05-11-2003

Robbie Williams, photo: CTKRobbie Williams, photo: CTK While today's Czech newspapers lead with a wide variety of stories, almost all the front pages feature photographs of the British pop singer Robbie Williams, who played in Prague on Tuesday night. Tickets for the long sold-out concert were being sold for ten or more times their face value, such was the demand to see the singer, reports PRAVO.

As birth rates in the Czech Republic fall, the number of schools in the country is also decreasing, with over 500 elementary and secondary schools closing in the last eight years, reports HOSPODARSKE NOVINY. Only 90 thousand children entered the school system this year, the lowest number since the late 1980s. What's more, the trend is set to continue; last year Deputy Education Minister Jaroslav Muellner said as many as a third of the Czech Republic's schools were no longer needed.

However, it is local authorities, not the Education Ministry, which decide on school closures. An official from the South Bohemian regional authority says timing the announcement of a closure is difficult. If we say now we want to close a school in 2008, children will immediately leave, he says.

Civic Democrat MP and sexologist Jaroslav Zverina is planning to challenge a law under which a special Health Ministry licence is needed to sell condoms - which are classed as medical supplies - reports MLADA FRONTA DNES. Under the law, which has been in place for three years, the contraceptives should not be sold in shops or petrol stations. For their part, many retailers who sell condoms simply have no idea they need a licence, says the paper.

The socially conservative Christian Democrats are hoping to block legislation allowing for same-sex partnerships, writes HOSPODARSKE NOVINY. There is some disagreement, however, on whether the party actually have the power to veto it, under the coalition agreement.

Christian Democrat MP and Environment Minister Libor Ambrozek says coalition parties have the right to stop the government putting forward legislation they do not support. However, Stanislav Gross, a senior figure in the largest party in the governing coalition, the Social Democrats, says that no such power of veto exists. Previous experience would indicate that he is right, says the daily.

It is some years since Czechs were obliged to celebrate Russia's October Socialist Revolution, though this Friday a nightclub in Ostrava will do just that, albeit with a sense of humour, writes LIDOVE NOVINY. The organisers have managed to find an album of songs paying tribute to the Communist era police, though if the music isn't to the liking of punters they are sure to be impressed by the prices: beer will be sold at the pre-revolution price of one crown a half-litre.

05-11-2003