Press Review

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On their front pages, all the Czech newspapers today feature two photos- one of Vladimir Zelezny, director of the highly successful commercial station TV Nova, and another one showing the famous Scottish actor Sean Connery, who arrived in Prague on Sunday to film in the Czech Republic. Also a draft policy statement of the ruling Social Democrats, who are trying to form a majority government with the centre-right Coalition, is widely discussed by the papers on Monday.

On their front pages, all the Czech newspapers today feature two photos- one of Vladimir Zelezny, director of the highly successful commercial station TV Nova, and another one showing the famous Scottish actor Sean Connery, who arrived in Prague on Sunday to film in the Czech Republic. Also a draft policy statement of the ruling Social Democrats, who are trying to form a majority government with the centre-right Coalition, is widely discussed by the papers on Monday.

Lidove noviny repots that a week-long battle for TV Nova has come to an end - in his regular weekend programme, director Vladimir Zelezny indicated that he might leave his post in Nova. Zelezny's statement came after a week-long marathon of negotiations with his former lawyer, Ales Rozehnal and Jiri Smejc from MEF Holding, the company that finances the station. The last round of talks ended on Friday, and reportedly the two sides have come to an agreement.

The negotiations will produce a joint statement which should bring the row to an end within the next few days, writes Lidove noviny. It adds that Mr. Zelezny is now a mere rank-and-file employee at Nova. However, the paper has been informed that Vladimir Zelezny is likely to become the director of Nova's sister TV station in Slovakia, Joj TV.

'Companies are looking forward to the day when the Czech Republic joins the EU more than ordinary citizens', reads a headline in today's Hospodarske noviny. The paper refers to a recent survey carried out by Bank Austria Creditanstalt in the Czech Republic and other candidate countries. The vast majority of Czech company managers are convinced that EU membership will have a positive influence on the country's economy, while the same view is shared by only 50 percent of ordinary people.

Ferdinand Lacina from Bank Austria told the paper that the result had not come as a surprise - in Austria the situation before EU entry was pretty much the same, he noted. Czech managers' EU enthusiasm is mainly linked to their expectations for the removal of the many bureaucratic barriers they currently face - for instance in exports and imports of goods. Czech managers are the third biggest fans of EU membership, behind Poles and Bulgarians.

Mlada fronta Dnes speculates over a possible majority government formed between the Social Democrats, who won last weekend's general election, and the centre-right Coalition. The paper writes that if the Coalition accepts the Social Democrats' left-oriented programme, it will have to give up a number of promises it made to its voters. For instance - it would have to agree with child benefits for all families or regulated rent.

On the other hand, the paper says, the Social Democrat programme so far is comprised of many promises, concerning mainly the social sphere. The party leader, Vladimir Spidla plans to improve the present system and introduce new benefits. For instance children would get an annual contribution to buy school utensils and advantageous bank loans for newly-weds would be re-introduced. But for all this, the state will need more money, that's why there are no plans to reduce taxes, notes Mlada fronta Dnes.

And finally, Pravo reports on Friday's severe weather in East Bohemia. Although it lasted for just several minutes, it caused damage amounting to millions of crowns and left many homes without electricity, which was only switched on today. Fire brigades were called out to pump water from cellars and remove fallen trees that blocked roads and railway lines. Pravo features a photo of a handful of hailstones, some of them as big as cherries.