Press Review

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Various stories make the covers of the Czech dailies today: Mlada fronta Dnes features a pretty picture of Czech Super model Eva Herzigova holding two babies as part of a planned charity event for Czech orphanages, while Hospodarske noviny features more sobering news that the world is witnessing massive rearmament in response to last year's September 11th attacks. In related news Thursday saw the last remaining pieces of the World Trade Centre removed in a special ceremony in New York, prompting cover photographs of heroic NYC fire-fighters in both Pravo and Lidove noviny.

Various stories make the covers of the Czech dailies today: Mlada fronta Dnes features a pretty picture of Czech Super model Eva Herzigova holding two babies as part of a planned charity event for Czech orphanages, while Hospodarske noviny features more sobering news that the world is witnessing massive rearmament in response to last year's September 11th attacks. In related news Thursday saw the last remaining pieces of the World Trade Centre removed in a special ceremony in New York, prompting cover photographs of heroic NYC fire-fighters in both Pravo and Lidove noviny.

But we start with domestic news and opinion polls are once again dominant as the general elections draw near: Mlada fronta Dnes writes that while Vaclav Klaus's opposition Civic Democrats are still in front with 28.7 percent, if the elections were held tomorrow, Vladimir Spidla's ruling Social Democrats would come a close second, with almost 27 percent.

The paper writes that many of the Czech Republic's undecided voters are now being drawn by the Social Democrats, which should make the race in just over two week's time a nail-biter. The latest poll also shows that the Communist Party has drawn level with the two-party Coalition, who can't be happy about their numbers, down at just under 16 percent.

There will certainly be no escape from politics in the coming weeks as general elections loom, and Hospodarske noviny look at the lighter side of the upcoming political contest in its Friday edition: the paper writes that some political ads currently running on TV have unintentionally, or otherwise, contained advertising.

The tiny Civic Democratic Alliance has innocently featured a major shopping centre complex in its "man in the street" ads, while one small non-parliamentary party is purposely running well-known brands in a parody of Prime Minister Milos Zeman and opposition leader Vaclav Klaus.

That's right - anyone with any knowledge of the Czech political scene will know Mr Zeman is partial to the popular herbal bitter Becherovka, while Mr Klaus, an avid tennis player, favours a certain type of tennis racket: both are featured in the ads. Hospodarske noviny says that while hidden advertising is normally banned, election campaigns fall under the election law, and are the sole responsibility of individual political parties.

According to the paper if politicians spoke in vulgar language in their ads broadcast, say, during the day, nobody would be held responsible. Well, let's hope things don't go as far as all that.

And today's Lidove noviny also features politics and a Terminator-like message from Jan Kasl "I'll be back" says the former mayor who resigned on Tuesday; Mr Kasl added that he'll bring his own people with him next time.

The paper says Mr Kasl is planning to run in local elections, although now that he has left the Civic Democrats, he is not planning on joining another party. Mr Kasl expressed the hope that he would be able to return to city hall and "open the place up, break current bonds, and get new people in". In past months the former mayor made repeated allegations about corruption at Prague's city hall, and recently handed over documents in several cases to the police.

Moving on now, if you're interested in a human interest piece then this might get your attention "Alone among men" - that's the title of an extended article in Lidove noviny's weekend supplement focusing on how Czech women have made in-roads into some traditionally male-dominated professions, in everything from truck driving to flying passenger planes, conducting music and fighting in the army.

The profile of one twenty-three year old truck driver is particularly captivating: a young woman who says she first operated a crane at the age of five. Today she drives a 22-ton truck the paper magazine describes simply as "a monster". Interestingly, the outside of the truck features an air-brushed female nude. The paper also writes that when she's driving she listens to country music, and sports a cowboy hat.

Moving on we turn to sport and Friday sees the start of football's World Cup. Although the Czech Republic failed to qualify, interest is still very high and Mlada fronta Dnes writes that sports bars in Prague will open in the morning when many of the matches will be broadcast.

But there's another sporting event on Friday that also promises to captivate a great many Czechs: a do-or-die NHL hockey match featuring Colorado vs the Detroit Red Wings. Czech goalie and future hall-of-famer Dominik Hasek plays for Detroit, and a win for his team on Friday would keep his dreams alive of getting to the prestigious Stanley Cup Final. Hasek has only ever appeared in one final with the Buffalo Sabres, but has yet to win the much-coveted cup.