Press Review

The papers offer a mix of headlines today with the ongoing trial against former Communist officials, the introduction of Skoda Auto's latest model, and the re-structuring of the steel industry being the top domestic stories.

On its front page, Mlada fronta Dnes features a photo of the former Communist Interior Minister, Jaromir Obzina who admitted before court on Monday that he had signed in 1977 an order to drive opponents of the communist regime out of Czechoslovakia. The paper points out that the confession was a breakthrough in the trial as Mr Obzina was the first ever senior Communist official to admit to the persecution of opponents of the regime.

The Czech intelligence service is sending out a warning signal, writes Lidove noviny. Semtex - one of the most popular plastic explosives used by terrorists - very often gets into the wrong hands, even though it is stored in army depots. The paper says that the problem lies with the 60 tons of so-called 'unmarked' Semtex that is neither detectable by machines nor specially trained dogs.

The army claims to have strict security around the explosive but intelligence service reports have pointed to numerous situations where Semtex can be easily stolen - during training and pyrotechnic work for example. If these are not more strictly controlled, we could see a return to the lax practices of the 1990's, when a number of soldiers and top officers got involved in the theft and sale of Semtex.

Pravo reports on recent protests by an association of private specialist doctors outraged over parliament's decision last week not to allow patients to pay for above-standard health care. The doctors' association wants to abolish an article in the constitution, which states that patients cannot pay for such treatment if it can be covered by basic insurance.

When you break an arm, for example, doctors have to give you the usual heavy plaster and you cannot pay extra to get a lighter, more comfortable, kind. The paper quotes one of the doctors, Jan Jelinek, as saying that plans are currently underway to take the case to the constitutional court.