12-02-2004

The Social Democratic Party, the senior partner in the ruling coalition, makes the front pages of all main dailies today. While disagreement within the party over rent and another VAT hike sees Mlada Fronta Dnes lead with a headline reading "Social Democrats in serious crisis," Lidove Noviny and Pravo choose to celebrate the fact that this disagreement will most likely result in the prices of water, sewage collection and tickets to cultural events not being raised.

The Czech lottery company, Sazka, which is currently having a new arena built to host the World Ice Hockey Championships this year has found a new way of acquiring much-needed funds, writes Hospodarske Noviny. The company plans to transfer the arena to Zeleny Ostrov, or Green Island, a civic association of sports unions that own Sazka, and finance sports events from its profits. The transaction increases Sazka's chances of attaining a several million crown credit, which is needed to construct the arena, bank representatives tell the paper.

They live in the homes of former kings and pay only a few thousand crowns a month, writes Mlada Fronta Dnes. The paper reports that rent for several apartments in buildings on the grounds of Prague Castle is still regulated, seeing dozens of Czechs live at the most prestigious address, almost for free. The team of President Vaclav Klaus now hopes to empty the flats and use them for purposes that will attract more tourists. But this is easier said than done, the paper points out.

In the Czech Republic, one million men between the ages of 35-65 years suffer from impotence, writes Pravo. This is exactly half the male population within this age group. A doctor tells the paper that impotence could be a warning signal of a serious illness as research shows that 56% of impotent men have a heart problem, 60% a high concentration of fat in their blood, and 68% suffer from high blood pressure. It is therefore imperative that men consult their physicians immediately, and yet only ten percent of Czech men do, Pravo notes.

Lidove Noviny looks into a court ruling on Wednesday, which cleared a former border guard of murder charges. Josef Mlcousek, who was on trial for shooting dead an East German national in 1967, as he tried to escape to Austria, was acquitted for lack of evidence. The state prosecutor has appealed the verdict. The paper shows a black-and-white photo of a 1956 poster, celebrating the border police, featuring two guards with machine guns. It lists all similar border shootings from the Communist years that have made it to court and finds that only one out of seven accused guards, was found guilty of murder and given a prison sentence.

12-02-2004