Press Review

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The resignation of the Dutch government in connection with the Srebrenica massacre, the general strike against Silvio Berlusconi's government in Italy and continuing efforts to broker a cease-fire in the Middle East - those are the lead international topics on today's front pages.

The resignation of the Dutch government in connection with the Srebrenica massacre, the general strike against Silvio Berlusconi's government in Italy and continuing efforts to broker a cease-fire in the Middle East - those are the lead international topics on today's front pages.

Following Palestinian criticism of the Czech Republic's vote against a UN resolution condemning Israeli brutality in the occupied territories, Pravo features a full page of analysis and views on the subject. It does not happen often, but in this case the majority of Czech politicians are in agreement, Pravo says.

The main justification for the Czech government's decision appears to be that the resolution was perceived as being dangerously "one sided". The head of Parliament's foreign affairs committee Lubomir Zaoralek argues that paradoxically the UN resolution could bolster Prime Minister Saron's hard line policy by creating the impression of an international anti-Israeli front.

On the home scene, the Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman and hockey star Jaromir Jagr share the limelight. The Prime Minister for securing the repayment of part of Russia's communist-era's debt to the Czech Republic, Jagr simply by coming home to prepare for the hockey world championship in which he'll be playing for the Czech national team.

The Czech Prime Minister has been snapped in an upbeat mood telling journalists that "good friends pay their debts" and promising Czechs to come home with "ships, planes and helicopters" as part of the Russian pay-off.

"Molodec!" says Lidove noviny, praising Mr Zeman in Russian, but with more than a little irony. All those ships, planes and helicopters are sure to overshadow the bizarre sales deal under which the Czech Republic sold the better part of Russia's debt to a highly suspicious firm believed to have terrorist links, the paper says.

Meanwhile, the hero of the Czech hockey world Jaromir Jagr, received nothing but admiration the moment he set foot on Czech soil, despite the fact that a missing front tooth somewhat tarnished his dazzling good looks. Grinning broadly to show the gap Jagr told reporters the missing tooth was not a hockey-trophy, but the result of his first meal in his homeland - at Ruzyne Airport.

Well, Jagr was lucky not to have had to take a taxi home. Unscrupulous taxi drivers are still a serious problem in the Czech capital. Mlada fronta Dnes reports that the Prague City Hall sent out ten inspectors in plain clothes to ascertain the situation and found that nine of them had been ripped off.

There is continuing concern among Czech exporters regarding the strong crown which has put many Czech firms on the brink of bankruptcy. In today's edition of Pravo economist Jan Svejnar suggests that the Czech Republic should seriously think about introducing the Euro before its admission to the EU.

And finally, it is not just humans who wage wars on Planet Earth. According to Mlada fronta Dnes there is a great war of ants being fought in southern Europe where two mega-colonies of ants are at each others throats. One of these is the biggest colony of ants in the world -stretching across 6,000km of French, Italian and Spanish territory. The conquerors originally came from Argentina, and they got to Europe as stowaways on various plants. Scientists say these ant colonies are far better organized that people think -with distant satellite colonies reporting back to headquarters!