Press Review

All the papers today continue to cover the severe floods that hit South Bohemia last week. Lidove noviny warns that if the heavy rains continue, Prague might experience its worst flooding since 1890.

Mlada fronta Dnes looks into the wealth of Czech ministers. Environment Minister Libor Ambrozek is apparently the one with the highest savings in his account. He told the paper that his property includes approximately a million Czech crowns in savings, an average-priced car and a three-bedroom apartment in Prague.

The initiative to reveal information about the new ministers' financial holdings came from the cabinet itself. Speculation about the origin of wealth of some ministers in the previous cabinet inspired the new Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla to ask new government members to fill out a questionnaire openly declaring the extent of their wealth. Mlada fronta Dnes journalists decided to talk to the ministers before the official statements come out.

Monday's Lidove noviny carries an exclusive interview with Ronald Lauder, owner of the American company CME, that originally helped Vladimir Zelezny start TV Nova. In 1999 Lauder's company was cut off by Zelezny in a business move that is still being investigated by the Czech police. Lauder also took the Czech Republic to an international court of arbitration, claiming the country had failed to protect his investment.

It is the first time that Mr Lauder has talked to journalists about the case and his relationship to Vladimir Zelezny. He told the paper that Zelezny used to be a close friend, but the TV Nova chief changed over the years, growing hungry for power. Mr Lauder added that he felt betrayed by Mr. Zelezny and disillusioned by the Czech government.

On its front page Mlada fronta Dnes informs readers that the famous poet and visual artist Jiri Kolar died in Prague on Sunday. The 88-year-old artist was considered one of the most influential figures in Czech modern art in the 20th century and was known worldwide as a pioneer in collage. In 1984, Jiri Kolar received French citizenship but in the 1990s he and his wife returned to the Czech Republic. His artwork has been exhibited all over the world.

According to Pravo, a forester in the Olomouc region has been trying to breed European bisons - a rare animal species that was nearly wiped out in the early 20th century. Stanislav Zlabek started working with the breed five years ago. Now he has four bisons - two of them from a zoo in Chomutov and in the German Rostock. In the future, he plans to buy a few more and eventually increase his herd to ten.

And finally, Hospodarske noviny reports on an initiative by Transport Minister Milan Simonovsky, who is calling for higher fines for drivers. The paper says it is the first time ever that the cabinet has become this concerned with increasing safety on roads to the point where the task has appeared on its agenda. The new minister plans to give the police more power by making it possible for them to suspend licenses of those who ignore the rules of the road.

Author: Kamila Rosolová
run audio