Monday's papers all lead with different stories. Internationally, the G8 summit in Evian and celebrations in St. Petersburg make the front pages. The G8 summit is in full swing in France, and thousands of anti-globalisation protesters have brought chaos to the streets of Evian and Lausanne in nearby Switzerland on the other side of Lake Geneva. In Russia, it's the three hundredth anniversary of the founding of St. Petersburg that makes the headlines. Meanwhile, Defence Minister Jaroslav Tvrdik's repeated resignations and objections to reform in public finances continue to dominate the domestic news.
The Czech government is in big trouble: its plan to make dramatic cuts in the budgets of several ministries has provoked a large wave of protests, writes MLADA FRONTA DNES. Since Saturday, some five thousand doctors have joined teachers and health workers in a loud protest against the government, and tens of thousands of people are already threatening to go on strike.
Apart from Defence Minister Jaroslav Tvrdik, who resigned on Friday, Deputy Prime Minister Petr Mares and Education Minister Petra Buzkova have also threatened to resign over a planned three billion crown cut in spending on science and research. Ministers are resigning, and state officials are furious, the paper warns. "The time has come for all employees of the public sector to speak out as one. We shall not allow the government to reduce the budget deficit if the education, health, and science sectors have to pay the price," Milan Kubek, from the Medical Trade Union Club, tells MLADA FRONTA DNES.
PRAVO features an interview with one man who has already given up the fight - Defence Minister Jaroslav Tvrdik. He handed in his resignation last week over a new government plan resulting in major cuts in spending at the ministry. He tells the paper he has no place in politics and adds he'll be paying back debts after his resignation. "I owe the soldiers who believed in me and I owe my family. I will find a way of repaying them," he promises. Mr Tvrdik stresses that it was very hard for him to draw the line and hand in his resignation. He added that he had found a true friend in Interior Minister Stanislav Gross, who supported him at this difficult time and would consider working for Mr Gross in the future.
Czech President Vaclav Klaus met with US President Bush in St. Petersburg on Saturday, writes LIDOVE NOVINY, adding that the meeting lasted a brief four minutes. While the president's spokesman tells the paper that it was a friendly meeting, Mr Klaus himself reveals that his US counterpart had asked about the well-being of the US ambassador in Prague, Craig Stapleton. The paper notes that recent relations between Mr Klaus and Mr Stapleton have been tense as they came into conflict over the war in Iraq in March.
At the celebrations in St Petersburg, which were attended by some forty senior politicians from all over the world, Mr Klaus also met with his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao, and accepted an invitation to visit China. On Sunday, he took time with the Czech first lady to do some sight-seeing, take a boat ride, visit the famous State Hermitage Museum, and have cocktails with city representatives at the Czech Consulate. The presidential couple flew back to Prague on Sunday afternoon.
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