22-08-2001

Yes and it's the German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder who is today's cover star: pictures of a smiling Gerhard sitting at the wheel of a vintage car at the Skoda Auto plant in Mlada Boleslav feature on several front pages today, taken during his cross-border jaunt into the Czech Republic.

MLADA FRONTA DNES says Prague and Berlin have apparently come to terms with two problems which have, at times, seemed capable of hampering the Czech Republic's accession to the European Union. Germany, says the paper, has now accepted the fact that the Czech Republic is determined to keep its troubled Temelin nuclear plant on line. In return, it says, the Czech Republic has realised that Germany is not going to budge on restrictions to the free movement of labour.

For the first time, says MLADA FRONTA DNES, Prime Minister Milos Zeman has publicly admitted that he would accept some restrictions on the right of Czech citizens to seek work in the EU following enlargement. The restrictions, he said, will be evaluated after two years, and after that time a selective approach will be used by the current EU 15 towards new members from the east.

Well it's tactical games of a different sort that make the front page of PRAVO today - the paper reports how a fifteen-year-old school boy from South Moravia has become the first Czech ever to be invited to study the ancient oriental board game of 'go' in Japan. The boy, Ondrej Silt, has shown so much talent at go that he's been invited to spend several years in Japan to become a professional go master.

"It's a huge honour, and we're really proud that such a good player has grown up here in the Czech Republic. Going to Japan to study the game is what every dedicated go player dreams of. The Japanese really take only the most prodigious talents," says the chairwoman of the Czech Go Association, Jana Hricova. And the Japanese are so keen on Ondrej, says PRAVO, that they want him to come to Japan immediately - even before he's finished elementary school. Ondrej could be heading for the far east in October, says the paper.

"We're very proud of him," says Ondrej's father Karel, "but it's taken us a bit by surprise. The studies could last three, five or even seven years, depending on how well he does. My wife's already in mourning I'm afraid, she'll miss him so much. But there's nothing we can do - it's a chance of a lifetime. And who knows - maybe he'll come back with a wife," says Ondrej's father, who's clearly something of a tactical player himself.

"Soy sauce health threat" says ZEMSKE NOVINY today, and no, it's nothing to do with the last story. The country's leading sauce maker, Vitana, has withdrawn its soy sauce from sale following the discovery that one of the ingredients could be carcinogenic. The Health Ministry is currently deep in talks over the soy sauce problem, and industry insiders say even packet soups might be dangerous. Yikes!

And finally back to MLADA FRONTA DNES, which says the Czech media saw the breaking of a major taboo yesterday - when the tabloid SUPER published paparazzi shots of Social Democrat MP Petra Buzkova bathing topless on the beach in Croatia. Ms Buzkova is a highly popular politician, who's photo appears regularly in the papers.

But never photos like this, says MLADA FRONTA DNES. Under the headline "End To Speculation About Czech Politician's Breasts", SUPER published twelve topless pictures of Ms Buzkova relaxing on the beach. "In our opinion it's something that the whole country is interested in," says SUPER media director Tereza Klapalova.

But is bust size really in the public interest? asks MLADA FRONTA DNES. "Hardly," says Charles University professor Jan Jirak. "It's more likely to be another marketing test for Super. A test to see how much of this kind of stuff the domestic market can handle," says Jirak. And therefore it's unlikely, says MLADA FRONTA DNES, that Ms Buzkova will be followed by any more naked politicians on the front page of SUPER.

22-08-2001