09-09-2003

As the second anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks against US targets draws near, the papers are devoting an increasing amount of space to the fight against terrorism. Lidove Noviny has a front page report on US president George Bush's speech to the nation and his plans to ask Congress for more billions for the war against terrorism.

Meanwhile, Mlada Fronta Dnes highlights the domestic aspect of the problem saying that the past two years have changed many things. Security has become a top priority issue in the running of military bases, airports and nuclear power plants, and there are more police patrols around key buildings and institutions -on a daily basis, the paper writes.

The fight against terrorism has already cost the Czech Republic billions of crowns, Mlada Fronta Dnes says. The most expensive of all are the country's foreign missions abroad - the field hospitals in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as the anti-chemical unit stationed in Kuwait.

In a related story, Hospodarske Noviny reports that due to a lack of funds the US Congress will delay the move of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty from the centre of Prague to a safer location and is considering ending broadcasts in Croatian and Slovak. Iraq is pushing the US deficit to record heights, the paper says.

The story of a ten year old boy who had a nervous breakdown after being forcibly taken from his mother by a bailiff has evoked outrage, with child psychiatrists expressing amazement at the length to which some parents are prepared to go in divorce proceedings. Mlada Fronta Dnes reports that ten year old Honzik is now recovering from the experience at a Prague hospital but his doctor is dubious as regards the possibility of repairing relations with his father.

The paper covers the issue in depth, reminding readers of the highly publicized case of Elian Gonzalez who was frightened to death by a Miami police commando executing an order to have him returned to his father in Cuba.

The law is not generally sensitive to children's feelings and so it is up to children's parents to protect them from such scenes, judge Josef Holzman says.

Antonin Prochazka, a judge of the Constitutional Court told the paper that the case had been a violation of human dignity - an act which had degraded the child to the status of a mere object. They may not have broken any given article but they violated the spirit of the law, judge Prochazka told the paper.

On a different topic, all the papers mention the fact that today is the funeral of veteran journalist and writer Pavel Tigrid in Hericy, south of Paris. Mlada Fronta Dnes alone has voiced the possibility that Pavel Tigrid may have committed suicide. No official cause of death has been given, and his wife Ivana told the paper on Monday that the cause of her husband's death had not been clarified. She admitted that since his stroke three years ago, her husband had observed a decline of his mental and physical health and the paper concludes that this may have led the former culture minister to take his own life.

09-09-2003