14-07-2003

Health Minister Marie Souckova and Interior Minister Stanislav Gross, photo: CTKHealth Minister Marie Souckova and Interior Minister Stanislav Gross, photo: CTK The plight of Czech holidaymakers in Croatia, the closing night of the Karlovy Vary Film Festival and Health Minister Marie Souckova's plans for improving the health sector -those are some of the main stories on Monday's front pages.

Czechs should expect to pay more for medical care in the coming years, says Hospodarske Noviny. The minister's health reform envisages every citizen contributing up to 2,000 crowns in cash annually towards medical care and buying more over the counter medicines at their own expense.

Nothing surprising about that, says Lidove Noviny. The cost of all services is expected to rise and Czechs are already paying large sums of money to service their cars without so much as blinking an eye. It is time that people accepted greater responsibility for their state of health, the paper says.

Underscoring that point, the paper carries an extensive report on why half of the population is overweight, while 20 percent of Czechs are obese. There are three main factors in play, says Lidove Noviny.

First, only a part of the population has accepted the trend of healthy eating, many have stuck to the red meat, dumplings and rich sauces that are a staple of the Czech diet. Even those who eat healthily are not eating less, the paper says.

Too many people have developed a liking for fast food and, finally, people are less active than ever. Grown ups devote more time to work, while children have swapped sports and games outdoors for computer games and browsing the Internet.

On a different topic - Sunday was the last day on which people could admire the Czech coronation jewels, says Pravo. The jewels are displayed only on exceptional occasions, in keeping with a regulation issued by Emperor Charles the fourth, and when the opportunity arises people queue up for long hours to see them. This year, the 85th anniversary of the birth of Czechoslovakia, the jewels attracted over 40,000 people -both Czechs and tourists - some of whom queued up from the small hours to be sure to get their turn.

Many of the papers carry colour photographs of the coronation jewels which consist of the St. Wenceslas Crown, from the period of Charles IV, used for the coronation of Czech kings since the 14th century, the royal sceptre and orb and a royal cloak decorated with ermine.

And, finally on a worrisome note, Mlada Fronta Dnes informs readers that the situation on Czech roads is extremely hazardous. Anyone who drives in this country needs nerves of steel and plenty of good luck, says the paper. Czech roads are increasingly taken over by road hogs against whom the police appear to be fairly helpless, the paper reports, noting that the Prague-Pilsen highway is particularly dangerous in this respect. This sorry state of affairs is confirmed by the weekend's road statistics which show 22 people killed in road accidents over the past weekend alone.

14-07-2003