25-03-2002

The Czech newspapers don't have one big issue to report on today, but all the papers at the moment are already reflecting the fact that the general elections are in the offing. Hospodarske noviny writes that the three political parties that have received a large donation from the Ceska sporitelna bank are now pondering what to do with it. Ceska sporitelna, majority owned by Austria's Erste Bank, donated 2 and a half million crowns to the ruling Social Democrats, the opposition Civic Democrats and the Coalition.

Hospodarske noviny notes that such donations are not usual in this country, and that's why parties are thinking hard as to how to use the money best. The Social Democrat party chairman Vladimir Spidla is quoted as saying that his party will most likely donate the money to charity. On the other hand, the Civic Democrats and the Coalition cannot see any reason for not taking what has been offered. Both say, however, that they will hold party discussions to avoid scandals.

Pravo writes that the Czech Republic doesn't have enough money for transporting its military hospital to Kabul via air. If Prague does not talk London into transporting the Czech 6th field hospital in its giant aircraft, the Czech Defence Ministry says it will be forced to use a railway route to Kabul via the town of Termez in Uzbekistan.

According to Pravo, this is the most risky route, because the land between Termez and Kabul is controlled by bandits. But the paper quotes the Czech Defence Minister Jaroslav Tvrdik as saying that the Czech Republic prefers the cheapest means of transport, and one general said the route might be a nightmare but with a bit of luck the train will get through.

"People in Terezin are shocked by claims that a porn film is to be shot in the former ghetto," reads a title on the front page of Mlada fronta Dnes. The paper writes that Terezin inhabitants cannot believe that a porn film could be made in the Small Fortress, the site of the town's former concentration camp, where 50,000 people - mostly Jews - died during WWII.

The film is being made by porn actor and producer Robert Rosenberg and it is said to show how Nazi officers raped female prisoners. But Rosenberg claims he is not shooting porn scenes in Terezin, but other takes for his film. Mlada fronta Dnes writes that during their phone call, the mayor of Terezin, Ruzena Cechova was almost weeping and said she could not sleep since she learned about the matter.

And finally on a lighter note: a record has been broken in the nation-wide jackpot Sportka - on Wednesday a lucky winner may win over 110 million crowns - around 3 million US dollars. Lidove noviny writes this is the highest sum in Sportka's history, and newsagents confirm that much more people are coming to register their bets. Their number is likely to grow by Wednesday, including those who do not bet regularly but have been lured by the astronomically high reward, concludes Lidove noviny.

25-03-2002