09-10-2002

All of Wednesday's papers lead with stories connected to the Czech Republic's plans to join the European Union. LIDOVE NOVINY says Brussels' recommendation that the Czechs be accepted as members is a historic step, while PRAVO and MLADA FRONTA DNES report on next spring's planned referendum on membership.

In terms of photographs, two figures dominate the dailies; Grand-duke Henri of Luxembourg is shown out and about on a visit to Prague, while United States President George Bush also seems to be everywhere.

PRAVO carries a photo of Mr Bush wagging a finger as he warns of the dangers of Saddam Hussein, while MLADA FRONTA DNES has a new competition; the prize - dinner with the US president and a host of other world leaders during November's NATO summit.

Prices are falling; that good news is carried on the front page of MLADA FRONTA DNES. Food, cars and electronics are all cheaper than they were a year ago. In the case of cars, the strong Czech crown and a stagnating market have resulted in car dealers offering Czech motorists better deals, says the daily.

While large parts of Prague's metro system have been closed since the floods, sections of the network are running and some 150 metro passengers had an unpleasant experience on Tuesday, when their train stopped between the Roztyly and Kacerov stations on the C line. The passengers were 'imprisoned' in the metro tunnel for almost an hour with only emergency lights, reports LIDOVE NOVINY.

The Czech professor Lubomir Bartos recalls a fascinating period of his life for MLADA FRONTA DNES. In 1961, Mr Bartos went to Cuba as an interpretor and ended up working for Fidel Castro, and also got to know the legendary revolutionary and icon Che Guevara, who he describes as much more pleasant than Castro.

Two years after leaving Cuba, Lubomir Bartos travelled to Peru in the hope of meeting Che Guevara again. He failed to find the Argentinean revolutionary, but to this day remembers Guevara as educated and impressive, and the kind of person who put the needs of others before his own.

MLADA FRONTA DNES also reports on a bizarre case of vandalism in the town of Plzen. Large statues of a pair of popular puppet figures, Hurvinek and Spejbl, had their heads broken off by vandals at the beginning of September. Police in Plzen have charged one man with removing the head of Hurvinek, and are still searching for a man they believe damaged Hurvinek's puppet 'father' Spejbl.

09-10-2002