12-06-2001

All the Czech newspapers today carry photos of Monday's execution of mass murderer Timothy McVeigh in Indiana's Terre Haut prison. The papers note that the closely-watched execution was preceded by demonstrations of both supporters and opponents of the death penalty, and will most probably stir up a new debate in the United States on capital punishment.

On the domestic front, Lidove noviny carries the results of a new opinion poll, revealing that almost half of its respondents have not succumbed to panic in the wake of the country's first confirmed case of BSE - and continue to eat beef. The paper writes that the latest poll has confirmed claims made by super markets and butchers - that beef consumption has only slightly fallen - 44 percent of those polled said they still had confidence in Czech beef.

The poll, says the paper, shows that people do trust the authorities, who have been busy trying to persuade consumers that Czech beef is safe. The agency which carried out the poll also revealed that it's mostly women who are more afraid of eating beef, and it's women again who decide what their family will eat. As far as the government's information on the issue is concerned, 35 percent of people said they believe what the government's saying.

"E-mail Seeks Help For Man Already Dead," reads a rather bizarre headline on the front page of Mlada fronta Dnes. The paper writes that the story began last year, with a man dying of cancer in a hospital in the Slovak capital Bratislava. The man had a very rare blood group, and e-mails were sent out asking for people with the same blood group to volunteer to give blood.

People in the Czech Republic were flooded by e-mails calling for help. Unfortunately the man died soon after, but the e- mails continue to be sent to hundreds of people today.

Doctors say that a new phenomenon has emerged - people showing solidarity through e-mail. But, says the paper, the e-mails are spreading like wildfire, and the doctors are getting fed up. "The request is no longer valid. And we didn't start this e-mail campaign in the first place," says Dr Daniela Hrubiskova in an interview with Mlada fronta Dnes. The rare blood, she said, was found and donated almost immediately, but despite all their efforts, doctors were unable to save the patient's life.

And finally Hospodarske noviny reports on which makes of car are most popular among Czech car thieves. The paper writes that it's owners of Audis who have the biggest chance of being relieved of their car. And Audi is well ahead of Mercedes and BMW in the car theft league table, says the paper.

Although car theft in the Czech Republic is gradually decreasing, the chances of having your car stolen are many times higher than in neighbouring Germany. According to the police, cars stolen in the Czech Republic are usually quickly driven across the border and sold in the former Soviet Union and the Balkans. The police say, however, that 40 percent of car 'thefts' are actually faked by their owners - who sell their car, report it stolen, and then claim on the insurance.

12-06-2001