namely whether they had been members of the totalitarian Communist Party before 1989. The paper complains about their reluctance to provide any details about their candidates.

The Social Democratic Party even refused to give the occupation and age of the people on its candidate lists. Lidove noviny found out that more than a third of the ruling Social Democrat candidates are former Communists. The right-of-centre Civic Democrats have only eight former Communists among their candidates, and the coalition of the Christian Democrats and Freedom Union none.

The situation is completely different with the Communist Party. Although it tries to present itself as a modern, democratic left-wing organisation, to most of its members, it is no different from the former totalitarian Czechoslovak Communist Party.

Mlada fronta Dnes reports that some Czech towns have been trying a new trick against speeding drivers - to place plastic life-size policemen along roads which are intended to deter nine out of ten drivers from violating the road code. The mayor of one of the towns told the paper that while the trick works well with strangers, local drivers have easily discovered that the policemen are not real and started ignoring them.

However, he adds that they have been forced to observe the law again by real policemen who occasionally accompany their plastic colleagues. And what about fears that someone might steal the plastic figure - the mayor says its base is sunk one-meter deep in concrete.

Hospodarske noviny devotes a whole page to a new identification technique used by the police - DNA analysis. The Czech Police have been building a DNA register since last year with the assistance of FBI experts and the Czech Republic is the first post-communist country to join this international project.

As Hospodarske noviny report, DNA has already helped to investigate several serious crimes in the Czech Republic. While some countries are building a DNA register of the whole nation, Czech police representatives say the police do not have enough resources for such a large-scale database and would be satisfied if they were able to include all criminals, not just those who commit the most serious crimes.