Press Review

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War makes the front pages of all the dailies today, with Pravo leading with news that the Czech Republic is to send a field hospital to the Afghan capital Kabul, as the U.S. steps up its battle against the remnants of Al-Qaeda and Taliban forces. Mlada fronta Dnes features a photo of an Israeli soldier mourning his brother, killed by a Palestinian sniper on Sunday. And Lidove noviny reports that the country's main political parties are outdoing themselves to reduce the length of compulsory military service, in a bid to woo the young male voter.

War makes the front pages of all the dailies today, with Pravo leading with news that the Czech Republic is to send a field hospital to the Afghan capital Kabul, as the U.S. steps up its battle against the remnants of Al-Qaeda and Taliban forces. Mlada fronta Dnes features a photo of an Israeli soldier mourning his brother, killed by a Palestinian sniper on Sunday. And Lidove noviny reports that the country's main political parties are outdoing themselves to reduce the length of compulsory military service, in a bid to woo the young male voter.

Mlada fronta Dnes reports today on the story of 150 Czechoslovak RAF airmen, who were shot down over the English Channel and the Bay of Biscay and their bodies never accounted for. Officially they are still listed as "missing", but thanks to meticulous research by a Czech Army historian their families are finally beginning to learn of their fate.

After many years scouring British, American and German archives, historian Jiri Rajlich has built up a detailed picture of each fateful duel in the air, using radio conversations between pilots and their commanders in Britain, as well as accounts of Luftwaffe fighter pilots, many of which have only recently been declassified. Using this information, says Mlada fronta Dnes, Rajlich has established the final resting place of dozens of airmen, lying in watery graves on the seabed.

Vaclav Klaus vents his spleen today to Lidove noviny, coming out strongly against the idea of the Czech President being elected directly by the people. At the moment, the president is elected by a joint session of the two houses of parliament, but Mr Klaus's political rivals - the fellow opposition Coalition grouping - want to introduce a direct vote, something which Mr Klaus - himself a possible candidate - says has no tradition in the Czech Republic.

Pravo's up in arms today following reports from a primary school in the village of Stare Sidliste, West Bohemia. Reports from the school say children were tied to their chairs, locked in dark cupboards and even had masking tape placed over their mouths. Worried parents contacted the local authorities, and the local police are now involved.

"I only learnt about it by chance," says the parent who stumbled upon the unorthodox teaching practices. "I went to pick up my little Tommy from school, and I noticed the other kids were pointing at him and saying 'there's the kid who had his mouth taped up.' I asked him about it at home, and he said it was true - the teacher did it because he bit another child. Later on I learnt that Tommy wasn't the only one," she tells Pravo. The teacher concerned, says the paper, claims it was only a game.

Czech clerks are fat, lazy and eat unhealthy food. Or at least so says a survey carried out by the European Union, as part of a project to promote healthy living among public sector employees. As Mlada fronta Dnes reports today, the E.U. surveyed staff at two local offices, and found that more than 60 percent of them were overweight or obese and suffered from high levels of cholesterol.

The E.U. was most alarmed by their diet and lack of physical activity, says the paper. A favourite mid-morning snack, it said, was "tlacenka" - or "headcheese", and for those of you who don't know what "headcheese" is, think pig offal suspended in aspic. The clerks themselves are reported to be shrugging their shoulders at the survey, but their bosses certainly aren't. The head of the construction department at Sokolov town council immediately started walking to work, and the mayor has started jogging with his wife.