Magazine

27-11-2004

The shoes that look where you are going - a brand new invention to help the blind! It's a dog's life! The smallest dog in the world is not allowed to rest in peace. And, Jane: the first cheetah in the world to get an artificial hip. All here in the Czech Republic. Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarova.

Antonin Kaspar with the shoes for the blind, photo: CTKAntonin Kaspar with the shoes for the blind, photo: CTK Antonin Kaspar is an amateur inventor and his latest invention is something that teams of scientists around the world would be proud to call their own - "sighted" shoes for the blind. "It's great -you slip them on and it's like getting a bit of your sight back" say those who have tried them on. The shoes have an inbuilt infra-red light - the ray of light reflects oncoming hurdles which are registered by a sensor and make the heel of the shoe vibrate. "It's a great advantage," says the vice-president of the Association of the Blind Viktor Dudr. There already is technology which gives the blind warning of hurdles ahead, but the signals are relayed by ear and for the blind hearing is too important a sense to be blocked by just one function, so vibration in the heel is a great alternative, he says. Hopefully, we'll soon see them on the market.

 

Rudol Ziak with his strudl, photo: CTKRudol Ziak with his strudl, photo: CTK When you ask for strudl - or apple pie - at the U Nouzu restaurant you won't be disappointed. The pastry chef Rudolf Ziak makes it well and he makes plenty of it. Last week he made more than usual - a 50 metre long strudel that took him the whole night. He used up 160 kilos of apples, 600 eggs, 85 kilograms of flour and 25 kilograms of sugar. He was the first to sample it and you can see on our web page just how mouth-watering Czech strudl is.

 

Chiwawa Ondra, photo: CTKChiwawa Ondra, photo: CTK The smallest dog in the world -a chiwawa called Ondra -has been dead for four years now but he is still making headlines. Judge Josef Berka recently ordered that his body be exhumed - the first ever exhumation of a dogs remains in this country. At the centre of this highly publicized case is a court battle over the cause of death. Ondra, who weighed just one kilogram and measured just 15 centimetres in height, was entered into the Guinness book of records in 1999 as the smallest dog in the world and his health problems started shortly after. He got a cold and cough and within a year his health had deteriorated to such an extent that he had to be put down. His owner claims that he was killed by being treated with the wrong medicaments and she is demanding a million crowns in damages from the vet who treated him. The court case had dragged for years and, as a last resort, the judge ordered the exhumation in the hope that Ondra's remains would throw some light on his early demise. If it does Ondra's ghost will finally be allowed to rest in peace.

 

"Don't drink that! It's grandpa!" - the Czech media this week reported on the most gruesome story of all time. The incident happened here in the Czech Republic. A group of students were staying over at a friend's country house and had spent the night drinking. In the morning one of them made his way to the kitchen to try and revive them all with mugs of strong coffee. He reached for the nearest contained on the cupboard shelf and proceeded to fill several cups with what he thought was instant coffee. "It tasted quite horrible - but we thought it had been there for a long time and the need to give ourselves a pep up was so strong that most of us just downed it in one go -just to get the benefits of the caffeine," one of them said later. When the student whose country cottage it was walked in to join his friends he was horrified to see that they had just drunk most of the remains of his grandfather - whose ashes were kept on the cupboard shelf, in his favourite room of the cottage, as he'd requested. Grandpa had a great sense of humour - he's probably had a good laugh over this up in heaven, his grandson said when he'd finally calmed down.

 

HolstejnHolstejn Holstejn is a picturesque little village in Moravia - the kind where everyone knows everyone else's business and where news travels over the fence rather than by e-mail. Under normal circumstances it would never have made the news. Were it not for the fact that a flock of sheep arrived out of no-where and decided to make it their new home. They arrived on a cold November morning, did a round of the village - and decided to stay. At first the villagers weren't too concerned. The sheep's arrival broke the monotony and gave them something to talk about as they waited for the owner to show up. It was something that would be recalled years later. Remember the year that so and so's sheep broke loose and ran all over the village?

However, day after day passed and no one showed up to claim the sheep. Holstejn's inhabitants shook their heads as they watched the sheep plodding through the village, grazing on the meadow, going up to the nearby woods and back. The village remained their focal point - and soon they were approaching sheds and houses in search of food and shelter. By this time the first snow had fallen and the mayor had made it his business to investigate the legal impacts of this bizarre happening. He discovered that under Czech law the village was responsible for the animals and had to give them food and shelter until such a time as their owner turned up. If nobody claimed them within a year they would become the property of the village. The police were summoned to Holstejn in the hope that they would somehow resolve the problem. But when they arrived and took stock of the situation they explained that since the sheep had not hurt anyone and were not a public threat - there was nothing they could do. So the eleven sheep remain in and around Holstejn. And the villagers feel a collective responsibility for them - scanning the meadows and counting them, still hoping that their owner will turn up and they will be able to hand over the whole flock. When they finally make it to bed at nights - the last thing they want to do is count sheep.

 

Cheetah Jane from the Usti nad Labem Zoo, photo: CTKCheetah Jane from the Usti nad Labem Zoo, photo: CTK A cheetah at the Usti nad Labem Zoo has become the first in the world to be fitted with an artificial hip. The two year old cheetah, called Jane had been suffering from a congenital disorder of a hip joint and without the transplant she would have been condemned to a gradual loss of mobility and would have had to be put down. The operation took place here in the Czech Republic and doctors say that Jane is recovering well.

27-11-2004