Czechoslovakia: Bitter Glass Of Beer

Bitter Glass Of Beer

A joke making the rounds in Prague has a group of people, among them Czechoslovak Finance Minister Vaclav Klaus, asked to identify an upturned bottle top. All except Klaus give the expected answer. The Minister, who proposes radical reforms that would cut deeply into living standards, pauses only briefly before answering: "It's a pan for frying steak."

While Klaus' plans are less drastic than the wags imply, he has a reputation for toughness. President Vaclav Havel himself has long argued that Klaus' shock therapy is too severe and would produce civil unrest.

But Havel's moderation suffered a setback last week when...

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