Press Review

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There were no papers on Monday due to the public holiday, and so today's dailies report on Saturday's grisly end to the Moscow hostage crisis. Meanwhile the gale force winds which battered the Czech Republic at the weekend also make headlines today, as well as the first round of the Senate elections, in which only 24 percent of the electorate bothered to vote.

There were no papers on Monday due to the public holiday, and so today's dailies report on Saturday's grisly end to the Moscow hostage crisis. Meanwhile the gale force winds which battered the Czech Republic at the weekend also make headlines today, as well as the first round of the Senate elections, in which only 24 percent of the electorate bothered to vote.

There's not much to say about the elections: only one candidate was elected in the first round and the remaining 26 seats will be decided in a runoff vote. But the pathetic turnout has got commentators thinking, and those thoughts are not very kind. "Senate Ripe For Abolition" says LIDOVE NOVINY in today's leader comment.

Six years after it was created, writes the paper, the upper house has still failed to justify its existence. The democratic chain of checks and balances has one link too many, and the voters know it. It's time to remove that link, and give its powers to a president elected in a direct vote. Obviously no party is ready to admit that now, midway through the Senate elections. But in a week's time, says LIDOVE NOVINY, it should be easier. Who's going to be the first to say it?

President Vaclav Havel handed out dozens of state honours on Monday, a public holiday to mark the 84th anniversary of the foundation of Czechoslovakia. MLADA FRONTA DNES profiles the 77 worthies awarded at Prague Castle, and finds among them a number of interesting choices.

One medal for bravery went to Jaroslav Cesky, the young man who overpowered an aggressive psychopath in the Prague metro in August. Cesky tackled the man and threw him to the ground after he stabbed a policeman and a passer-by on the platform. Other bravery medals went to firemen and police officers for their heroic rescue work during the floods.

Further on in the paper, and it was also a day of celebration for ultra-nationalist and neo-Nazi groups, who traditionally hold rallies on October 28th. But MLADA FRONTA DNES says turnout at this year's meetings was disappointingly low for the far right, which is going through something of an identity crisis.

Two demonstrations in Prague and Ostrava proved that the far right is falling apart, says the paper. The Ostrava meeting, held in a deserted town square, was attended by some 60 skinheads, who were warned of traitors in their midst. Apparently the "traitors" have been feeding the police with unsavoury information. The meeting culminated in a rather inglorious fashion, says MLADA FRONTA DNES - the 60 participants sprinted off as fast their Dr Marten boots would carry them so the police would be unable to follow them to the pub.

And finally a stern lesson for a group of performance artists who burnt copies of the Czech flag on Prague's Wenceslas Square on Monday. They claimed the stunt was intended to draw attention to declining moral standards in Czech society, but as MLADA FRONTA DNES reports, the police acted on their own moral standards and arrested them for defaming a symbol of the Republic.