28-11-2003

Jana Hybaskova, photo: CTKJana Hybaskova, photo: CTK All of today's papers - even the no-nonsense financial daily HOSPODARSKE NOVINY - run front-page photos of George Bush's surprise Thanksgiving visit to Iraq. Also making headlines, President Klaus gives the government grief after rejecting a second key bill, and the Czech ambassador to Kuwait Jana Hybaskova, who's been sacked after criticising her government over its policy in Iraq.

But let's start with some serious news. "Cats and Dogs to Need European Passports" trumpets MLADA FRONTA DNES today. From next July, explains the paper, if you want to take your four-legged friend on holiday with you, they'll have to have their own passport. The 20-page document will feature a photo, as well as the animal's name, date of birth, sex and so on. The new rules also apply to ferrets.

Also on today's front page of MLADA FRONTA DNES, is the Czech nation dying out? The paper says that declining birth rates mean the country's population - not counting cats, dogs or ferrets - will fall below 10 million by 2025. "The decline in the birth rate is unexpectedly rapid, deep and is lasting much longer than anyone dared to predict when it first started," demographic expert Tomas Kucera told parliament on Thursday.

One man accused of - allegedly - helping to increase the birth rate is the country's President, Vaclav Klaus. As PRAVO reports today, a new book was published on Thursday entitled "Prague Castle Shaken To Its Foundations". The book claims Mr Klaus - allegedly - has an illegitimate child by one of his fans, is sleeping with his secretaries, and even had a gay affair with a psychologist from the elite Castle Guard unit. The president's office says the allegations are absurd, and is considering legal action, writes PRAVO.

Photo: European CommissionPhoto: European Commission Also in PRAVO today, the latest survey of the most popular politicians in the country. In first place is the ever popular Interior Minister Stanislav Gross, followed by Education Minister Petra Buzkova. In third place, rather surprisingly, is Mr Klaus's successor as head of the opposition Civic Democrats, Mirek Topolanek. Surprisingly because critics say that Mr Topolanek hasn't really done anything in the year since he was elected. Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla - the man Mr Topolanek is desperate to replace - finds himself in 12th place.

LIDOVE NOVINY reports on efforts to find 130 translators and interpreters to work in the European Union. Hundreds of hopeful applicants turned up for tests in Prague and Brno on Thursday, looking for a chance to earn big money in Brussels. EU translators start on 3,000 euros a month, which is five times the average wage in the Czech Republic.

28-11-2003