Press Review

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All the Czech newspapers today carry photos from Monday's plane crash in southern Germany, in which 71 passengers, mostly Russian children going on holiday in Spain, died. Another photo featured on front pages of all the papers is that of American millionaire Steve Fossett, who on Tuesday became the first man to fly round the globe alone in a balloon.

All the Czech newspapers today carry photos from Monday's plane crash in southern Germany, in which 71 passengers, mostly Russian children going on holiday in Spain, died. Another photo featured on front pages of all the papers is that of American millionaire Steve Fossett, who on Tuesday became the first man to fly round the globe alone in a balloon.

On the domestic pages, it's the current talks between the victorious Social Democrats and the right-of-centre Christian Democrats and Freedom Union aimed at forming a new cabinet, that dominate today's papers. Lidove noviny reports that complications which occurred on Tuesday between the negotiating teams have been warded off. The paper writes that reports that had been leaked from the negotiations had indicated that some Freedom Union members' unwillingness to form a government together with left-of-centre Social democrats.

But Tuesday's meeting of the national Freedom Union leadership approved the way the party's negotiators were conducting the coalition talks. The party leader, Hana Marvanova, told Lidove noviny that her party was not trying to slow down the negotiations. But the paper notes that with many disputed issues already settled, there are now three principal matters that remain unresolved - the state budget deficit, child benefit and property declarations for the rich.

Mlada fronta Dnes reports that the euro is slowly coming to Czech shops. What used to be common in border areas only, is now spreading to the rest of the country: foreign tourists and Czechs who saved euros during their holidays abroad and don't want to change them, may now pay with euros in many Czech shops. This is the case in a chain of food supermarkets Delvita, and the Ahold company, another food supermarket network, is also considering doing the same thing.

Delvita's representative said that it is advantageous to accept euros now, during summer holidays, when there are crowds of foreign tourists heading to the Czech Republic, adding that a similar situation occurs around Christmas. And so, even in the Czech Republic, where the official currency is the Czech crown, one can pay with the new European currency. But - beware - warns the paper, the exchange rate might be highly disadvantageous for your purse!

Pravo points to the fact, that some new members of parliament will be employing their own relatives as assistants. This is the case of Svatopluk Karasek, an evangelical parson elected as an independent, who disclosed that his wife will help him two days a week.

Mr. Karasek said that he also intended to employ another aide and a secretary, and will divide 23,000 crowns among these three people. He told the paper that his wife had been doing all the secretarial work for him for more than three years and that they're a good team. Mr. Karasek said the leader of the party Hana Marvanova knew about his intention and did not object.

The Dalai Lama had an hour-long meditation with president Havel, reads a headline in today's Hospodarske noviny. The paper reports that the Tibetan spiritual leader, who is currently on a visit tot the Czech Republic, met the Czech president in his private villa in Prague.

The Dalai Lama arrived in Prague on Saturday to attend a conference of representatives of world religions. His visits to the Czech Republic always stir controversial reactions in the country: while some call on China to comply with the human rights, others warn that his visits jeopardize Czech-Chinese trade relations, concludes Hospodarske noviny.