Press Review

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The Moscow theatre hostage crisis dominates all the dailies today - news that Chechen rebels are holding hundreds of theatregoers in Moscow's Palace of Culture is splashed across the front pages, accompanied by photos of Russian security forces arriving outside the building.

The Moscow theatre hostage crisis dominates all the dailies today - news that Chechen rebels are holding hundreds of theatregoers in Moscow's Palace of Culture is splashed across the front pages, accompanied by photos of Russian security forces arriving outside the building.

But MLADA FRONTA DNES also reports on a minor security alert in Prague on Wednesday, an incident which police are treating as suspicious. Shortly before 6 am on Wednesday morning, a car pulled up outside the Israeli embassy and stopped in front of the security barriers. When the embassy's security guards approached the car, the driver - whom the paper describes as "a foreign man of Arab origin" - locked the doors and began making strange gestures. The guards immediately called the police, who arrived with a bomb disposal squad.

No explosives were found in the vehicle, says MLADA FRONTA DNES, and police are now investigating two scenarios. Either the man was drunk and having difficulty turning the car round, or Arab terrorists were testing the embassy's security. "At the moment we're leaning towards the second scenario," said an officer working on the case. For now the man - identified only as "Abdul" - has been charged with drink driving and refusing to co-operate with the police.

Meanwhile LIDOVE NOVINY reports on the ruling Social Democrats' bizarre "referendum" to choose a candidate for president. The party is asking members of the public to decide who the Social Democrats should put up for president, but the so-called "referendum" is something of a joke, says the paper.

For one thing, says LIDOVE NOVINY, it's possible to vote more than once. The paper's reporter was not asked for any means of identification when she arrived at the party's "polling booth" in Prague. And even if the poll was free and fair, it says, the results are meaningless, because the referendum isn't binding. The Social Democrat leadership have said only that the public's choice will be "taken seriously."

Moving on to something more serious, and PRAVO reports on the ongoing dispute surrounding the wrapping of doughnuts. Yes, you heard correctly, doughnuts. A recent change to Czech law stipulates that doughnuts - and most other pastry - must be wrapped in packaging before they appear on the shelves, to avoid being handled by customers. The change was justified as bringing Czech law into line with the EU's strict guidelines on hygiene.

It's doughnuts which have caught the imagination of the Czech public, though, and many shop-owners and doughnut-lovers are up in arms at this latest case of Brussels madness. Or is it? says PRAVO. The paper contacted the European Commission, and found that EU regulations demand nothing of the sort. PRAVO says doughnut wrapping is simply a case of the Czech government trying to appear whiter than white in the eyes of the EU.