31-05-2001

Editors in chief have not had a hard time picking today's top story. The face of former SS officer Anton Malloth looks out from almost every front page and most papers have devoted one or two full pages to the trial.

If the former Nazi concentration camp guard has any conscience at all then the last years of his life will not be easy, says Lidove Noviny. The life sentence for Malloth will help to ease Germany's conscience just a tiny bit more, while making Czechs feel another twinge of guilt, says the paper.

While Czechs expect Germany to deal with its Nazi war criminals, they find it much harder to apply the same yardstick to their own Communist criminals, says Hospodarske Noviny. We have Malloths of our own, agrees Pravo, describing the life sentence for Malloth as "a slap in the face to the Czech justice system".

Quite a lot of front page space has also been devoted to the European Union. Lidove Noviny carries an interview with Javier Solana, former NATO Secretary General, currently the European Union's Foreign Affairs Commissioner. In the interview Mr Solana says he has sympathy for the hopes and fears of the Czechs with regard to admission because his own country Spain had undergone the same process - including a controversial transition period on movement of labour.

Meanwhile, Zemske Noviny reports that the Czech Business Chamber is ringing alarm bells to warn Czech firms that they are not doing enough to prepare for the tough competition they face on the common market. The Chamber says that a quarter of all Czech firms, predominantly small firms, have done nothing in the way of preparation and that for them the country's admission to the EU may well mean bankruptcy. Trade union representatives are said to be equally concerned about this.

Mlada Fronta Dnes reports that President Havel has found a simple way out of a tricky situation. He appointed Trade and Industry Minister, Miroslav Gregr, deputy prime minister without having to meet him face-to-face. The President, who has openly stated that he strongly disagrees with the minister's plans for Czech industry and even considers them potentially damaging, appointed the new deputy prime minister by courier.

And finally, Pravo carries an attention grabbing front page report about a porn scandal at the Domazlice police station. The scandal broke when two officers stopped at a petrol station to fill up and whilst looking at a rack of porn magazines recognized one of their female colleagues on the cover.

The uproar was enormous, says Pravo. It resulted in a mad rush on the part of the male staff to obtain the magazine. Some even made a trip to Pilsen when the magazine had sold out locally. "I've never seen anything sell so fast," one of the newsstand owners told Pravo. Policemen kept coming in and asking for it, saying their colleague was on the cover page.

The officer in question claims those were her own private photos and she can't imagine how they got in the paper. However the local police chief, who is having a hard time fighting off reporters, says he'll fire her.

31-05-2001