24-05-2001

Most of the Czech newspapers today feature a photo of one of the best ice-hockey players in the world, and the highest paid Czech sportsman, Jaromir Jagr, whose NHL team, the Pittsburgh Penguins, has been knocked out of the Stanley Cup. Jagr is quoted as saying that he was leaving the Penguins, but looking forward to start a new season under a different coach.

On a different note - LIDOVE NOVINY reports that the European Union has put together a list of 'banned professions' for people from EU candidate countries. As a result, East European citizens trained as nurses, builders and social workers - to name but a few - will have no chance of seeking a job in Germany and Austria for up to seven years after the Czech Republic has joined the EU.

Martin Zverina says in his commentary that these two countries should stop telling us that they are protecting Eastern Europe from a brain drain. If they build such barriers for the future EU members, they should not be surprised that support for EU membership in candidate countries has been dropping for a long time, writes LIDOVE NOVINY.

The United States has withdrawn from a public tender to provide jet fighters to the Czech armed forces, announces HOSPODARSKE NOVINY. The paper reports that the US administration, which controls all US arms systems exports, has announced its withdrawal from the Czech tender for supersonic jet fighters in a letter to Czech Defence Minister Jaroslav Tvrdik. But the minister told the paper that on the request of the American administration, he was not allowed to disclose any details.

The reason for this, however, might be that the United States cannot compete with the Swedish offer, as the Swedes are ready to meet the request of the Czech cabinet for offset programmes, whereby they will have to invest the same amount of money in the Czech Republic that they will get from the deal. Reportedly, it's worth around 3 billion US dollars .

"Medicine producers try to cheat doctors by involving them in charities," reads a headline in today's MLADA FRONTA DNES. The paper writes that in a bid to make doctors prescribe their firm's medicines, pharmaceutical companies are using crafty methods, such as sending the money obtained from the purchase of a particular medicine to charity.

One of the most controversial examples is a contest for children who use antibiotics made by Abbott Laboratories. They are asked to cut out pictures from boxes and draw pictures of viruses. The company has promised to send 5 crowns for each picture to a child foundation. Czech doctors are on alert the paper says: apart from condemning what they call a fraudulent practise, they say children in this country already take far too many antibiotics as it is.

And once more about children - according to ZEMSKE NOVINY, school timetables are a nightmare for Czech kids. School attendance might be a torture for some pupils simply because they have to get up too early. Scandinavian experts have found out that in most European countries, classes start too early. ZEMSKE NOVINY writes the Czech Republic is no exception - the bell rings at eight and in some countryside towns and villages sometimes even earlier. In this country, the school timetable has been compiled for parents, not for kids, concludes the paper.

24-05-2001