Press Review

Terrorist attacks in Madrid, photo: CTK

All the Czech dailies dedicate most of their front page space to Thursday's terrorist attacks in the Spanish capital Madrid in which almost 200 people died and around 1,400 were injured. All papers carry photos of the scenes of devastation as well as pictures of rescue workers and medical personnel helping the victims.

Terrorist attacks in Madrid,  photo: CTK
"Terrorists have drowned Madrid in blood", reads a headline in Pravo above photographs of fire fighters rescuing dead bodies from the rubble. On its front page the paper carries an interview with the head of the Czech Republic's intelligence service, Frantisek Bublan. Mr Bublan says that terrorist attacks in the Czech Republic cannot be ruled out as the country is an ally of the United States in the global fight against terrorism. Mr Bublan tells Pravo that international cooperation in the prevention of terrorist attacks is vital and therefore the Czech intelligence exchanges information with around fifty foreign intelligence services.

In an opinion piece on the front page of Lidove Noviny, columnist Petr Zavadil likens Thursday's attacks in Madrid to the events of September 11 in New York. "Spain has learnt that terrorists are becoming more and more treacherous, shameless and dangerous. It is no longer only politicians who can fall victim to a terrorist attack. These days, everybody is a potential target," Petr Zavadil writes in Lidove Noviny.

Mlada Fronta Dnes carries an interview with the Czech ambassador to Madrid, Martin Povejsil. According the embassy's data, there are 200 Czechs living in the Spanish capital but so far there are no reports of Czech casualties. Mr Povejsil explains for Pravo that the building of the Czech embassy was not affected in any way as it lies six kilometres away from the nearest blast. The ambassador also tells the paper that, in his opinion, it is the Basque separatist organisation ETA who is behind the attacks.

Onto other stories, and Pravo reports that a 17-year old student of a secondary military school died on Wednesday while he was shouting abuse at Roma children who were travelling on a train. The youth, who was apparently drunk, was trying to climb onto the train through the window from the platform but as the train started to pick up speed, he fell down on the tracks. His 18-year old friend who witnessed the accident suffered a nervous breakdown and police have been unable to question him.

Dolly Buster,  photo: CTK
Staying with Pravo, and the paper writes that the Czech born porn star Dolly Buster has unexpectedly given up her candidacy for a seat in the European Parliament. Ms Buster, nee Katerina Bochnickova, was supposed to run for a Czech political grouping called the "Independent Initiative". During her brief visit to the Czech Republic, Ms Buster said the Independent Initiative had exploited her. She said the party demanded that if elected, she should give up her seat in favour of the head of the Independent Initiative Richard Knot.

The business daily Hospodarske Noviny gets back to yesterday's report by the European Parliament criticising the Czech Republic over alleged child prostitution at the Czech-German border. The paper writes that the report is based on data provided by the German NGO Karo. The organisation published a comprehensive study last autumn in which it described child prostitution as an everyday reality in the Czech Republic. MEP Juergen Schroeder confirmed on Thursday that this information had not been verified.

"There is no direct evidence but we are very concerned by the indications and allegations", Hospodarske Noviny quotes MEP Juergen Schroeder as saying. The paper says that both Czech police and local activists have denied allegations of widespread child prostitution before and even sent experts to the region to investigate. None of them has found any indication of booming child prostitution in the border region, Hospodarske Noviny reports.