03-04-2003

All of the country's papers are dominated by the same three headlines: two separate suicides cases when students set themselves on fire, the ongoing war in Iraq, and the parliament's decision to dismiss the council for radio and television broadcasting. Pravo chooses the dramatic option with a graphic picture of one student's body on its front page.

The war in Iraq, photo: CTKThe war in Iraq, photo: CTK The daily Pravo paper carries an interview with the Czech Republic's ambassador to the United Nations, Hynek Kmonicek. He told the paper that the Czech Republic will be highly active in providing humanitarian aid for Iraq. In the first phase, he would like to see the deployment of the country's field hospital as part of the Enduring Freedom operation. He adds that the Czech Republic could also help Iraq in its transition from a totalitarian state, citing the Czech Republic's experience it gained over the last 13 years since the fall of communism.

Hospodarske Noviny reports that political parties spent more money on the general elections in June 2002 than they had previously admitted. The paper writes that both the now ruling Social Democrats and the main opposition Civic Democrats spent around 200 million Czech crowns - or over six and a quarter million Euros on their election campaigns. Before the elections the Social Democrats said they were to spend just 75 million crowns.

The paper also writes that the Civic Democrats received the biggest amount of donations of all the political parties in the Czech Republic. The number one contributor to both the Civic Democrats and the Social Democrats was the Ceska Sporitelna Bank which sponsored both of them with 2.5 million crowns. The bank divided another 2.5 million crowns between the junior coalition Freedom Union and Christian Democrats.

"Austrians accumulate money for fight against Temelin" reads a headline in Lidove Noviny. Despite both blocks of the Temelin nuclear power plant in South Bohemia expected to work in full capacity within a few weeks, the Austrians have not given up their fight against the plant, says the paper. The Upper Austrian government has managed to release over 6.5 million Czech crowns out of its budget to be used in the fight for the plant's shut-down.

The next six months, should see both legal proceedings and a widespread information campaign against Temelin in the Czech Republic. The paper quotes a representative of the plant's management as saying that the money should rather be spent on an information campaign within Austria, whose population, he says, has been given generally little information on the plant's safety.

Yesterday's EURO 2004 qualification match in football between the Czech Republic and Austria made the front page of Mlada Fronta Dnes. The paper quotes Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel who visited the game during an official trip to the Czech Republic. Commenting on the Czechs' 4-0 victory, the chancellor said, 'they steamrollered us!'. Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla joined Mr Schuessel for the match in Prague.

03-04-2003