13-12-2000

Today's LIDOVE NOVINY brings a shocking revelation about escaped convict Jiri Kajinek, who was re-captured last Friday after forty days on the run. While police officials claimed they had the flat in Prague where Kajinek was hiding under surveillance for two weeks prior to his arrest, the newspaper discovered that the dangerous criminal went shopping several times during this period, wearing a not-so-cunning disguise of sunglasses.

At first, the police claimed that Kajinek never left the house, but admitted to LIDOVE NOVINY that the convicted murderer was not under constant surveillance, even though the police knew his whereabouts.

MLADA FRONTA DNES brings good news: the lower house of parliament has approved a new law that cuts income tax as of next year. The paper calculates that an average family with two small kids will now pay over a thousand Czech crowns less per annum. Another benefit is that life insurance can be deducted from income tax. However, as MLADA FRONTA DNES warns, people should not get overexcited, as the decrease in taxes will be completely offset by price deregulations next year.

Today's PRAVO comments on the election of the Czech Republic's first-ever ombudsman, and parliament's failure to elect his deputy. The newspaper claims it is paradoxical that the senior opposition Civic Democratic Party of former Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus nominated a candidate for the post, but in 1995 Klaus's government claimed there was no need for an ombudsman, and in the following years the party twice blocked the ombudsman law. The party's candidate for deputy ombudsman was himself one of the law's fiercest opponents, PRAVO points out.

ZEMSKE NOVINY looks at the unseasonably warm weather we've been having lately in the Czech Republic. In the past, women used to talk about preparations for Christmas during December, but now they talk about fresh flowers in their gardens, the paper writes. It quotes gardeners as saying that the warm and humid weather is fooling plants into blooming, which could be dangerous if we have a sudden frost, especially for fruit trees.

On the same topic, SLOVO writes that temperatures are around six degrees higher than what used to be normal for this time of year. It also reports on ornithologists' worries about birds that have not yet migrated South, as they still have to plenty to eat in the Czech countryside.

The business daily HOSPODARSKE NOVINY predicts that despite promising developments in the construction sector, two thirds of Czech construction companies, mainly the smaller ones, are likely to go out of business in 2001, and make around 6 thousand people redundant in the process. The Association of Construction Companies claims that this is inevitable as the Czech Republic approaches EU standards.

13-12-2000