11-07-2003

News that the Czech Republic has been ordered to pay compensation for a court case that dragged on for almost ten years features heavily on the front pages today - "Czechs pay up for slow courts once again" reads the headline in LIDOVE NOVINY. Meanwhile reports of what could be the country's first death from new variant CJD - the human form of mad cow disease - also make headlines today.

MLADA FRONTA DNES reports how plans for a nationwide police crackdown on bad drivers have been leaked and posted on the Internet, rendering the whole operation pointless. The paper says that the entire schedule of the crackdown has been published on the net, meaning that drivers can find out exactly where and when police will be testing them for speeding and other transgressions.

But MLADA FRONTA DNES itself is hardly doing the police any favours - the paper publishes details of the planned crackdown alongside its report. All in the interests of improving road safety, of course.

On a similar theme, and the tabloid BLESK ponders Thursday's tragic road accident outside Prague, in which a 19-year-old woman travelling in the passenger seat of a delivery van was killed after being thrown through the windscreen in a collision. The paper claims the person responsible for causing the accident was none other than boy wizard Harry Potter.

That's right, says BLESK - according to eyewitnesses the young woman was reading passages from the book to the van's driver. The driver was so enthralled in the story, the paper says, that he failed to notice a lorry pulling out in front of him, and crashed into it. The report carries the arresting headline "Harry Potter Kills in Czech Republic".

LIDOVE NOVINY reports today on plans by the Czech Defence Ministry to sharply reduce the size of the armed forces. Under the controversial plans, the Czech Army will be smaller than that of Slovakia or Hungary, and the country will have just 30 tanks at its disposal - as opposed to the 350 tanks ordered by the ministry several years ago.

MLADA FRONTA DNES points out there'll be more tanks in the country's military museums than in the Army. Under the reforms, the country's sole surviving tank battalion will consist of 30 reconditioned T-72 tanks. Meanwhile there are some 37 tanks dating from the Second World War in military museums around the country.

And finally several papers feature photos of President Vaclav Klaus, practicing his swing on a golf course in Karlovy Vary. The president, a keen tennis and basketball player, has never really taken to golf, says MLADA FRONTA DNES today. "Loads of people have said I have to learn it, but to be honest I'm not sure," Mr Klaus said some time ago, explaining the game was too static for his liking. Maybe after teeing off at Karlovy Vary all that will change.

11-07-2003