25-11-2003

Moscow, photo: CTKMoscow, photo: CTK Monday's tragic fire at a Moscow student dormitory makes the front pages of several dailies today, with PRAVO as usual featuring a grisly and gratuitous photo of one of the victims. Also making headlines today is the ongoing situation in Georgia, and closer to home, pay rises for the country's teachers and scientists.

LIDOVE NOVINY carries details of Monday's horrendous traffic jam on the D1 motorway between Prague and Brno. Massive tailbacks built up after an accident between two goods lorries closed the northbound carriageway and left the southbound carriageway severely congested. Some drivers were trapped in their cars for up to 10 hours, as emergency workers struggled to mop up 1,500 litres of oil which had spilled onto the road, says the paper.

The accident happened near Jihlava, writes LIDOVE NOVINY, and as a result that unfortunate town became choked in exhaust fumes as police diverted cars off the motorway. Drivers heading for Prague were forced to inch their away along minor roads - some Senate meetings even had to be postponed because so many senators were stuck in their cars.

Staying on a car theme, and MLADA FRONTA DNES reports on the latest case involving a police officer driving while drunk. The 34-year-old policeman was driving home a colleague and two barmaids when he crashed into a tree. All four were injured. The policeman was found to be way over the limit, says MLADA FRONTA DNES. The paper reminds readers that drink-driving is not a criminal offence in the Czech Republic, although all that could change under proposed new legislation.

Also on the front page of MLADA FRONTA DNES today - corruption among the country's football referees. The paper teamed up with a Czech Television reporter, managing to catch referee Frantisek Krivka accepting five hundred crowns to make sure the right team won a village game. The whole incident was captured on hidden camera, says the paper.

Mr Krivka has admitted taking the bribe, says MLADA FRONTA DNES, but denies influencing the outcome of the match in any way. He said he'd told himself if the right team won, he would keep the money. If the other team won, he would return it. The right team won. Frantisek Krivka adamantly denies any wrongdoing - "If someone wants to give me money, why shouldn't I accept it?"

Finally, PRAVO reports today that more than a year after the devastating floods which severely damaged Prague's metro, city officials are still at loggerheads as to who should be responsible next time. According to some reports the metro's emergency doors weren't closed in time, but as the paper writes, mayor Pavel Bem and Prague Transport Authority head Milan Houfek still can't agree who should be responsible for closing the flood gates in future.

25-11-2003