Press review

03-03-2004

The massacre in Iraq fills the front pages of all dailies, with Lidove Noviny describing it as the worst day since the end of the war. There are horrifying reports by foreign correspondents and speculation regarding who is directly responsible for the efforts to bring about a civil war.

The massacre in Iraq, photo: CTKThe massacre in Iraq, photo: CTK On the home front, the murder of a teacher by his 16 year old student remains at the centre of attention. The tragedy has sparked a debate on the growing incidence of violence at Czech schools and many teachers are demanding adequate protection. Mlada Fronta Dnes has a picture of the youth being taken into custody with his face hidden -in line with a new law that requires the police and media to keep secret the identity of juvenile offenders.

Although the youth himself has reportedly refused to say what led to the attack the papers have interviewed his parents and classmates to try to throw some light on the tragic incident. According to the boy's classmates the teacher had often ridiculed him in front of the whole class. His parents agree with this version saying their son had complained about that particular teacher for weeks but that they had had no idea how serious things really were. He must have just cracked under the pressure, the boy's father said, adding that of course that was no excuse for physical violence.

Meanwhile, teachers' trade unions are demanding some form of protection for staff. Young people are increasingly aggressive, trade union leader Frantisek Dobsik told the paper, they bring knives and other weapons to school and often verbally insult teachers. There are proposals for schools to have weapons detectors and child psychologists.

The children's hospital MotolThe children's hospital Motol In today's Pravo Jiri Hanak slams the government for not providing the Motol Hospital - the largest children's hospital in the Czech Republic with the money for a badly needed reconstruction. He pours scorn on the government's claim that it simply cannot spare the 5 billion crowns needed.

It is not surprising that there's no money to spare, Hanak says. After all, the state paid out ten billion crowns for not protecting Central European Media Enterprises' investment in the Czech Republic and tens of billions more on lost savings in banking institutions that no one watched over. Moreover the Cabinet is now debating a purchase of government aircraft for seven billion crowns, Hanak says, noting that the butts of politicians would probably have calluses if they had to fly with commercial airlines for a while.

It is high time for our politicians to get off their high horse and consider the real priorities for a change, the author says. The children's hospital is in a dilapidated state and needs immediate attention. If anything is a priority then this is it, Hanak writes.

03-03-2004

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