All the papers today lead with different stories. LIDOVE NOVINY features a photograph of the legendary Czech singer Hana Hegerova, who celebrated her 72nd birthday at Prague's National Theatre on Monday. PRAVO features a tired and exhausted David Blaine, who spent forty-four days in a glass cage in London with only water to keep him alive. The Czech- born former US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, steals the show in MLADA FRONTA DNES, having been welcomed by hundreds of fans during a book signing in Prague.
The country's leading business daily, HOSPODARSKE NOVINY, looks into all changes in VAT expected to come into effect next year and calculates how they will affect Czech households. Should the government succeed in pushing through the changes in parliament, prices of many goods and services will go up so much that a four-member family could end up spending up to six hundred crowns, that's around 20 US dollars, more per month.
The paper features a chart with all the planned changes. While VAT for basic things like garbage collection, toilet paper, telephone services, and repairing electrical goods will rise from five to twenty-two percent, other goods such as chocolate, chewing gum, coffee and tea will become cheaper, the paper concludes.
PRAVO looks into the results of a public opinion poll conducted by the STEM agency this month, which suggests that the Communist Party currently enjoys more public support than the Social Democrats - the senior partner in the four-party ruling coalition. The paper quotes Social Democrat deputy and Interior Minister Stanislav Gross who says that his party now needs to prove to the people that it means to fulfil its promises. The paper attributes the drop in support to the government's public finance reform plan, which will result in prices of cigarettes, petrol, diesel and alcohol being raised and sick-leave benefits slashed.
Postage stamps with a portrait of Czech President Vaclav Klaus may soon become rare, writes LIDOVE NOVINY. Millions of stamps for 6.40 crowns each were recently printed, but with the distribution of ten and twenty heller coins being discontinued in November, the stamps will become worthless, the paper says. The post office went through with the production of ten million Vaclav Klaus stamps, despite having been informed of the discontinuation of the coins beforehand. Post office customers buy around 1.5 million stamps a month. The post office system could be left with some five million unsold stamps by the end of the month, LIDOVE NOVINY calculates.
And staying with the post office - MLADA FRONTA DNES writes that a record post-office fraud scheme from the 1990s has finally made it to court. The post-office lost forty-two million Czech crowns after several groups of people, all led by one person, submitted forged money orders to Czech post offices. On Monday, legal proceedings were launched against the twenty-nine suspects.