10-09-2003

Funeral of Pavel Tigrid, photo: CTKFuneral of Pavel Tigrid, photo: CTK Among the stories making the front pages in the Czech dailies today are the funeral of the much-respected Pavel Tigrid, the unveiling of the new Skoda car, the Roomster, and the football fever which has gripped the country ahead of Wednesday night's big game against the Netherlands.

The new Skoda Roomster, which was unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show on Tuesday, is - as the name suggests - a roomy family car with a rather futuristic look. However, the model on show in Frankfurt is only a prototype and there are as yet no plans for mass production, writes LIDOVE NOVINY.

MLADA FRONTA DNES says the whole nation has been gripped by excitement ahead of the Czech Republic's "football match of the year", the Euro 2004 qualifier against the Netherlands this evening. Tickets for the game have been hopelessly sold out for ages, a huge screen will show the game live on Prague's Old Town Square and pubs across the country can expect to do big business.

LIDOVE NOVINY's leads with a report saying the Czech Republic is not prepared to meet requests from the United States for more money for the renewal of Iraq. Vladimir Spidla's government has already pledged a total of 500 million crowns to Iraq over the next three years and that figure will not be increased, an official at the Foreign Ministry tells the daily.

Meanwhile a member of the Czech team in Iraq, Martin Dvorak, says he is beginning to be embarrassed by the fact the Czech Republic has not made it clear what kind of assistance the country will offer at a forthcoming donors' conference.

The man who has been chosen as the next justice minister, Karel Cermak, is asked by PRAVO if he is afraid his time in government will be short, given the pressures it is facing ahead of proposed spending cuts. Mr Cermak says he believes Vladimir Spidla's cabinet has a ninety percent of survival. As for the problems he will face as minister, he says the justice system's main fault is slowness. That, says Mr Cermak, is due to the approach Czech judges take to their work.

PRAVO also reports on the case of a Roman Catholic priest who faces charges of stealing valuable paintings from a church in his dioceses in Mlada Boleslav and selling them. Mass is not served in the church, which is only opened to parishioners twice a year.

Membership of the European Union will mean Czechs who hold business licenses will be free to work in EU countries. However, given unemployment rates of over 20 percent on the Polish side of their mutual border, it can be expected that some Poles will seek work in the Czech Republic. That is the opinion of Civic Democrat MP Martin Riman, who is interviewed in today's HOSPODARSKE NOVINY. By the way, the daily points out that over a million and a half Czechs have at least one business license, that in a country with a population of ten million.

10-09-2003