02-08-2001

The majority of the Czech daily newspapers carry the story of the military plane crash in which a pilot was killed on Wednesday. There is also continued coverage of the record high temperatures plaguing the Czech Republic.

MLADA FRONTA DNES reports that Czechoslovakia's first post-Communist Minister of Culture, Jindrich Kabat, is facing trial for economic crime. He allegedly used two buildings owned by the Czech bank, Komercni Banka, as collateral for the now bankrupt Czech lottery. Mr. Kabat maintains that the two buildings in question were actually owned by the state. If convicted, Mr. Kabat faces a prison sentence of up to five years.

LIDOVE NOVINY writes that the secret files of the former Communist secret police, the StB, will remain classified. Czech citizens have had access to their personal files since 1996, but under a recent proposal all files would have been made available to the general public. However the files will not be accessible because they are considered to be documents of the federal Czechoslovak state, and according to Prime Minister Milos Zeman, it would be impossible to divide up the documents between the two countries.

MLADA FRONTA DNES reports that the German government still considers the forced resettlement of ethnic Germans from the Czech lands following World War II to be in violation of international law. It will, however, respect the Czech government's explanation of the resettlements and continue to support the Czech Republic's accession to the European Union. The Benes Decrees, which sanctioned the compulsory resettlement of Germans and Austrians from the Czech lands, had been a point of contention in the EU negotiations with the German government, and they continue to be a sore spot in negotiations with the Austrian government.

HOSPODARSKE NOVINY reports that the Czech national budget is an estimated 5 billion Czech crowns higher than expected. The Finance Ministry believes that the increase is the result of a software error that occurred during the budget calculation process.

PRAVO writes of the computer virus, nicknamed "Code Red" which is striking at the country's computers. The virus was activated on Wednesday, shortly after midnight in the Czech Republic. The Code Red virus targets internet sites, and an estimated 22,000 sites have been infected thus far.

LIDOVE NOVINY also carries the story of American filmmakers in the Czech Republic. More and more are choosing to produce their movies in the country, says the paper, because of its cheap labour force and beautiful scenery. About 60 foreign films have been shot in the Czech Republic in the last ten years. According to LIDOVE NOVINY, Hollywood isn't pleased with these developments, since they are taking money away from the California studios.

02-08-2001