Press Review

Le cardinal Tomas Spidlik, photo: CTK

A hitherto unknown MP is the big star of today's dailies. Opposition Civic Democrat deputy Petr Kott is under pressure to leave the lower house and resign from the party after missing a crucial vote in parliament because he was drunk. Also making the front pages today - the Czech women's basketball team who took the silver in Sunday's European Championships, and the Reverend Tomas Spidlik, one of the 31 new cardinals appointed by the Pope on Sunday.

Tomas Spidlik, photo: CTK
A hitherto unknown MP is the big star of today's dailies. Opposition Civic Democrat deputy Petr Kott is under pressure to leave the lower house and resign from the party after missing a crucial vote in parliament because he was drunk. Also making the front pages today - the Czech women's basketball team who took the silver in Sunday's European Championships, and the Reverend Tomas Spidlik, one of the 31 new cardinals appointed by the Pope on Sunday.

But let's start with the unfortunate Mr Kott. Few had heard of the Civic Democrat MP - an ear, nose and throat specialist from Liberec - before Friday's vote of no-confidence. Now, says MLADA FRONTA DNES, he's been catapulted into the spotlight. Mr Kott managed to make the morning's vote of no-confidence, but by midday he was so drunk that he missed the third reading of the government's package of public finance reforms.

Mr Kott was unavailable for comment, writes MLADA FRONTA DNES, and colleagues say he's since suffered a nervous breakdown. The incident has highlighted a serious problem, says the paper: binge drinking in parliament. With a subsidised bar offering beers, wines and spirits at a fraction of their normal price, and no ban on alcohol inside the lower house itself, Mr Kott's case is the latest in a series of drink-related scandals involving MPs, says MLADA FRONTA DNES.

PRAVO leads with a distressing case from the Moravian city of Olomouc. A police investigation has been launched after a baby was decapitated during a premature birth. The tragedy happened as doctors fought to save the life of the baby's mother. A spokesman for the hospital told PRAVO the baby had become trapped during delivery and was choking to death.

When the doctors realised that the baby could not be saved, says PRAVO, their priority was to save the life of the mother, and it was then that the baby was decapitated. An independent inquiry has been set up to establish why - if doctors knew beforehand the birth would be a difficult one - they had not performed a Caesarean section.

Meanwhile LIDOVE NOVINY reports on the Reverend Tomas Spidlik, one of the 31 cardinals appointed by the Pope this weekend. Reverend Spidlik, a Czech-born Jesuit priest who's lived in exile for more than 50 years, is 83, and therefore no longer eligible to be a "cardinal elector" - a cardinal who can enter a conclave to elect a new Pope. The total number of cardinals now rises to 195.

And finally back to MLADA FRONTA DNES, and an interview with mushroom hunter and composer Vaclav Halek. Believe it or not Mr Halek draws his inspiration from the "song" of his mushrooms, and has over 2,000 compositions to prove it. Mr Halek shares with the paper the secret of his success.

Early in the morning, says MLADA FRONTA DNES, he heads off into the woods with the traditional mushroom picker's basket and a note pad and pen. He sits down by a mushroom, asks it for some musical inspiration, and then writes down the notes on a musical scale. "All I do is write down the tunes that the mushroom sings to me," Vaclav Halek tells MLADA FRONTA DNES. What he doesn't say is whether magic mushrooms make psychedelic music.