29-05-2002

There are three main stories that make the headlines in all the Czech newspapers today: the establishment of the NATO-Russia Council in Rome, Jan Kasl's resignation from his post of Mayor of Prague, and the victory of the Czech soccer team over France on Tuesday in the Under-21s European Championship Final.

But it's mainly political issues that prevail in the papers today, just two and a half weeks before the general election. Lidove noviny writes that only now, with the election campaign entering its final stages, will all the major parties pull their trump-cards from their sleeves in a final push to win-over undecided voters. The Civic Democrats are preparing a concert with the Czech Republic's No1 pop-star Lucie Bila, the Communists are planning to march through Prague, the Social Democrats are set to entertain the Polish Prime Minister in Prague, while the Coalition will launch a lottery offering holidays in EU countries for the winners.

Mlada fronta Dnes features a snapshot of a young Afghani boy being inoculated and reports on the work of a Czech field hospital in Kabul. Its director, Jindrich Sitta told the paper that his staff were weighed-down with work. Czech doctors care for the health of soldiers from the ISAF international mission but also treat up to a hundred local Afghanis a day.

According to doctor Sitta, Czechs in Afghanistan are not afraid of terrorists attacks but rather dangerous diseases, such as malaria, typhus or cholera. That's why they have to wash their hands with disinfectant regularly and comply with strict hygiene regulations in such places as toilets, kitchens, dining rooms and surgeries. Doctor Sitta added that their bodies were exposed to extreme conditions, such as daytime temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius dropping to below freezing at night.

Hospodarske noviny is taken aback by the fact that the construction of the D47 motorway in Northern Moravia got underway on Tuesday, even though formal construction contracts have yet to be signed. The new motorway will be financed by the Housing and Construction company from Israel, which has until now only reached a separate agreement with the Czech government. Prime Minister Milos Zeman defended the hasty move by saying that his government were attempting to tackle the high rate of unemployment in the Ostrava region.

And finally, Pravo informs its readers that four de-vitalization operations have been secretly carried out in a hospital at Vrchlabi, Northern Bohemia. Doctors in the hospital decided to use the controversial cancer treatment - which involves tying knots around cancerous tumours rather than surgically removing them - even though it has not been approved by the Czech Health Ministry.

29-05-2002