29-07-2002

Today, all the dailies lead with photographs showing the tragic accident in Ukraine where a jet crashed into a crowd of spectators at an air-show, leaving 83 dead. The dailies also stay with the Karel Srba case, which has drawn in Mr Srba's former superior, ex-foreign minister Jan Kavan.

Mlada fronta Dnes features a picture of Mikhail Gorbachev, who left the Czech Republic on Sunday after spending several weeks in the spa resort of Karlovy Vary. Mr Gorbachev said he was already looking forward to his next visit to Karlovy Vary. Next time, he says, he hopes to be able to do all the things he didn't get to do during this visit, such as going to the theatre. Mr Gorbachev will always be welcome at the Grand Hotel Pupp; manager Roman Vacho says the former Soviet leader is one of the hotel's best guests.

Mlada fronta Dnes also writes that Klement Gottwald, Czechoslovakia's first Communist president, stopped an investigation into one of the most tragic events in the country's post-war history: the massacre of hundreds of ethnic Germans in June 1945. The massacre happened near Postoloprty in North Bohemia - the Communists, says the paper, tried to cover it up and destroy the evidence, fearing the truth would shake their grip on the country.

All of the dailies today report on the charges against the well-known Czech sculptor Pavel Opocensky. Opocensky, now 48, has been accused of sexually abusing two 12-year-old girls. Mr Opocensky sprung to fame in the early 1990s, after stabbing to death a skinhead who was attacking a passer-by. He was sentenced to three years in prison, but was exonerated in 1995.

Pravo adds that Mr Opocensky signed the Charter 77 human rights petition, and in 1979 emigrated from Czechoslovakia. After living in Germany and the U.S., he returned to his homeland in 1991.

The Czech Republic produces a great deal of bootleg goods, Hospodarske noviny reports. Out of the 95 million counterfeit items intercepted on the EU's borders in the last year, 4 % came from the Czech Republic. According to the European Commission, the Czech Republic is among the top seven countries that supply the EU with counterfeit products such as clothes, CDs, toys, games and condoms, and even fake copies of branded food products and medicines, including antibiotics.

Every second taxi driver in Prague rips off his customers, reads a headline in Mlada fronta Dnes. In the past four months, the City of Prague has made efforts to improve the situation, but little has changed so far. The City hired some 80 people whose job is to use taxis pretending to be foreign tourists and uncover those who try to cheat. Despite these efforts, taxi drivers continue to cheat nearly as much as before, says the paper.

And finally, Lidove noviny features a portrait of 71-year-old Valtr Komarek, whose name became well- known during the times of Velvet Revolution in 1989, appearing frequently alongside Vaclav Havel in the Civic Forum movement.

During the Communist era, Mr. Komarek worked for the State's Planning Commission and in 1964 he became an advisor to Che Guevara and moved to Cuba for three years. In the 1980s, Mr. Komarek headed the Economic Forecast Institute before becoming deputy Prime Minister of Czechoslovakia in 1990. However, Valtr Komarek only stayed in the world of high politics until 1993. Now, he's retired and is spending his time writing a historical novel and reading.

29-07-2002