The front pages of the major Czech newspapers are today a potpourri of reports on hockey, weather, SARS, mad cow disease, taxes and Iraq. Lidove noviny and Mlada fronta Dnes both have big colour photos from the ice hockey game in Helsinki on Monday, when the Czech Republic and Slovakia tied three all. Pravo, on the other hand, includes a picture of Czech and Slovak cooperation, with Defence Minister Jaroslav Tvrdik reviewing the joint Czech and Slovak chemical unit stationed in Kuwait.
Opinion pieces in the Czech newspapers today are asking whether President Vaclav Klaus is anti-American or not. In Pravo, Martin Hekrdla writes that the Czech president is being labelled as such because of his opposition to the American-led war in Iraq, and to his recent statements against the deployment of foreign troops in the Czech Republic. Although the president's position is in line with Czech public opinion, Martin Hekrdla writes that it is strange because Mr Klaus has in the past lauded the American economic system and way of life - and did so again last weekend at an economics conference in Munich.
The United States may have the strongest economy in the world, but the Czech crown has been showing some muscle lately, and it is now at a six year high against the US dollar. According to Mlada fronta Dnes, this means that petrol and computers will become cheaper for Czechs, as will holidays to destinations where the US dollar is used. To put it in figures, one US dollar is now worth only twenty eight Czech crowns - while three years ago it bought you around thirty eight!
Lidove noviny reports that parliamentarians from the governing coalition want to introduce a fixed voting schedule into parliament's lower house. This would allow them to make sure that no parliamentarians are absent when there is a key vote on major legislation - something that is often required considering that the ruling coalition has a one vote majority. Although parliamentarians have had the right to request fixed dates for voting for a number of years, they have so far not exercised it so much.
You may recall a story that we covered in April on Iraqi woman Salia J. Khalaf, who came to the Czech Republic to seek medical care for her two year old son Hassan. They were, however, denied entry into the country despite having a valid visa, which sparked angry protests from human rights activists and criticism of the foreign police. Well, the two returned to the Czech Republic in late April, and Mlada fronta Dnes reports that Hassan Chalaf has been receiving medical treatment for his cerebral palsy, and his aunt tells the newspaper that his health is improving.
The Czechs have reached Antarctica, and will now be able to play a role in deciding what can happen on the unspoilt continent. Hospodarske noviny writes that the Czech Republic will be constructing a research station in Antarctica, thereby joining the seventy countries that are already conducting scientific research there. As soon as the station begins to operate, the Czech Republic can apply to join the committees and institutions concerned with the continent.
And some Czechs may want to retreat to the coolness of Antarctica this week, as the Czech Republic will be experiencing tropical temperatures. Pravo reports that until Friday a lot of places around the country can expect temperatures of up to thirty one degrees, with a combination of sunny weather and also storms. The warmest day is likely to be Thursday, when Czechs will have a public holiday marking Liberation Day.