10-12-2003

Sparta - Lazio, photo: CTKSparta - Lazio, photo: CTK There is no doubt at all as to who is the hero of the day - and even readers who have scant interest in sports will not be able to ignore the big news:Sparta's stunning upset against Lazio Rome on Tuesday, a game in which fans were kept on tenterhooks until the 93rd minute. Marek Kincl managed to score in the dying seconds of the game and most papers carry front pages photos of the star just moments after the goal which opened the door to the next stage of the Champions League in the spring.

Mlada Fronta Dnes carries a very encouraging front page headline "The Czech Republic is getting richer much faster than expected" the paper says. However a closer look reveals that despite accelerated economic growth, attributed to consumer spending, the Czech Republic still has a long way to go. A table showing how long it will take individual EU candidate states to catch up with the European Union -puts the Czech Republic after Estonia, Slovenia and even neighbouring Slovakia. Experts estimate that it will take the Czech Republic 39 years to fully level out the differences.

Pravo carries a report on UN efforts to prevent the overpopulation of planet Earth. According to the UN population commission under ideal circumstances the planet should have 9 billion inhabitants in 300 years time. At the present birth rate however the number would be a staggering 134 trillion, the paper says.

Whatever other problems the Czech Republic may have, curbing the birth rate is not one of them, says Lidove Noviny. On the contrary the number of Czechs is dwindling so fast that by 2050 there will, by all accounts, be 1.5 million Czechs less. If the trend does not change their numbers could drop to 6.5 million within the next 100 years. Demographic expert Zdenek Cermak has told the paper that the general trend in the developed countries of a low birth rate and higher life expectancy could have disastrous consequences - a collapse of the economy and radical political changes.

Czechs are now consumed by a shopping fever - and they are buying up mobiles so fast that they have managed to create a shortage. Mlada Fronta Dnes comments on this with a great deal of amusement noting that like in the communist days there is now a "waiting list" for this hot sales article.

Following a very successful advertising campaign mobiles are once again a major Xmas hit and many mobile stores are unable to meet demand, Mlada Fronta Dnes says. Some models are sold out before they get to us, one salesman admitted. As part of the story, the paper reports on what models the most popular Czech singers, sportspeople and politicians use - which is likely to send sales through the ceiling.

10-12-2003