Press Review

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The words "higher taxes for the rich" are splashed across most of today's front pages. The very idea of having different rates of income tax and making the rich pay more in a gesture of solidarity with the poor - just twelve years after the fall of communism - seemed unthinkable only a few weeks ago, says Mlada fronta Dnes. But the devastating floods which recently swept the Czech Republic have changed all that.

The words "higher taxes for the rich" are splashed across most of today's front pages. The very idea of having different rates of income tax and making the rich pay more in a gesture of solidarity with the poor - just twelve years after the fall of communism - seemed unthinkable only a few weeks ago, says Mlada fronta Dnes. But the devastating floods which recently swept the Czech Republic have changed all that.

They changed a great deal more, the paper continues. The floods opened up topics which had been overlooked in the past and which certainly deserve attention. Suddenly Czechs are engaging in heated debates about the level of taxation, they're demanding to know more about serious environmental issues such as the state of the Spolana chemical plant and also safety in the Prague metro system.

The floods have unearthed a great deal that would otherwise have remained undercover - and that at least is a good thing, Mlada fronta Dnes notes. In an exclusive report the paper tells readers about a secret passage leading from the government bunkers on one side of the Vltava river to the former communist headquarters located on the other. The paper claims that it is highly probable that parts of the metro were flooded with water from these passages.

The fact that the metro is linked to other "underground passages" is confirmed by the amount of water pumped out from it, which far exceeds the amount that the metro alone could hold, Mlada fronta Dnes says. Adding to the air of mystery, it carries a statement from the head of the city hall commission investigating the flooding of the metro, who claims that someone is working to cover their tracks and that important information is being withheld.


According to Lidove noviny doctors have reported the first three cases of bacterial disease in connection with the floods. According to medical specialists the next few days will tell how seriously different areas may have been affected since the first symptoms of such diseases appear two to three weeks after exposure to the bacteria. The Czech Republic's chief hygiene officer has once again appealed to the public not to bathe in rivers or use river water for any purpose until all sewage treatment plants have been made operational.


Jan Kavan, former foreign minister and president elect of the 57th UN General Assembly, appears to be in trouble again. Following a great deal of negative publicity over his links with Karel Srba, a secret agent and former foreign ministry official who is now being investigated for corruption and plotting to kill a journalist, Kavan is involved in a fresh scandal. According to Pravo, there are indications of tax evasion in connection with some 300,000 crowns donated towards his senatorial campaign and later found in his private safe at the foreign ministry. Pressed by reporters Mr Kavan said he could not remember whether he'd declared the money and paid the taxes, Pravo says.


Pravo has once again picked up the story about the education minister Petra Buzkova enrolling her daughter Anicka in a private French language school, Prague's Lycee Francaise. Mrs. Buzkova has been severely criticized for this decision by the opposition Civic Democrats, who claim that the education minister acts like a conservative in her private life while preaching social democrat policies to others. Pravo has asked several political analysts for an opinion and they all argue that Mrs. Buzkova's decisions regarding her child's upbringing have nothing to do with her political career and competence as education minister.