08-04-2006

Are you desperate to lose weight? Try the frog diet! Ten kilos off in four days guaranteed. Five mayors change places for a day. And, want to get the better of pick-pockets? Try the "screaming" credit card! Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarova.

Zdenek Bucek (on a boat), photo: CTKZdenek Bucek (on a boat), photo: CTK A Czech man learnt the art of survival the hard way in the floods which hit the country ten days ago. Thirty eight year old Zdenek Bucek was taking a short-cut through the woods near the south-eastern town of Breclav when a flood wave trapped him on a small patch of high ground. Bucek was not carrying a cell phone and had no means of calling for help. He had a lighter and found an empty coca cola can in which he could boil floodwater for drinking. He ate frogs, worms, snails and other small animals for four days until he flagged down an emergency crew passing by on a boat. In the four days he lost 10 kilos. He's now back in his home town where everyone calls him Robinson.

 

Czech supermodel Karolina Kurkova has received a United Nations award for helping women in the developing world. Kurkova was one of ten women selected for the award, among them the Queen of Jordan Rania, Senator Hillary Clinton and actress Angelina Jolie. The award ceremony was preceded by a fashion show of women designers from developing countries.

 

A moment of absentmindedness can cost you dear. It cost one Czech man seven million crowns. The man lost a court case and was ordered to pay seven million crowns in compensation. He immediately appealed the verdict but he posted the letter to the wrong address, meaning that the judge never got it. As a result the court verdict is now in force and the man's pleas that a small mistake on the envelope should not cost 7 million have gone unheard.

 

The employees of five town halls in north Bohemia couldn't believe their eyes when the day's work started on May 31st of this year. Sitting behind his desk was a completely new mayor calling for a cup of coffee, asking for reports due on his desk that day and chairing the morning meeting. "He acted like we'd worked together all our lives and seemed very well informed about what we were doing that day, an aide said, I really thought I was dreaming." The entire set up was an April fools joke agreed on by five mayors in the region who agreed to switch places for the day. "We all knew each other well and were always going on about how simple the other guys' problems were in comparison to our own and then one of us said - well if you think my life's easier try it - so we agreed to switch places for a day," one of the mayors explained. "But because April 1st was a Saturday which is a day off we had to do it on Friday. That made it harder on the staff". The five mayors agreed that getting rid of their own headaches - if only for a day - and dealing with someone else', had proved extremely refreshing. They say they plan to do it every year. Of course in future their staff will be well prepared for them and they may come in for a surprise or two themselves.

 

The Czech Republic is plagued by pick-pockets. It is one of the most common complaints that foreign visitors make and, wary as they are, the locals are also frequent targets. Trams in Prague now carry notices saying "Beware of Pickpockets" and in Czech and English and in the metro there are posters with Inspector Colombo saying "My wife told me Prague is heaven on earth. Unfortunately, for pickpockets as well. Please take good care of your belongings". Ahead of the elections all political parties are promising to put more police officers out in the streets to deal with the problem. Meanwhile in the Moravian town of Brno, they have come up with their own solution. The police have distributed mock plastic credit cards that are a trap for pick-pockets: the card sets off a shrill alarm when a pickpocket pulls it out into the light. The cards are made in China and there are several different kinds. You can get a card that will activate its alarm whenever it is more than a metre away from its owner, for instance. The Brno police have now distributed the first batch of these among the public and are waiting to see what kind of response they get. In Brno alone pickpockets stole over ten and a half million crowns from people in the past year.

 

130 children from eleven orphanages around the country met in Jihlava for several hours of music therapy last week. They stood in a circle and drummed their blues away under the guidance of American therapist John Yost. Although few of the kids know how to play any musical instruments the music therapy event was a huge success that left the kids begging for more. The Music Foundation which organized the event has offered to lend them ten drums and other musical instruments for long-term use.

 

The Czech singing legend Karel Gott who has crooned to three generations of Czech women and continues to win awards after more than 40 years on stage has entered the Czech hall of fame with something that no other Czech pop singer has - a museum of his own. It's to be called Gottland and is now being completed at the singer's former home, a villa in Jevany. Visitors to Gottland will be greeted by the sound of Gott's best known hits, they will be able to touch the bed he slept on and the table he ate at. The organizers have persuaded Gott to leave them some of his personal belongings and some of the pictures that he paints as a hobby. On the way out visitors will be able to buy various Gott memorabilia, such as Gott-mugs, sighed photographs and old records. "It is a bit strange to see this happening in my lifetime, but I'm flattered" Gott said at the press conference. He has sold over 27 million records during his forty year career, and is hugely popular not only in the Czech Republic, but also in other parts of Europe, including Germany and Russia. The museum will be open to the public as of June 30th for the price of 150 crowns per visitor. In the meantime, Gott fans can look forward to a new line of Gott perfumes - for men and women. "Something exotic for the ladies and whisky, figs and tobacco for men" the singer said in explanation. Gott, who is expecting a child later this year, told journalists it had been a very productive year for him.

08-04-2006