19-11-2003

Michal Moucka and the dinosaur bone, photo: CTKMichal Moucka and the dinosaur bone, photo: CTK A vibrant mix of stories in today's Czech dailies, not least U.S. President Bush's visit to Great Britain - PRAVO writes that London has been transformed into a fortress. On the home front stories that dominate include: a boom in consumer retail sales, a concert protesting the rising popularity of the Communist Party, and the continuing fever for cell phones on the Czech market. But we begin first with the sensational story of a dinosaur bone find - the first ever - in the Czech Republic. As a result just about every paper features a little dinosaur drawn on its cover....

PRAVO features a T-Rex instead of the actual specimen on its front page - presumably for sensation value. The bone found actually belonged to Inguanodontide - an herbivore that lived around 95 million years ago.

The daily writes the bone was found by an amateur palaeontologist, Michal Moucka, a doctor, who was walking with his children when he spotted it in the ground, and immediately suspected it might be a dinosaur's. LIDOVE NOVINY writes the creature itself was between 2.5 to 3 metres tall and 4 to 5 metres long, and experts are speculating this particular specimen could have been about twenty years old when it died.

The dinosaur boneThe dinosaur bone The daily also tell us it is likely it was killed by a primitive shark at water's edge: shark tooth markings were found on the bone. Says palaeontologist Oldrich Fejfar "It's a small specimen, but it's ours". That's certainly something no one can take away.

Continuing with LIDOVE NOVINY its top story though is the shopping fever that swamped the Czech Republic in September. The daily writes that the rise by a record 9.4 year-on-year is the quickest growth in spending and sales in the past three-and-a-half years.

The daily also writes that retailers are expecting the boom to continue with the upcoming holiday season. Some of this season's retail hits will likely include: digital cameras, new game consoles like Nokia's N-Gage, talking dolls, and how could we forget - cell telephones.

Absolutely. Wednesday's MLADA FRONTA DNES takes full notice of the mobile's popularity here in the Czech Republic writing that practically the only people without cell phones in the country are pensioners and new-borns, though cell phone operators like T-Mobile and Eurotel also point out some customers refuse to buy cell phones out of principal or because they have extremely tight budgets. The daily quotes one hotel owner as saying he still won't buy a phone since if anyone really needs to get in touch with him they can call him on his fixed line at home and at work. How normal that used to be, right?

Speaking of normal - one group of organisers and their fans do not consider it normal for decent people to talk to communists and they made their dissatisfaction known on Tuesday at a special concert. What they find alarming is the Communist Party's growing popularity in the Czech Republic.

All of Wednesday's dailies feature commentary on the concert or at least its intentions - MLADA FRONTA DNES asks "Should we talk to Communists?" - considering they are a legal party in parliament. But then the daily writes that the rhetoric on many levels has not changed from the bad old days - much of it sounding like their predecessors Milous Jakes and Gustav Husak.

PRAVO meanwhile writes only that some 2, 000 people showed up, while analyst Jiri Pehe writes for LIDOVE NOVINY that the current Communist Party has failed to break with its past and remains what is known as a skanzen in Czech - loosely translated an exhibition of some relic from the past. Mr Pehe notes that the lack of protest against communist parties in Poland or Hungary was legitimate, since there the parties reformed themselves. Here in the Czech Republic, though, he evidently sees protest as a necessity.

19-11-2003