05-12-2000

There's to be a respite in the war between the cabinet and the president over the new central bank governor. The president has won the first round, says Mlada Fronta Dnes. For the time being the cabinet is going to respect the legitimacy of the new governor's appointment and hopefully the crown will finally stabilize on the news. "But what will happen once the Constitutional Court passes verdict?" asks Pravo. "The conflict has only been shelved, and that's no great achievement," says Jiri Franek, who blames the prime minister for not having seen the wisdom of accepting Zdenek Tuma on a permanent basis. At this point, an astute politician would have recognized the wisdom of not rocking the boat any further, says Pravo's news analyst.

Despite its possible serious consequences for the economy, the battle over the new governor has become something of a farce. Slovo sports a front-page cartoon showing the president and the prime minister having a heated argument. "So you're threatening me are you?" says Vaclav Havel. "Dasa, come over here!" This is a reference to the fact that the First Lady Dagmar is fiercely protective of her husband and has entered the fray over the new governor herself, calling the finance minister "the biggest liar in the world" and saying she'd never shake hands with either him or the prime minister because of how they have treated her husband.

Who on Earth thought of feeding cattle meat and bone meal from diseased cattle, asks Zemske Noviny. Whoever it was, all of Europe seems to be doing it and we're all about to pay the price, the paper continues. Today Europeans are panicked and no amount of politicians shown tasting steaks on TV will help. Mankind often ignores Nature on its quest for technological achievement and once in a while Nature teaches us a lesson, the paper concludes.

A great many angels, devils and St. Nicolases will be roaming the streets tonight handing out little presents to children who have been good and teaching the naughty ones a lesson or two. The papers all have something to say about this tradition, and popular as it may be in this country, not all the papers think it is a good idea. "Think twice about letting your three-year-old deal with the trauma of meeting the devil," says Slovo. Some of them give a very convincing act that leaves younger children utterly petrified. Your child could suffer nightmares for months or even develop a stutter as a result of the shock, the paper warns.

But to give devils their due, Zemske Noviny reports on one past devil who saved a drunk from freezing in a snow-covered ditch. Unfortunately, the drunk was still pretty confused when he came to and seeing the devil's face close up, he made a run for it, breaking an arm in the process. All said and done, the trios wandering around town get little thanks for their effort; Slovo says that some of the older kids have started getting their revenge for past frights by throwing bangers under the Devils' feet. Bangers have been known not only to injure the rulers of hell, but also make life difficult for drivers as by 7 pm many Prague streets are strewn with them. So, the paper's advice is, if you're a sensitive person stay away from the fun and games.

05-12-2000