07-11-2003

Jaroslav Doubrava and Vladimir Zelezny, photo: CTKJaroslav Doubrava and Vladimir Zelezny, photo: CTK The former director of the commercial TV station Nova Vladimir Zelezny appears to be back in the limelight. His photo dominates the front pages of the three main national dailies today. Mr Zelezny, who was elected senator last year, has founded a senators' group together with three senators for the Communist Party and another independent senator, five being the minimum number required for establishing such a group.

As has become quite usual recently, MLADA FRONTA DNES and LIDOVE NOVINY lead with exactly the same headline: "Zelezny teams up with the Communists". The papers add that Mr Zelezny became the head of the newly established "Non-Affiliated Senators' Group". MLADA FRONTA DNES writes that the five senators will now be able to enjoy advantages granted only to senators' groups, such as a monthly allowance, their own office, a secretary and a car. It is not a political grouping but a purely pragmatic one, LIDOVE NOVINY quotes the five senators as saying.

Staying with LIDOVE NOVINY, and the paper writes that this week is a crucial one for Health Minister Marie Souckova. Ms Souckova is running in the Senate by-election in the Brno constituency and at the same time is supposed to come up with resolute steps in order to stabilise the country's ailing health sector, writes LIDOVE NOVINY.

There have been critical voices saying that Marie Souckova is putting all her efforts into her election campaign and has no time for health sector reform, nor does she know what's in the proposals, a Health Ministry official tells LIDOVE NOVINY. Health experts from the opposition have condemned the fact that Minister Souckova is putting her political career before her ministerial work. "The Titanic is sinking and she's busy with something else? That's just won't do," LIDOVE NOVINY quotes opposition Civic Democrat MP Milan Cabrnoch.

PRAVO reports that the Civic Democratic Party is becoming one of the biggest property owners among the country's political parties. After it bought a new headquarters in Prague for 100 million crowns, the party is now opening its regional centres around the country. The party's manager Libuse Benesova told PRAVO that the Civic Democrats have come up with a project called "Blue Houses in the Regions,", blue being the party's trademark colour.

"The objective is", Libuse Benesova says, "that if a regional leadership wants to have its own building, they should be granted one. But not all regional representations have expressed such a wish." The cost of each building should be around 5 million crowns, PRAVO says. A similar amount has been paid for the Civic Democrat headquarters in the north Bohemian city of Usti nad Labem. The party is now buying a building in the south Bohemian regional capital of Ceske Budejovice. Next on the list are the north Moravian city of Ostrava and Plzen in west Bohemia.

And finally, MLADA FRONTA DNES writes that the Czech Television reporter who compared Czech deputies to termites in a programme broadcast two weeks ago is leaving Czech Television. Petr Hanousek, the man behind the ironic report, had compared MPs to termites - aggressive insects that don't work and only spend their time building their own fortresses, referring to the fact that MPs are taking up more and more buildings in Prague's historic Mala Strana and suggesting that just like termites they only work with their mouths.

The report caused uproar among Czech politicians and they even threatened to refuse to pass a law increasing Czech Television's licence fee, writes MLADA FRONTA DNES. Petr Hanousek says he felt disappointed by the attitude of Czech Television's director Jiri Janecek who following the politicians' protests said the report did not fit the profile of the current affairs programme it was part of. To explain why he is leaving Czech Television, Petr Hanousek said he no longer wished to work for a station governed by politicians.

07-11-2003