Final Word from Monday, December 7, 2009



Corruption has become so widespread that many Czechs have stopped paying attention. Each new revelation still sells newspapers but is soon forgotten. To rephrase Stalin, one corruption case is a scandal; one million is a statistic. Many people have great hopes that the interim government of Jan Fischer will put the house in order. The new cabinet has talked a good game, but to expect real progress on corruption, the press must be as tough on Fischer's team as it was on Stanislav Gross. Yet dubious contracts at the Statistical Office (where Fischer is still the official president) and at the finance ministry (which is run by the widely revered Eduard Janota) aren't getting much coverage, except in HN, to its credit. When will we learn what Fischer and Janota knew and when? The kid-gloves approach is reminiscent of the treatment given to the Tošovský cabinet, which in retrospect wasn't so angelic after all.[Czech Republic statistics bureau Joseph Hospodářské noviny tragedy]

Glossary of difficult words

Angels and demons - the name of a novel by Dan Brown;

widespread - extensive; common;

revelation - a surprising and previously unknown fact;

Stalin - "one death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic";

to talk a good game - to sound sincere about something but to have little to back up one's words;

dubious - doubtful, suspect;

finance ministry - the scandal involving retail bonds is new, so perhaps the media will jump on it;

to revere - to feel deep respect or admiration for;

to treat someone with kid gloves - to deal with someone very carefully or tactfully;

angelic - exceptionally beautifully, innocent or kind.

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