Press Review

Petra Buzkova, photo: CTK

A mixed bag in the papers today: most mention news that the "Sumperk railway blackmailer" is in police custody after being arrested in a phone booth - he was calling the daily Lidove Noviny with a fresh ransom demand when he was nabbed by police. Also making headlines today: Education Minister Petra Buzkova's failed attempt to avert strike action by teachers on Monday - the first day of the school year.

Petra Buzkova, photo: CTK
A mixed bag in the papers today: most mention news that the "Sumperk railway blackmailer" is in police custody after being arrested in a phone booth - he was calling the daily Lidove Noviny with a fresh ransom demand when he was nabbed by police. Also making headlines today: Education Minister Petra Buzkova's failed attempt to avert strike action by teachers on Monday - the first day of the school year.

Mlada Fronta Dnes reveals that computers belonging to various state bodies are being used to access pornographic websites. The computers include those in the "Internet for Schools" project - despite promises that kids would not be able to access porn from the school computer. Mlada Fronta Dnes managed to obtain a record of visitors over a fortnight to HyperTGP.cz - one of the most popular Czech porn sites, and then traced the IP addresses.

The results are either a deep cause for concern or rather funny, depending on how you look at it. According to the figures published by Mlada Fronta Dnes, soldiers seem to be the nation's most sex-starved public servants: 211 computers belonging to the Defence Ministry were used to access the site. In second place are train drivers - HyperTGP was accessed by 194 computers belonging to Czech Railways. And in third place is the Justice Ministry - 137 of the ministry's computers were used to access porn, says Mlada Fronta Dnes.

But it's the school access which is less amusing. The people behind the "Internet for Schools" project initially promised that access to porn sites would be blocked. Now, says Mlada Fronta Dnes, they've changed their tune, saying it's up to the individual headmasters and headmistresses. The Education Ministry agrees. Teachers and headteachers, meanwhile, are appalled and angry.

Lidove Noviny writes that five Nigerian diplomats are to leave their embassy posts in disgust at the Czech criminal justice system. The paper claims they decided to leave Prague after a man who shot dead one of their colleagues was declared criminally insane, and the murder trial against him was halted.

Their colleague - the embassy's consul Michael Wayid - was shot dead in February by a retired doctor who'd fallen for one of the infamous Nigerian investment letter scams. However a Czech Foreign Ministry official tells Lidove Noviny he believes there is no link between the shooting and the Nigerian diplomats' departure. Pravo carries some interesting comment from former political prisoners under the Communist regime, on the prosecution of the young left-wing activist David Pecha. "Only in prison will he understand what it was like for us" says former poPetra Buzkova, photo: CTKlitical prisoner Bozena Kalvodova. Pecha - a left-wing activist being prosecuted for advocating class struggle and revolutionary communism, faces eight years in prison if found guilty.

Finally back to Mlada Fronta Dnes, and details of Thursday's freak accident in Prague's Hotel Europa. The accident happened in the hotel's ornate art deco café, when more than a hundred kilos of plaster fell off the ceiling and on to the tourists sitting below. Two were injured, neither seriously. But a fireman called to the scene suffered a heart attack, and is now recovering in hospital. The Hotel Europa is once again open for business, says Mlada Fronta Dnes, though - not surprisingly - the café is still closed.