Press Review

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All of Thursday's Czech newspapers report on an amendment to the law on transport which was passed in the lower house on Wednesday. It will allow Czech drivers to buy second-hand cars from abroad which may be as much as eight years old.

Lidove noviny writes that the Transport Minister Jaromir Schling defended a law from last year which prohibited imports of used cars older than five years. He said he did not want to see the Czech Republic as the scrap yard of Europe.

In the end, it was MPs from right-of-centre parties who won the battle. However, they supported the amendment only on condition that second-hand cars from abroad meet the Euro 2 emission limit. They say the new regulation will benefit both people and the environment.

Hopefully, the new norm will also appease used-car importers, who last summer took to the streets of Prague to protest against the age limit of five years for second hand cars, writes Lidove noviny.

Under the title "Medicines are business even when a human life is at stake," today's Hospodarske noviny writes about a case that could end tragically, when there was no medicine available for a heavily bleeding patient at a Prague hospital.

Doctors say one or two times a year, a lack of medicines occurs and they must look for replacements. For some pharmaceutical companies it does not pay if they export medicines to the Czech Republic in just a small amount.

Moreover, they have to provide a Czech version of the instructions for use and due to the prices of medicines in this country - which are lower than in Western countries - they never get their money back, the paper writes.

"The Czech male population seems to suffer again from Olympic syndrome," writes today's Pravo. Doctors' waiting rooms are full of young men who are fans of the Winter Olympics.

One worker from a building firm in the Moravian town of Zlin explained to Pravo that he could not possibly work all day long if he wants to watch what's going on in Salt Lake City at night. He simply told the doctors he had a bad pain in his back and that he suffered from vertigo. He got a sick note immediately.

Doctors say there's nothing they can do about that. If someone says he has headaches and vomits at night, they can never prove this is not true. Sick leave is currently up - "Olympic Syndrome" seems to be working, concludes Pravo.

Mlada fronta Dnes informs its readers that since Wednesday, two films have been competing for viewers: a month after the Lord of the Rings appeared, Harry Potter has invaded Czech cinemas. In multiplexes both groups of viewers meet in the lobby.

"Some children appear here five times during the film and they always buy another portion of pop-corn, but all of them stay to the end," one of the ushers told Mlada fronta Dnes. The paper writes that whole classes are coming, and that one class from the Moravian town of Pelhrimov even arrived all dressed up in Harry Potter-style costumes.