11-07-2001

The mystery surrounding the death of 5-year-old Tereza Cermakova, whose body was discovered late Monday night after a 20-day search, continues to fill the front pages of the Czech dailies.

PRAVO, which jumped to its own conclusion on Tuesday, alleging that Tereza had been killed by her mother, has been forced to retract the story, on the grounds that the child was found to have died of respiratory and heart failure. But in Wednesday's edition PRAVO continues to assert that someone must have killed the child, quoting the inspector in charge of the case as saying he is convinced that Tereza's mother knows more than she has told the police.

Since public interest in the case is enormous other dailies have not resisted gathering gossip and speculating about what could have happened to the child. Meanwhile the police are allegedly waiting for a psychologist's verdict before filing negligence charges against the child's mother. Following a suicide attempt she is still in hospital and it is not clear to what extent she is in control of her senses.

Moving on to other things, the Czech government has received plenty of attention on today's front pages but for the most part it is negative publicity. The government's youngest minister, Karel Brezina, is taking REFLEX magazine to court for featuring him in a satirical comic strip that shows him naked in some extremely compromising positions. The REFLEX editor in chief is quoted as saying he is looking forward to the trial. After all, it will bring still more publicity for his magazine.

LIDOVE NOVINY pokes fun at the ruling Social Democratic Party, which wants to send an official letter of thanks to the government for bringing the country out of an economic crisis. The Social Democrats operate on the principle "if you don't give yourself a pat on the back no one else will do it for you" says the paper.

However it does make one think about whether we have anything to be grateful for and how much of it can be attributed to the efforts of the Social Democrat Cabinet. Fortunately for this country the work of this Cabinet will not be judged by its own party but by the public in the next general elections, says LIDOVE NOVINY, and it is quite possible that this pat on the back is the last one they'll get.

Trade and Industry Minister, Miroslav Gregr, has good reason to celebrate, says LIDOVE NOVINY in a separate article. His "big bang" plan for the Czech economy, which will cost taxpayers 160 billion crowns and aims to give the economy a kick-start, has now won approval in Cabinet.

Without concealing its relief, the paper adds that the minister's original grandiose plan to pump 260 billion crowns into the economy failed to see the light of day. The missing 100 billion was to have come mainly from private investors, but they gave the government the thumbs down. Private investors don't think about election terms -they view business in terms of profit, LIDOVE NOVINY concludes.

And finally there are plenty of reports and gossip from the international film festival in Karlovy Vary. PRAVO carries a snapshot of Czech actor Karel Roden on its front page. Roden is the brightest Czech star at this year's festival having starred alongside Robert De Niro in the American movie "15 minutes" which premiered at the festival. PRAVO sees a bright career ahead for the Czech actor claiming that Hollywood's door is now open to him. Roden himself is more cautious in assessing his chances.

11-07-2001