Magazine

17-09-2005

The divorced couple who never even met - much less married! An eleven year old girl finds a baby under a bush. And, a 19 year old waiter-diplomat travels around the world on taxpayers' money! Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarova.

Robbing banks is no easy job - as one Czech bank robber could tell you. He attempted an armed robbery of a bank in Prague 9 - striding in mid-morning and pointing his gun at an employee behind the counter. Amazingly, the employee refused to hand over anything and when the surprised robber walked out of the bank empty handed she got up and followed him to make sure he didn't get away. When the police arrived minutes later she pointed to a nearby bench where the poor robber was sitting dejectedly, staring at the ground. He put up no resistance at all telling the cops that he was out of a job, owed money and had messed up the robbery just as he had messed up the rest of his life.

 

A remake of the American horror film The Omen is to be shot in the Czech Republic and Croatia. Omen 666, the remake of the 1976 original, will be directed by John Moore and will star Liev Schreiber and Julia Stiles. The film tells the story of a couple who unintentionally adopt the Anti-Christ, born on June 6th at 6 am. Filming will begin in October.

 

Kadan, photo: SchiDD, CC BY-SA 3.0 UnportedKadan, photo: SchiDD, CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported The town of Kadan in north Bohemia has decided to change the names of half a dozen streets because they are an unwelcome reminder of the communist era. Streets named after communist leaders and former Soviet army generals will thus be replaced with the names of famous Czech scientists, artists and kings. The towns main square - now "Peace square" - will be renamed to "Charles IV square". For the most part the locals are happy - except for having to undergo a lot of red tape to get the addresses on all their documents changed. Some of the older inhabitants say this is the third time that they change their address although they still live in the same house. First their street was re-named by the Nazis, then the Communists and now by the town hall. "I hope this is the last change - while my memory still serves" one of them said.

 

President Vaclav Klaus is to lecture at Prague's University of Economics as of October. The president will give two hour lectures every Monday to a selected group of economy students. Mr. Klaus will thus be returning to his alma mater - the university from which he graduated in the 1960s and where he later gained the title of professor - to help educate future economists and politicians. The university's vice-dean said the president had responded generously to the university's request, based on the fact that students need to hear the views of someone who is not only well versed in the theory of economics but has first hand knowledge of the real world of politics.

 

Every year 33,000 Czech marriages end in divorce. In Prague it is every second marriage. But even stranger things happen in the north Bohemian town of Hradec Kralove. There you can get divorced from someone you never married - and in fact - never even met. The Czech media this week reported on a case where an overburdened judge inadvertently swapped the names of two divorce couples, thus sending four people divorce papers with the wrong names on them. "It was quite a shock" one of the men says. "I wouldn't mind meeting the lady, but I fear the authorities might send me a marriage certificate if I went that far".

 

An eleven year old girl from the town of Hurky made headlines this week when she found a newborn baby under a bush and very probably saved its life. Bara was on her way to her grand-parents cottage when she heard a funny sound from the undergrowth. She went to investigate and finding an abandoned baby picked it up and carried it to her grandparent's house. According to the old couple it is possible the baby spent more than 24 hours under the bush near their house. "We heard funny mewing sounds coming from there but we thought it was cats - you just don't expect to find a baby under a bush," Bara's granny said. The baby has been placed in an orphanage and named Anichka. And because she was found on a Sunday - she's known as Sunday Anichka.

 

Photo: European CommissionPhoto: European Commission "457 million citizens all at the same address" - that's one of the slogans that the European Parliament is using to try and break down the barrier between the European Parliament and the citizens of Europe. The EP now has web pages in 20 languages - including most recently -Czech. "We feel that we need to draw European citizens into the picture," European Parliament President Josep Borrel told the media. "You can watch the workings of the EU like you would a game of chess - it can be fascinating if you know the rules" Mr. Borrel said "and that's what we are hoping to achieve. We want to show the public what our work entails and that it is not as dry and boring as they might think." Well, if you want a go then the address is: www.europarl.europa.eu.

 

Lukas, photo: CTKLukas, photo: CTK Court hearings have begun on the case of a 19 year old Czech "diplomat fraudster" who travelled round the world at the expense of the state. Lukas - who'd trained as a waiter - decided he wanted a more lucrative job - and found an easy way to finance his ambition to see the world. Dressed as a diplomat he was in and out of Parliament daily, pretending to be an assistant to some high placed figure and making sure he stood right behind important politicians when the cameras clicked. This may sound unlikely, but the trick worked. Soon everyone knew his face and he was commissioning expensive flights for government officials and MPs to attractive locations - Peru, Tunisia, Thailand, South Africa, Belgium, Greece - wherever his fancy took him. The politician in question would have to cancel at the last minute and 19 year old Lukas and a group of his friends would fly alone as the "official Czech delegation". When several trips passed undetected Lukas asked for more and more perks. At his most outrageous, he commissioned a Cessna fighter jet for 2.5 million crowns allegedly for the foreign minister and spent another 100. 000 crowns of taxpayers' money to acquire bodyguards for a trip to Sri Lanka. Needless to say he had a good time. But the good times are over and this brilliant impostor now stands charged with fraud, impersonating a government official and abuse of public funds. He faces eight years in prison. Of course many people are far more interested in being told how the youth could possibly have got away with it -and whether there is any control at all over how Parliament spends its travel funds.

17-09-2005