Press Review

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A commentator in Mlada fronta Dnes describes May 1st as a day of poets, politicians and revolutionaries and Thursday's front pages reflect this somewhat bizarre definition. Pravo carries a snapshot of a lovers' kiss under an apple tree in bloom and one of anarchists clashing with police in the city of Brno. Lidove noviny shows MP Petra Buzkova at one of the Social Democrats' open air rallies on May Day, and Mlada fronta Dnes has a snapshot of Milous Jakes, the last Communist party boss who ruled Czechoslovakia before the 1989 Velvet Revolution.

A commentator in Mlada fronta Dnes describes May 1st as a day of poets, politicians and revolutionaries and Thursday's front pages reflect this somewhat bizarre definition. Pravo carries a snapshot of a lovers' kiss under an apple tree in bloom and one of anarchists clashing with police in the city of Brno. Lidove noviny shows MP Petra Buzkova at one of the Social Democrats' open air rallies on May Day, and Mlada fronta Dnes has a snapshot of Milous Jakes, the last Communist party boss who ruled Czechoslovakia before the 1989 Velvet Revolution.

Despite the clashes between anarchists and the police in Brno, Pravo notes that the Czechs passed a fairly quiet Labour Day holiday- there was far more going on in France where more than a million people took to the streets to protest against the presidential candidate Jean Marie Le Pen, or in Berlin where 60 police officers are reported injured in street violence, the paper says.

On the domestic scene - each of the 29 parties running for seats in the June 15th general elections have been allotted numbers and there is plenty of comment on the subject of lucky numbers and the power of numerology. The Social Democrats say they are happy to have drawn number 3 in the traditional election lottery - the same number which they had in the last elections, while the Civic Democrats say that nothing could be better than 22 in the year 2002 - a symbol of harmony and prosperity, as numerologists tell us. The communists who drew 23 claim they will aim for twenty three percent of the votes.

There are two new interesting billboards in the streets of the Czech capital and Pravo's reporter has snapped both. One shows the leader of the opposition Civic Democrats Vaclav Klaus cradling a baby next to the glamorous looking Supermodel Eva Herzigova. The billboard is an ad for a charity fashion show due to take place two weeks before the general elections. The second billboard reads "Vote for the Civic Democrats or for the Social Democrats - no matter who you pick, we'll reach a settlement between us". This mystery billboard was commissioned secretly and leaves the public guessing whom it serves best.

A new law which is to help combat money-laundering presents Ceska Sporitelna, one of the Czech Republic's leading banks, with a major challenge. The law bans anonymous bank accounts of which Ceska Sporitelna has over six million, according to Mlada fronta Dnes . By the end of the year the bank must transfer an estimated 130 billion crowns to regular accounts.

And finally, the same paper reports on the fate of nine-month-old Midnight Storm, whose parents got into trouble with the authorities for failing to officially register the baby's existence and show up for a series of compulsory vaccinations. Some parents have become weary of vaccinations after the media publicized the case of several children who reacted badly to vaccination, including a case of temporary paralysis.

The parents eventually agreed to an individual vaccination plan for Midnight Storm. They are however far from happy, complaining about the extent to which bureaucrats can interfere in people's lives. The authorities reportedly rejected the name they wanted to give their baby - Midnight Storm - and the parents were forced to pick something more conservative for the baby's birth certificate.

"It says Eliska but she'll always be Midnight Storm to us," the mother told reporters as she left the hospital with her baby in her arms. Mlada fronta Dnes notes that while concern for the baby's health is understandable, the authorities should have shown greater tact and understanding in dealing with her parents. This is clearly not a case of negligence - and taking the baby away to force the parents hand on the matter of vaccination was simply too much, the paper concludes.