01-11-2001

All today's front pages sport a colour photo of a smiling Jiri Balvin - who was elected director of public broadcaster Czech Television on Wednesday. The papers report that Balvin swept the board with 10 votes out of 15.

Mlada fronta Dnes and Pravo report that the Social Democrat Minister Without Portfolio Karel Brezina has no chance of getting on the party's ticket for next year's parliamentary election. The paper says that Brezina, the youngest ever Czech minister, has been surrounded by scandal. He recently won a court case against the magazine Reflex, which published an illustrated cartoon of him in compromising positions.

Most Czech papers also covered the recent problems at the Temelin power plant here in the Czech Republic. Mlada fronta Dnes writes that the plant was ordered to shut down on Wednesday night after a leak was discovered in a cooling system component. The plant will be shut down for approximately three weeks, writes the paper.

On the political scene, Lidove noviny, reports that the Czech agriculture minister Jan Fencl no longer wants to pay for BSE testing from his ministry's budget. So the question is, writes the paper, who will pay for the tests- consumers or farmers? It looks like it may be the consumers, so the price of meat may go up by a couple of crowns per kilo. The issue will be decided next week by the members of the government's legislative committee.

Mlada fronta Dnes reports that the country's three largest banks have recorded increases in profit of over 100 percent in the first three quarters of this year. How did they achieve that remarkable feat, the daily asks? Simple - they just increased service and withdrawal charges by some ten percent.

44 Czech tourists who were on a tour bus which crashed in Germany on Tuesday have finally returned home to the Czech Republic writes Pravo. On Tuesday their coach rear-ended a transport lorry. The driver was killed and twenty passengers suffered minor injuries. Second driver Karel Breza told the paper that when the accident happened there was definite panic but that people had reacted quite well. When medics arrived they tried their best to remove the driver trapped behind the steering wheel but soon realised he was dead.

Mlada fronta Dnes ' Prague section covers the question of - why do 24hour pawn shops exist? Only for thieves to off-load stolen goods say police and politicians, writes the paper. The pawn shops should have their hours limited by a change to the business law in order to deter delinquent activity, a Prague councillor told the daily.

And the weather has made the front page of both Prazske Slovo, and Pravo- which report that Wednesday was the hottest day in Prague in 226 years. Apparently, meteorologists at the Czech Meteorological Institute recorded highs of 22.7C which for the end of October is quite remarkable. Prazske Slovo has an article and photo of a tornado touching down on a highway in Miami and reports that climate changes could result in more numerous weather related catastrophes and continues with a list of possible horrible outcomes of climate change.

Apparently the male species is on its way to extinction. Lidove noviny writes in an opinion piece by author Benjamin Kuras that within generations men will be redundant and thus cease to exist. The reason, a new method of reproduction, where an embryo is created by simply copying the mother's genetic make-up. The technique seems to work in mice and they say, most probably will soon be applicable to humans.

01-11-2001