17-09-2001

All the Czech newspapers today have special supplements on the latest developments in the United States, often accompanied by moving photographs from a devastated Manhattan. MLADA FRONTA DNES carries an article by its special reporter in New York, Milan Vodicka, who writes that the city now has its own Wailing Wall. But he adds that this is a wall of lost hopes. No-one can bear to tell this to the bereaved, who are putting up photos of their missing relatives asking: "Has anybody seen him?" or "Please, help us to find her".

Mr. Vodicka writes that last Tuesday's tragedy is gradually acquiring a human scale. He points to a photo of a Rob Macey, last seen on the 87th floor, which shows him with two small children on his lap. Photos like this are heartbreaking, writes Milan Vodicka. Nobody likes being photographed when frowning, so most of the photos on the wall feature young, smiling, happy faces, writes MLADA FRONTA DNES.

PRAVO features a photo of president Vaclav Havel and his wife Dagmar during a special ecumenical mass held on Saturday in Prague's St. Vitus' cathedral for the victims of last week's terrorist attacks on he United States. Representatives of Christian churches prayed for the victims, their relatives, the wounded, for those trapped in the rubble, for doctors and rescuers, but also for the terrorist attackers themselves. Cardinal Miloslav Vlk told the congregation that evil and hatred must not be the road that mankind follows in the third millenium.

During the service the senior representative of the protestant Czech Brethren Church, Pavel Smetana underlined the fact that American society values traditional family life and love, which was proven by the last mobile phone messages left by the victims, nearly all of which ended with the words "I love you". Mr. Smetana said that over the past 50 years, most Czechs have been deprived of Christian faith and its values, and asks "What would our last messages have been?"

Some papers report on an article in Britain's The Mail on Sunday carrying information that members of Osama bin Laden's terrorist organization operating in Albania had bought lethal botulotoxin used for biological weapons and ampoules of anthrax from an unnamed laboratory in the Czech Republic. The Czech Health Ministry will verify whether this information is true, but it says the matter should be passed on to the police for investigation.

And away from the attack on America: LIDOVE NOVINY reports on the most recent method of curing cancer - known as "devitalization" which was developed in the Czech Republic and involves binding malignant tumours thus preventing the blood supply from reaching them. The bone of contention among Czech doctors is whether it is effective to use devitalization even in the early stages of cancer or whether the treatment could prove counter- productive. Difficult decisions still have to be taken on whether trials should continue and whether doctors should have a free hand in choosing patients eligible for the treatment, or even whether the research should be dropped altogether.

And finally, PRAZSKE SLOVO reports on Saturday's protest action staged in the West Bohemian city of Plzen by animal rights activists outside the famous Czech Circus Humberto. They protested against the practice of taming animals in circuses and against the cramped cages in which animals are kept. But the protest, writes PRAZSKE SLOVO escaped the notice of both the circus owners and parents with kids streaming to see the performance. Humberto's manager Hynek Navratil reacted by saying he'd like to buy larger cages but did not have enough money. As for the taming he is quoted as saying that it does the animals good. They keep their minds exercised and do not get bored.

17-09-2001