Press Review

r_2100x1400_radio_praha.png

The tragic death of an entire family in the town of Louny dominates the front pages today - the six member Polish family were entombed in a pile of rubble after four storeys of a hotel collapsed on Easter Monday. Also making the papers today is the death of Britain's Lady Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon, better known as the Queen Mother, who died on Saturday at the age of 101.

Pravo speaks to 30-year-old Marena Siwakova, who lost most of her family in Monday's accident in Louny. "I've lost everyone - my mother, my father, my husband, my brother, his wife and their five-year-old daughter," she says. Police are still searching for clues, writes the paper, adding that some eyewitnesses reported hearing an explosion shortly before the building collapsed.

Meanwhile Lidove Noviny reports on angry scenes on a motorway from Jablonec to Prague on Saturday, as fans of Sparta Prague football club ambushed the team bus. Sparta were returning to Prague after losing 2:0 to Jablonec, a defeat which knocked them off the top spot in the Czech league. Several dozen fans were so incensed at their club's poor performance that they followed the team bus out of Jablonec, forced it to stop on the motorway and began hurling rocks at the windows.

"I was sitting in the back and I just couldn't believe my eyes," says a shocked Sparta captain Jiri Novotny. "Suddenly there were rocks and bottles flying at the windows. Luckily the windows didn't shatter," he tells Lidove Noviny. The fans threatened more attacks if the team doesn't improve. The police, meanwhile, were nowhere to be seen.

Further on in the paper, is the Czech Easter custom of thrashing women with a braided whip a violation of women's rights? Several foreign newspapers seem to think so, says Lidove Noviny, quoting Britain's Independent, which published an article on Monday entitled "Medieval fertility ritual leaves Czech women's rights in the Dark Ages."

"We can laugh or we can get angry," writes a Lidove Noviny commentator. "We can joke that braided whips will be banned by the EU. But we can also listen to the complaints of many Czech women, especially young women, who are fed up with this custom regardless of what foreign journalists think," says the paper, and it goes on: "Social norms develop continuously. Today whipping is seen as a cute folk custom; in a few years' time it could be considered unacceptable humiliation of women. Who knows."

And finally back to Pravo and a rare "letter to the editor" from the Czech President Vaclav Havel. The headline reads "Klaus - leave my family alone!", and the letter is a response to comments by Mr Havel's sworn enemy Vaclav Klaus in an interview with Saturday's edition of Pravo. Mr Klaus, leader of the opposition Civic Democrats, said it was wrong for the president's wife to become a leading patron of charity "out of the blue" as soon as her husband becomes president.

"The sentence is obviously aimed at the charity activities of both my first and second wives," says President Havel. "I won't bother explaining that neither my late wife Olga or my present wife Dagmar became involved in charity work 'out of the blue' - both of them devoted a great deal of their time to charity and have helped thousands of people. So I'll keep my answer short: leave my family alone."