01-08-2001

Most of the Czech dailies today feature photographs and articles about the latest, and supposedly the deadliest ever, computer virus to hit computers around the world. According to the business daily HOSPODARSKE NOVINY, many governments in the West have warned against the new virus, called Code Red, which is far more insidious than recent predecessors such as the I Love You virus, which hit hundreds of thousands of computers around the world a few months ago.

Code Red affects computers operating Microsoft Windows NT and Windows 2000 platforms, which are used by roughly a quarter of the world's internet servers. The virus has already apparently affected several computers in the Czech Republic, and experts warn that Code Red could cause massive financial losses to companies around the world, concludes HOSPODARSKE NOVINY.

MLADA FRONTA DNES reports on the financial problems facing universities in the Czech Republic. Altogether, Czech universities have offered ten percent more places to students this year than last year. But funds promised by the Ministry of Education in June to cover this increased intake have not materialised.

The universities, the paper says, feel betrayed. They cannot retract their offers, and they say that even if they could, they would not want to do so on principle. But now they are desperately trying to think of ways to raise extra funds in order to provide facilities and teachers for the thousands of extra students.

This, says MLADA FRONTA DNES, is just another in a long series of problems to hit Czech universities. They lack funds to increase salaries, so qualified teachers are going elsewhere. They cannot afford teaching aids or to send students on study programmes abroad. All that university rectors can do now, the paper concludes, is to lobby in parliament and hope for the best.

ZEMSKE NOVINY reports on a worrying increase in the number of traffic accidents caused by motorcyclists. In the first half of this year, they caused more than 650 road accidents in which 19 people died. The most frequent offence motorcyclists commit is speeding. However, ZEMSKE NOVINY quotes a rider who explains that many motorcyclists have found a way to avoid police radars by following closely behind cars.

LIDOVE NOVINY carries a large photograph of people cooling down in a swimming pool to combat the current tropical heat wave. Although next week should also be very hot with daytime temperatures hovering around 30 degrees Celsius, LIDOVE NOVINY says that there will be some respite over the weekend, with afternoon highs dropping to mere 20 degrees Celsius.

PRAVO reports on the Czech President Vaclav Havel's decision to add his voice to those protesting against British immigration officials at Prague's Ruzyne airport. According to a spokesman at Prague Castle, President Havel is deeply disturbed by the measures, says PRAVO.

But the paper adds that Mr Havel is dead set against a suggestion from opposition leader Vaclav Klaus that the easiest way to resolve the problem would be for Britain to introduce visa requirements for Czechs. Havel apparently sees this as a step backwards, and believes it would not help the Czech Republic's EU membership aspirations.

01-08-2001