Press Review

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All the Czech newspapers today carry reports on their front pages about the victory of president Jacques Chirac in Sunday's presidential election in France, and feature photos of the winning president and cheering crowds in Paris.

On the domestic front, Hospodarske noviny writes that governmental incentives for foreign investors seem to be paying off, which the majority of politicians agree upon. However it quotes the leader of the opposition Civic Democrats, Vaclav Klaus, as saying that foreign investors would have come anyway, because of the cheap and qualified labour force, good infrastructure and prosperous domestic market.

Economists agree, though, that all future incentives should be thoroughly discussed before they are made, because despite all the advantages they bring - such as the creation of new jobs for poorer regions - the state loses the huge income it would get if foreign firms paid regular taxes.

Mlada fronta Dnes features of photo of thousands of young people who gathered on Saturday at Letna plain in Prague to demonstrate for the legalisation of cannabis in the Czech Republic. The paper says it was the biggest demonstration for the legalization of a drug in Czech history, despite the fact that until the very last moment it was not clear if the demonstration would be allowed by the city council.

During a nine-hour marathon of music and speeches the police did not intervene at all. Organizer Michal Polak told Mlada fronta Dnes that the demonstration was not aimed at promoting drugs, but was a call for a reasonable approach to them. It was also to express solidarity with those who have been prosecuted for keeping or growing cannabis for their own use.

Lidove noviny includes a whole supplement on the strong Czech crown which is not only causing problems for Czech exporters. The paper writes that due to the strong Czech currency, foreigners who visit the Czech Republic are spending less, which is reflected in the lower profits of restaurants and shops. Tourists have stopped buying souvenirs altogether, shopkeepers in Prague say sadly. Restaurant owners complain their sales have dropped by one third - 'our foreign guests carefully count whether they will have two beers or just one', one of them told Lidove noviny.

And finally, Pravo reports on the crowds who at the weekend poured into the Becov nad Teplou chateau in West Bohemia, where a precious reliquary was on display for the first time ever. The reliquary - a case for the relics of saints - dates back to the 13th century. When it was discovered 17 years ago it was dubbed 'the discovery of the century'. For security reasons the reliquary was even restored at a secret location, and the restoration process involved extremely specialised techniques. The reliquary is being displayed under the strictest security.