Press Review

Well a mixed bag in the Czech press today - Pravo leads with the latest suicide bombing in Israel, with a front-page photo of one of the injured. Mlada fronta Dnes features a smiling Jennifer Capriati, holding aloft the Australian Open tennis championship trophy she won on Saturday. And Lidove noviny examines the pre-election promises of the ruling Social Democrats - higher social security payments, EU membership and the abolition of compulsory military service.

Lidove noviny also features the story of former Yugoslav Airlines stewardess Vesna Vulovic, sole survivor of one of Czechoslovakia's worst ever air crashes. Saturday marked the thirtieth anniversary of the disaster, when a DC9 passenger plane en route from Stockholm to Belgrade crashed after an explosion on board. The plane came down near the village of Srbska Kamenice in north-east Bohemia, killing 27 of the 28 people on board.

Mrs Vulovic, now 52, returned to the scene of the crash on Saturday, to attend a memorial service for the victims. "I still feel enormous grief and pain over the deaths of the people who died here," she told reporters, thanking local villagers who rushed to help on that winter's day in 1972. Vulovic's story is recorded in the Guinness Book of Records - she is the only person in history to survive a plane plummeting to the ground from an altitude of more than 10,000 metres.

Thirty years later, says Lidove noviny, and the cause of the crash is still shrouded in mystery. The official version is that a bomb exploded on board, and according to some theories it was put there by militant Croat nationalists - post-war descendants of Croatia's fascist Ustashe movement. Others claim the plane was brought down by a ground-to-air missile, fired by mistake by the Czechoslovak Army.

Now, moving on to the Prague paper Vecernik Praha, and safety - or lack of it - on Prague's pedestrian crossings. Visitors to Prague soon discover that Czech drivers rarely stop to let people across the road, and last year saw the introduction of a new law to give pedestrians greater priority over cars. The legislation was meant to reduce the Czech Republic's disproportionately high number of road deaths, but as critics warned two years ago, the new law has actually made the situation worse.

Eleven people were killed on Prague's pedestrian crossings in 2001, says the paper, almost double the number in the previous year. The number of injuries has also doubled. Vecernik Praha says many pedestrians are under the mistaken impression that they enjoy absolute right of way over cars when they step onto a zebra crossing, and take dangerous risks as a result. Others say the real problem remains the that Czech drivers simply drive too fast in built-up areas, and have little or no respect for the highway code.

And finally a word of warning from Mlada fronta Dnes: the paper quotes new research which suggests that most Czech men who use the anti-impotence drug Viagra do so without medical supervision, and are putting their lives at risk. The paper says most men are too embarrassed to approach their GPs, and instead buy the little blue pill in sex shops or "from a friend."

Mlada fronta Dnes says people with heart complaints are especially at risk, claiming that two men have already died in the Czech Republic from using the drug unsupervised. Czechs are the second highest consumers of Viagra in Central and Eastern Europe - hot on the heels of horny Hungarians. But contrary to expectations, it's not older men who use the drug the most - the average Czech Viagra user is a 35-year-old executive who suffers from high levels of stress.