31-07-2002

Wednesday's dailies' front pages share very little in common and the topics they cover vary to a great degree. Most papers offer more details about the disappearance of Chagall's painting "Jacob's Ladder" from the gallery Zlata Husa which belongs to TV magnate Vladimir Zelezny.

Czechs go to live and work abroad for economic purposes, says Lidove noviny. Qualified people who find work in their field can make much more money than they would in the Czech Republic. More and more Czechs are taking advantage of opportunities to work for international organisations such as the EU, the UN, UNESCO or OECD.

A registered nurse who can speak a foreign language has little difficulty finding work abroad, says the paper. Lately, Saudi Arabia has become an attractive destination for nurses as the country recognises their Czech diplomas and pays from 1,950 to 2,300 US dollars a month.

Mlada fronta Dnes writes about an art exhibition called "Subculture" which is due to open in Prague on August 5. Some 30 artists from all over the world will display their work inspired by skateboarding, graffiti and hip-hop. Carl E. Smith, an American graphic designer living in Prague is one of the two main organisers of the exhibition. He told Mlada fronta Dnes it wasn't going to be a document from the outside and that the participants in "Subculture" were people who live the portrayed life-style and love it.

Moving on to Hospodarske noviny, and an interview with the well-known former dissident, writer and playwright Pavel Kohout. 78-year-old Pavel Kohout talks about democracy, politics and moral values. He is quite content with the results of the recent elections and believes that the Czech Republic is on the right track. When asked about his old friend Vaclav Havel, Mr. Kohout replied that Mr Havel has been a blessing for this country but unfortunately, he has stayed in power longer than he should have.

Pravo reports about a hunger strike at Pankrac prison detention centre. Thirty two men awaiting trial, primarily from the former Soviet Union, are protesting against their detention and the slow proceedings in their cases. A prison service spokeswoman told Pravo that each case is being revised but no one will make any concessions to any groups trying to put pressure on the institution. If the detained continue to refuse food, they will receive more attention from doctors and psychologists will also be brought in.

Back to Mlada fronta Dnes now. The daily describes the changes that the newly elected politicians have had to deal with in their personal lives. For instance, Health Minister Marie Souckova had always got around Prague by public transportation. Now, she is trying to get used to riding in the back of a luxurious limousine with a personal driver. She can no longer go for a walk by herself. Most other ministers also find their newly acquired benefits limiting and a bit superfluous. But, as the daily says, most former politicians had no trouble getting used to their privileges.

A tourist found and returned 100,000 Czech crowns, reads a headline in Mlada fronta Dnes. For many 100,000 crowns, which amounts to well over 3,000 US dollars is a lot of money, and would be worth keeping. However, a 49-year-old Czech tourist who found the package of money lying on the street in South Moravia didn't seem to have any dilemma. He found the closest police station, turned the money in and left. The police haven't found the owner of the package, so now the money will have to wait in Lost and Found until someone claims it.

And finally, Hospodarske noviny is looking into the number of asylum seekers in the UK who come from the Czech Republic. As the daily writes, the summer months witness a sharp increase in the number of asylum requests filed by Czech Romanies. This is despite the British immigration year-long controls re-established at Prague's Ruzyne airport not too long ago. While in January 20 Czech Romanies sought asylum in the UK, in May it was 9 times as many and in June, the number continued rising to 280. However, British officials say that no measures such as introducing visa regulations for Czech nationals are being prepared.

31-07-2002