11-12-2000

The EU summit in Nice which paved the way for EU expansion to the east, and the arrest of escaped criminal Jiri Kajinek are the top headlines in the Czech newspapers today. On the international front, the papers pay attention to what seem to be the last stages in the struggle for the US presidency and to the resignation of Israeli Premier Ehud Barak.

PRAVO brings an interview with Libor Lochman, the head of the police special anti-terrorist unit which arrested the escaped prisoner, Jiri Kajinek. Lochman says that preparation of the operation took four hours but was all over in 40 seconds. He adds that although Kajinek was an exceptional case in some ways, the special squad conducts around thirty similar operations a year.

After recent hacker attacks against the websites of the Czech Police and the Ministry of Interior, HOSPODARSKE NOVINY has conducted a survey among Czech state institutions to find out how secure their web servers were. To the relief of ordinary citizens, the newspaper concludes that there is no danger of intruders acquiring private data, as most of the state institutions have web servers separated from internal networks. Besides that, publicly accessible online databases are just mirrors, so that in case of a malicious attack, it is no problem to put everything back in order quickly.

MLADA FRONTA DNES reminds its readers that thirty years ago, the Czechoslovak Communist Party toughened its totalitarian regime. In a major ideological document approved on December 11, 1970, the party justified the brutal suppression of democratic reform attempts. Among other things the document said that the press and other media were a crucial ideological instrument and must never get out of the control of the Communist Party. As MLADA FRONTA DNES points out, this policy was adopted 22 years and one day after the signing of the UN Declaration of Human Rights which guarantees the freedom of speech.

LIDOVE NOVINY carries a photograph of a mobile telephone shop with a long queue of people outside. While a few years ago, Czechs had to line up for exotic fruit before Christmas, this year, it's mobile phones they are after, the paper writes. Some ten thousand mobile phones reportedly sell every day and the three Czech mobile operators expect that after New Year, four out of the eleven million Czechs will have a mobile.

And staying with Christmas shopping, ZEMSKE NOVINY writes that what is supposed to be joy and fun might easily turn into a nightmare. The paper quotes officials from the Czech Trade Inspection Office. They warn against malicious practices of dishonest retailers who try to use Christmas to get rid of bad quality or old goods. Although the Office can deal with some unlawful practices, disputes between customers and retailers must usually be judged by the court, which often takes several years. So be careful and always ask for a receipt, ZEMSKE NOVINY advises.

11-12-2000