30-07-2002

It's the Karel Srba case that continues to draw attention of most of Tuesday's dailies, although the papers assign varying importance to the story of Karel Srba's cooperation with military intelligence services. Besides that, the theft of a 700.000 US dollar painting from the collection of television magnate Vladimir Zelezny makes the front pages of most papers today.

Pravo writes that on Monday Vladimir Zelezny reported that the painting had disappeared from his gallery Zlata Husa. Zelezny owns one of the most significant collections of modern art in the Czech Republic. Neither Zelezny, nor the police have offered additional details about the missing painting.

Both Lidove noviny and Mlada fronta Dnes speculate that the painting in question could be Chagall's "Jacob's Ladder". Mlada fronta Dnes questions how the painting could have disappeared from one of the most guarded buildings in Prague and notes that over a year ago, Vladimir Zelezny who was interrogated for alleged tax frauds at the time, claimed that he had removed the painting and that it was not in the Czech Republic at all, but was being kept in a depository in Switzerland.

Along the same lines, Lidove noviny raises the suspicion that it might have been Mr Zelezny's bodyguards who were responsible for the painting's mysterious disappearance.

Meanwhile, Mlada fronta Dnes features a photograph of an iceberg on its front page. The iceberg is supposedly the same one that caused the sinking of the Titanic 90 years ago. The photo was taken 5 days after the disaster by Stepan Rehorek, a Czech sailor on a German boat. Rehorek sent the photograph as a postcard to his parents from New York, describing the picture's origin. Two years ago, a German journalist bought the postcard from a collector and only later discovered its exceptional value. The paper writes that it is the only picture of the iceberg in existence.

Turning to Hospodarske noviny now, and the news that the Catholic Faculty at Prague's Charles University has regained official recognition. Since earlier this year the school has had no guarantee that it would be allowed to accept new students and grant degrees because the Education Ministry withdrew its accreditation. Charles University rector Ivan Wilhelm appointed a new dean to the school who began implementing changes and improving the heavily criticized curriculum. The dean's efforts, the paper concludes, appear to have been successful.

The famous American actress Susan Sarandon was shooting in Prague in July, says Mlada fronta Dnes. The film is called Children of Dune and is based on a successful sci-fi novel written by Frank Herbert. Children of Dune is a sequel to Dune also filmed in the Czech Republic a few years ago.

And back to Hospodarske noviny now, the paper reports on research conducted by International Evaluation Association on the way civic responsibility is taught in 16 countries. The results, not so favorable for the Czech Republic, show that Czech high school students are less tolerant toward immigrants and minorities than their foreign peers. And they don't trust public institutions as much. Many are not interested in politics and question the importance of elections. While only 1/5 of Czech respondents would be willing to help raise money for charity, half of the students asked in other countries said that they would.

And finally, Mlada fronta Dnes says that next year, it will cost more to take a taxi in Prague. The City of Prague is considering increasing the current rates by 3 CZK per kilometer in the hope that taxi drivers will stop ripping off their clients. The paper cites Pavel Pavlat, chairman of Prague taxi drivers' guild, who doesn't believe that the proposed increase will be enough to cover all their expenses.

30-07-2002