Press Review

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Two generations of Buzkovas make the front pages today - Petra Buzkova, the new Education Minister, who's pictured welcoming a class of primary school children on their first day of school, and also her daughter Anicka, who spent a nervous first day at Prague's exclusive Lycee Francaise. Ms Buzkova has taken a lot of flak for sending her daughter to a fee-paying school - critics say private education goes against the ethos of the ruling Social Democrats.

Two generations of Buzkovas make the front pages today - Petra Buzkova, the new Education Minister, who's pictured welcoming a class of primary school children on their first day of school, and also her daughter Anicka, who spent a nervous first day at Prague's exclusive Lycee Francaise. Ms Buzkova has taken a lot of flak for sending her daughter to a fee-paying school - critics say private education goes against the ethos of the ruling Social Democrats.


Many classrooms, however, were empty on Monday. Dozens of schools up and down the country were affected by the floods - one of them is Kreslice primary school in North Bohemia. The school, writes Mlada fronta Dnes, was so badly damaged by the floodwater that it will stay closed until next September. The walls are cracked, the ceilings are buckled and torn, and the floors are full of holes. Furniture and equipment - including the school boiler - has been ruined.

Kreslice primary school was already struggling for existence before the floods, says Mlada fronta Dnes. The local education authority wanted to close it down and send the children to the nearby town of Litomerice. Teachers and parents won their battle with the education authority, it says, but lost their battle with the elements. The raging River Elbe tore into the school on the night of August 15th, leaving behind a scene of devastation.


Away from the floods, and Mlada fronta Dnes reports that Ireland has become the first EU country to grant asylum status to Czech Romanies, fleeing what they say is persecution and discrimination at home. The Irish authorities granted asylum to 15 Roma families last year, and another four families have had their asylum claims accepted this year.

The figures have come as a surprise to the Czech authorities, says the paper. The Czech Embassy in Dublin had no idea how many Roma had been granted asylum in Ireland, because the Irish government refused to release the figures. Only yesterday did the Irish government relent, says Mlada fronta Dnes. The news will be disconcerting for the Czech government: so far European Union countries have turned down asylum requests filed by Czech Romanies.


Turning briefly to politics, and Pravo says that former Prime Minister Milos Zeman is making a lot of people nervous in the ruling Social Democrats, the party he led until last year. The paper says that Mr Zeman, currently living life as a pensioner at his cottage in Central Bohemia, has been busy sending messages to party colleagues in Prague. He says he's ready to lend a hand in the campaign for the Senate elections, and is also willing to stand for president.

But this is the last thing that the party wants to hear, says Pravo, explaining that many Social Democrats breathed a sigh of relief when Mr Zeman packed his bags and headed off to the cottage. The new leadership have been carefully re-branding the Social Democrats as a modern, dynamic, image-conscious political force, and the return of Milos Zeman - a chain-smoking, boorish, abusive politician of the old school - would undo all their efforts.


And finally to the tabloid Blesk, and a piece of good news to come out of the floods. Workers demolishing a collapsed house in Prague's flood-ravaged district of Karlin discovered a budgie cowering under a plank of wood. The budgie, shocked but otherwise unharmed, has found temporary refuge in the office of the mayor of Karlin. The mayor told Blesk he was keen to reunite the bird with its owner - "he keeps bothering me at night when I'm trying to work."