23-05-2001

Today's papers carry details of the shocking revelation which made TV news headlines the previous evening. Domestic violence in the Czech Republic is far higher than anyone ever suspected. The broadest public survey on this topic to date has revealed shocking statistics: 13% of the population has been subjected to long-term physical and psychological abuse.

Volunteer workers at the White Circle Foundation set up to help the victims of violence say the problem of domestic violence has been ignored for so long that the Czech Republic is not prepared to deal with it properly. In the United States neighbours would call the police and a policemen with a social worker would come round. In this country there are no social workers at police stations. A help network will have to be established from scratch.

The controversy over the future of the Temelin nuclear power plant continues -and at present the arguments of both sides center around the Czech Republic's energy needs in coming years. The Czech Industry Ministry claims there will be a steady growth in energy consumption and that the energy generated by Temelin will be a vital necessity for this country.

The environment ministry counters that given the world wide trend of introducing energy-saving technology Temelin will be producing surplus energy, which the Czech Republic may find it hard to sell.

Environment activists claim that the industry ministry has "doctored" the prognosis to suit its needs, and paradoxically, the energy utility CEZ which built and operates Temelin, agrees that the energy consumption prognosis published by the industry ministry is "somewhat unrealistic".

The news that the governing Social Democrats have a party member in their midst who is also a member of the ultra- right wing National Front has come as something of a shock. At Social Democrat headquarters in Brno officials say they had no idea their sixty one year old colleague harboured a life-long admiration for the Nazi philosophy.

Pavel Vitecek himself has done little to ease their obvious embarrassment, stating openly that he believed races should not mix, that a third of the world's population should be eliminated and that the Nazi regime did nothing immoral. We will investigate the matter, the Brno party leadership told journalists.

MLADA FRONTA DNES reports on the shock a family in Ceské Budejovice got when a special police unit raided their flat at 5 a.m. The men were heavily armed, wore masks and yelled at us to lie on the floor face down, says twenty seven year old Alzbeta Kordinova. One of the men pulled back the bed-covers which showed a suspicious looking lump and ended up pointing a gun at the couple's terrified six year old boy.

It took the police several minutes to realize they were in the wrong flat, but Mrs. Kordinova says she will never forget the horror of that morning. They never even bothered to apologize or explain what happened - just disappeared as quickly as they came, the woman told the paper.

And finally PRAVO reports on an unusual case of sexual harassment at the workplace. The Slovak ambassador to Canada allegedly insisted that his secretary give him a smacking kiss on both cheeks as a morning greeting. When the young woman refused to comply he asked the foreign ministry to dismiss her. When the ministry refused to do so he inflicted revenge on the woman's husband making him go out and collect fallen twigs around the embassy building. The report does not say what line the foreign ministry is going to take.

23-05-2001