Press Review

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The photo of President Vaclav Havel shaking hands with the US President George W. Bush in front of a fireplace dominates all today's front pages. Mlada fronta Dnes as well as Lidove noviny dedicate a whole page to Mr Havel's visit to the United States which is his last foreign trip before his term ends in four month's time.

The photo of President Vaclav Havel shaking hands with the US President George W. Bush in front of a fireplace dominates all today's front pages. Mlada fronta Dnes as well as Lidove noviny dedicate a whole page to Mr Havel's visit to the United States which is his last foreign trip before his term ends in four month's time.


Mlada fronta Dnes features photos from yesterday's meeting of the two presidents as well as short biographies of the two politicians. Lidove noviny dedicates an article to what it calls Mr Havel's "missionary duty in the modern world", and on a map of the world it marks all the places Mr Havel has visited as President of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic since 1990.


On a similar note, an editorial comment in Mlada fronta Dnes deals with the role played by the President in the Czech political system. The author notes that the debate about new presidential candidates comes at the eleventh hour and it's difficult to say how much support individual nominees can gain outside their own parties. The author also lists some of the constitutional powers enjoyed by the Czech President, saying Vaclav Havel has been using his in a moderate and sober way.


An editorial in Lidove noviny returns to the government crisis which the ruling coalition hope was ended on Wednesday with the signing of a new coalition agreement. "The taming of the shrew", reads the headline, hinting at renegade MP Hana Marvanova who triggered the crisis last Friday when she voted against a government-proposed bill.

The author - in a mock theatre review - compares the affair to a drama, giving it only two stars out of five. The direction of Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla was poor, and Hana Marvanova playing the role of Shakespeare's Katherine was soon replaced by the Freedom Union itself - which was tamed in the end, promising allegiance to the director, Lidove noviny concludes.


Thursday's papers also print identikit drawings of two of the three men who robbed an armoured car transporting 150,000,000 crowns on Monday in Prague. Pravo writes that police made fatal mistakes when they failed to cooperate on a higher level and launch a nation-wide search for the perpetrators of what is described as the biggest robbery in Czech history, thus allowing them to escape, the paper says.

Pravo comments that the men must have had detailed information about the security van's movements. It's likely that they even had professional experience as they knew all the right codes they needed to get to the money. The security agency did not use special containers which stain the money with dye when handled unprofessionally. The banknotes' numbers had not been taken down either, the paper writes.