04-04-2001

The leading figures in the Czech sports world have not been getting good publicity lately. Hard on the heels of the Chvalovsky case, the papers report on the arrest of hockey club owner Roman Zubik, who has been accused of credit fraud involving several hundred million Czech crowns.

The coach of the Vsetin hockey club has told the papers that this development will not effect preparations for the upcoming hockey league finals, but one of the players admitted that the club would have a hard time getting by without the club's owner. In any case, the past few weeks have given the public some insight into the staggering amounts of money that sports clubs and associations are able to obtain from banks.

On the Czech political scene, there is heightened tension over the text of a Czech-sponsored UN resolution condemning human rights abuses in Cuba .The dispute over whether or not to include a paragraph that questions the effectiveness of the US imposed sanctions against Cuba has split the Czech political scene down the middle.

Tension is especially high between President Havel and the Foreign Ministry, says LIDOVE NOVINY. The Czech head of state and the Foreign Minister had an argument about this three weeks ago and Foreign Minister Kavan is said to have been infuriated to find that the President's Office had attached "its own man" to the Foreign Ministry delegation that is to attend a session of the UN human rights commission in Geneva, where the wording of the resolution is to be discussed in detail.

The Foreign Minister is clearly insulted by what he sees as intervention from the President's office, says LIDOVE NOVINY, but the President's Office has denied that it is supervising the work of Kavan's team, noting that the presence of a Prague Castle official at the talks merely reflects the President's interest in this particular foreign policy issue.

Another Cabinet minister who is feeling under pressure these days is Defense Minister Vladimir Vetchy, whose days in office may be numbered, according to PRAVO. The Prime Minister is allegedly no longer bothering to refute claims that he plans to recall Vetchy and the media have little to say in his defense.

For a long while Minister Vetchy managed to project a stern, decisive and trustworthy image, giving the public the impression that his ministry was working with the efficiency of a Swiss watch, says HOSPODARSKE NOVINY. It took the media two years to realize that he personally had not held a single press conference and that the military was riddled with problems which it was becoming increasingly difficult to hide.

The Czech Defense Minister is Mr. Nobody, the paper says. Given the fact that this Mr. Nobody is heading a ministry that is slated to spend 45 billion crowns this year it would be a good idea to at least replace him by someone who has a face and is accountable for his decisions, HOSPODARSKE NOVINY concludes.

And finally MLADA FRONTA DNES reports on the unhappy fate of a married couple with a three year old son whose life was wrecked by the news that they were in fact brother and sister. Maria and Vilem, who met through a common friend, had no inkling of the fact that they shared the same mother, who had not bothered to stay in touch for years. She had had several marriages and a number of children, who were all brought up in foster homes or different families. The couple, who unearthed their roots with the help of a third sibling are not even sure how many brothers and sisters they have. They have agreed to live apart but are unable to shake off the fear of how their family genes may effect their little boy's health.

04-04-2001