25-09-2001

All the Czech newspapers today carry photos related to the recent terrorist attacks in the United States and report on president Bush's decision to freeze the bank accounts of terrorists and his call to other countries to follow suit. Following the preparations for retaliation, today's Pravo writes that the Czech Minister of the Interior, Stanislav Gross expects an increased number of refugees from the East, mainly from Afghanistan and its neighbouring countries.

That's why the Interior Ministry is preparing amendments to the existing asylum procedures, designed to reduce the number of those of alsylum seekers whose motives are economic rather than political. "In case of an armed conflict we must brace ourselves for an influx of immigrants," Minister Gross told Pravo, adding that the discussion on the amended asylum law will be given priority in parliament, to ensure that it is not misused.

Prime Minister Milos Zeman told Lidove noviny that he did not assume the Czech Republic's economy would suffer as a result of the terrorist attacks in the US. Zeman said some form of weak fluctuation was possible but he did not believe that a conflict would have long-term economic implications.

 

Mr. Zeman pointed to the fact that for the past nine yearly quarters, gross domestic product has been on the rise. He described the Czech GDP growth - 4 percent in the first half of this year - as substantially higher than in Germany and in the European Union. He described as very positive the fact that the growth was high due to the volume of investment, rather than high consumption, concludes Lidove noviny.

 

"Young boys are showing greater interest in military service," reads a headline in Mlada fronta Dnes. The paper informs its readers that in connection with the US attacks, the number of would-be conscripts has gone up slightly, but that new recruits seem to be most interested in the money on offer.

The Head of the recruitment centre, Major Fisar, told Mlada fronta Dnes that young men do not want to enter the armed forces simply for the sake of being a soldier, but rather because they seek adventure and wish to serve abroad. But, the paper explains that it is not possible to be sent abroad straight after recruitment. Usually, only compact units, not reservists or conscripts, are sent on foreign missions, concludes Mlada fronta Dnes.

 

And finally, on a lighter note: Prazske slovo writes that on Tuesday, film director Jan Sverak, whose successful new film "Dark Blue World" - about Czech pilots serving in the Royal Air Force during WWII - is set to brand a new tea label. The tea is a special brand called Assam, and it was very popular in Britain in the first half of the 20th century. The proceeds from its sale will go to the Dark Blue World Foundation, which supports Czech WWII pilot veterans.

25-09-2001