Press Review

Lubomir Volenik (Foto: CTK)

The front pages of the Czech dailies today offer a mixed bag of photos and reports. Lidove Noviny takes a religious note on its page one: it has a large photo of Pope John Paul II, who is currently in Croatia on his one hundredth foreign trip. But where Lidove Noviny goes for religion, Pravo follows with pop culture - and a picture of the Czech Republic's current Miss Universe Katerina Smrzova, who came seventh in the Miss Universe Contest held in Panama on Monday.

The front pages of the Czech dailies today offer a mixed bag of photos and reports. Lidove Noviny takes a religious note on its page one: it has a large photo of Pope John Paul II, who is currently in Croatia on his one hundredth foreign trip. But where Lidove Noviny goes for religion, Pravo follows with pop culture - and a picture of the Czech Republic's current Miss Universe Katerina Smrzova, who came seventh in the Miss Universe Contest held in Panama on Monday.

Lubomir Volenik, photo: CTK
All of the front pages, however, do report on the death of Lubomir Volenik, the head of the country's auditing office, the Supreme Control Office. He died of a heart attack on Thursday during a business trip to Denmark. Pravo's commentator Jiri Hanak writes that Mr Volenik was one of the Czech Republic's most respected public servants, and that he was never surrounded by any scandals during his ten years as president of the office.

All of the newspapers also give extensive coverage to European Union matters, in anticipation of next week's referendum on the Czech Republic's accession to the EU. Mlada Fronta Dnes wrtites that the latest polls show that 82 per cent of Czechs will vote "yes" for EU membership. And the newspaper also reports on the Czech Republic's neighbour, Poland, where a referendum on EU membership is taking place this weekend.

Hospodarske Noviny carries an interview with diplomat Pavel Telicka, the Czech Republic's ambassador to the EU. Mr Telicka tells the paper that no one should expect the Czech Republic to be a heaven on earth after it enters the EU. But, he says, there will of course be many advantages to EU membership: the Czech Republic will receive more than it contributes to the EU budget, and there will be good opportunities for business, work and study.

Lidove Noviny's front page reports on Petr Pavek, the mayor of the northern Bohemian village of Jindrichovice pod Smrkem. Although his village - with a population of 650 - is small, it has big ambitions: the mayor wants to build a "small Oxford" there. The paper reports that Mr Pavek plans to establish an international university in his village for around one hundred students, who would study molecular biology and information technology.

Lidove Noviny also has a special insert on the first one hundred days of Vaclav Klaus' presidency. Opinion polls published in the newspaper indicate that the president's popularity is rising: in April this year it stood at 60 per cent. Vaclav Klaus tells the newspaper that while the post of president is a tough one, his hardest function ever was as Minister of Finance.

And now he also has a new car to look forward to. Mlada Fronta Dnes reports that President Klaus may be driven around from next year in a car produced in the Czech Republic. The Skoda car factory in Mlada Boleslav plans to produce a special limousine for the president, whose official car is currently an Audi.