Press Review

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All of today's newspapers lead with the story of Mlada fronta Dnes journalist Sabina Slonkova and Karel Srba, former secretary at the Foreign Ministry, who was accused of hiring a contract killer to murder Slonkova. Several major newspapers also comment on Brno-based tractor manufacturer Zetor which plans to lay off some 650 employees this autumn.

All of today's newspapers lead with the story of Mlada fronta Dnes journalist Sabina Slonkova and Karel Srba, former secretary at the Foreign Ministry, who was accused of hiring a contract killer to murder Slonkova. Several major newspapers also comment on Brno-based tractor manufacturer Zetor which plans to lay off some 650 employees this autumn.

Staying with economic affairs, Mlada fronta Dnes reports that the fall in the stock markets in the U.S. is also going to affect Czechs who have invested their money into domestic unit trust funds. The bankruptcy of American firms such as Enron or WorldCom has resulted in increased distrust among global investors and that, in turn, has generated a response in world markets, the domestic one included. Thus, the majority of domestic trust funds have been experiencing serious losses amounting to 10-20%.

Another case that the papers didn't leave unnoticed is the lawsuit filed by human rights organisation Liberty against British immigration policies at Prague's Ruzyne airport. The case opened yesterday in London and it is expected that it will take several weeks for the verdict to be announced.

If the judge confirms that the immigration controls discriminate against Romanies, the measures adopted in Prague will need to be cancelled. Besides that, such verdict could stir up the entire British immigration and asylum system, Mlada fronta Dnes writes. According to Lidove noviny, the new Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda has no intention of intervening and asking for the controversial British policy to be changed.

The new Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla is going to use eight advisors, Lidove noviny writes. Mr. Spidla will keep none of the members of the controversial team of advisors that the former Primer Minister Milos Zeman employed. Although the names of the new advisors have not been announced yet, Mr. Spidla has a clear idea of who he wants to work with. It will be not only knowledgeable professionals but also people with no record of collaboration with the Communists.

Lidove noviny carries a story on the dispute between the Czech presidential office and the French weekly Marianne, which apparently distorted Vaclav Havel's comments on his relationship with the Communist Party. According to the interview published by Marianne yesterday, Vaclav Havel said that he believed the Czech Communist Party presented no danger for the future. Ladislav Spacek, Mr. Havel's spokesman, denied the president had made such a statement, explaining that Mr. Havel had not softened his opposition to the Communists.

Hospodarske noviny reports that the Christian Democrats are once again trying to push for new legislation that would ban cigarette ads. A similar attempt occurred prior to the elections but the proposal didn't go through. 'This time, the chances are higher', Jiri Janecek, the author of the proposal, says. If adopted, the new law would come into effect in 2004, which would give tobacco companies enough time to prepare for it. In general, what is likely to be expected in such a case is less money on advertising and less money going into sponsoring.

On a different note, Mlada fronta Dnes comments on the situation in Moravian towns and villages which suffered from serious flooding last week. As the days go by, people no longer seem to feel the solidarity that united them shortly after their homes were flooded, but instead they are infected with feelings of envy as they watch their neighbours closely to see whether they received more in humanitarian aid than they deserved.

And finally, Pravo writes about four Czech citizens who were arrested in Kashmir last Friday for catching butterflies. They were given a fine amounting to more than a hundred U.S. dollars and their equipment, together with a haul of 27 rare butterflies, has been confiscated.

Author: Kamila Rosolová
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