Press Review

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Snapshots of continuing violence in the Middle East contrast sharply with pictures of wedding bliss in a small Czech town where the country's most popular singer Lucie Bila married her boyfriend in what was meant to be a secret wedding. Snapshots of the bride and groom grace most of today's front pages, and the papers carry whatever scraps of information they could glean about the surprise ceremony.

Snapshots of continuing violence in the Middle East contrast sharply with pictures of wedding bliss in a small Czech town where the country's most popular singer Lucie Bila married her boyfriend in what was meant to be a secret wedding. Snapshots of the bride and groom grace most of today's front pages, and the papers carry whatever scraps of information they could glean about the surprise ceremony.

The scandal surrounding the news that two of the Prague Castle guards, who protect the head of state 24 hours a day, were former communist secret service agents is far from over. Although the guards in question were sacked more than a year ago the whole affair was kept under wraps and the President's Office has come under fire for keeping the matter secret. One wonders what else is going on at Prague Castle that the public knows nothing about, says Mlada fronta Dnes, adding that the President cannot be absolved from blame either.

It seems that editors in chief did not have to search very hard for attention grabbing headlines today. Pravo reports that a well known Prague bishop has spoken out in favour of legalizing prostitution. Bishop Maly expressed this view in an interview for the BBC, saying that given what he'd seen in Czech-German border areas where prostitution is rife it would be far better to bring the problem out into the open where it could be kept under control. Although this view is in sharp contrast with the official line of the Catholic Church, the paper notes that it has received support from a number of other bishops and Church dignitaries.

Czech-made rum is to get a new name as of next year, reports Lidove noviny . Since the local rum is made from sugar beet - which does not meet EU requirements for the drink - Czech producers have been forced to put their heads together and come up with a new name for the popular local brew. Czech rum will therefore not disappear from the market - indeed, given its relatively low price it stands a very good chance of holding its own in competition with other EU rum producers - but consumers will have to search for it under the far less prestigious label "tuzemak", which, roughly translated, is "local brew".

There's quite a lot of talk about the need for international cooperation in fighting crime - but Europeans rarely see this in practice as clearly as they did this week - and the police passed the test with flying colours. Three bank robbers who managed to get away with 200 thousand Euros and two hostages from a bank in Wrestedt, west of Berlin, got more than they bargained for.

Lidove noviny reports that they were chased by police in three states -speeding through parts of Germany, Poland and Ukraine at 150 km per hour followed by convoys of police cars and a helicopter. The police finally caught up with them near the town of Rovno in Ukraine -where they found their way blocked by 40 police cars and a wall of sand-bags. Miraculously no loss of life or serious injuries were incurred during their capture.

And finally, the papers all devote some space to McDonalds tenth anniversary in the Czech Republic. McDonalds was our first real experience of Western "fast food" and the concept of globalization says Lidove noviny. And despite the fact that, especially in its first few years here - it was a fairly expensive treat for most people, it has taken root as well as anywhere else in the world.

Lidove noviny attended the unveiling of a plaque to Ray Crok -the founder of the McDonalds chain of restaurants as we know them today - who coincidentally has Czech roots . The ceremony took place in the village of Brasy-Stupov where the papers found a distant relative of Ray Crok. One thing is certain, the paper says - the local pub owner need not fear competition from McDonalds because the village is too small for an outlet and most of its inhabitants have never tasted a Big Mac.