05-08-2006

Women's knickers have become the latest driving accessory for some Czech motorists! Czech zoologists are studying a unicorn-snail with only one tentacle, and most Czechs think that life is too short to eat health-food. Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarova.

The police in Usti nad Labem have announced that they will stop using the Canadian boot as a way of punishing parking offences. "It is archaic and there's really no need to maintain it" the local police chief said at a press conference last week. Officers will now merely take a photograph of the respective vehicle and leave a note stating by what date the parking fine needs to be paid. Local drivers have welcomed the decision but other towns are not eager to follow the set example, saying they will wait and see how things in Usti develop.

 

Women's knickers have become the latest driving accessory for some motorists. They use them to play a cat and mouse game with the police - stretching the knickers over their license plate to prevent identification when they are caught speeding. Then they can give the police a good chase and disappear in a cloud of smoke without fear of reprisals. "Yes, this does happen quite a lot - and there's really not much we can do about it at present " one officer admitted privately, saying that many police stations were now investing in faster cars in order to be able to keep up with the speeding offenders. Getting left behind in an old Skoda police car can be a very humiliating experience.

 

The river Bela that runs through the Moravian highlands has no particular claim to fame but the inhabitants of Pelhrimov - the town of records and curiosities - are determined to get it into the Guinness Book of records come what may. Since it's not the longest or deepest river -or in any other way special - they've decided to make it a "melting pot" of as many rivers and water reservoirs as possible. Within the past year and a half all the locals who have traveled abroad have brought back water from whichever ocean, sea or river they visited - in all 359 samples from 46 countries around the world. Part of the water sample is poured into the river, the rest is stored in little bottles in the local Museum of Records and Curiosities as proof that that particular entry was not faked. The museum's director says that an analysis of the water sample would doubtless confirm its origin. Be that as it may - the Bela river now has a "dash" of the Pacific Ocean, the Dead Sea, lake Washington, a stream in Macchu Piccu, water from the snows of Kilimanjaro, from the rivers Eufrat and Tigrid, from Iceland, Australia and many other parts of the world - 359 places in all. The diversity would not have been such had it depended on the locals alone - but Josef Vanek who heads this little project asked all the participants of the Brno trade fair to help out - and they did, as did foreign participants of the Prague marathon, who had been informed about the Pelhrimov endeavor. At this point the organizers could surely ask to be considered for a place in the Guinness Book of Records but they want to wait awhile yet. It's summer and people are sure to bring back many more samples from their holiday abroad.

 

Meanwhile environmentalists are busy with a very different project on the river Elbe. The river which is frequently contaminated by chemical factories along its banks has gotten a bad name and most people refuse to bathe in it. Environmentalists insist that the river is clean and - in an effort to convince the locals about this - have been taking regular dips in the river. But so far, to no avail. The locals are far from convinced that the toxins and impurities in the river are washed away as quickly as environmentalists claim. So for the time being the river serves mainly as a transport waterway... although the mentioned group of environmentalists is determined to change that - even if it means swimming in the Elbe all summer.

 

The town of Olesnice boasts a very rare find - a snail that has only one tentacle in the centre of its forehead. This unicorn-snail was found crawling around in someone's garden one day and was brought to the attention of zoologists who have undertaken a close inspection. Normally a snail has eyes at the end of each tentacle but because this snail has only one tentacle the eyes are placed right next to each other on the single tentacle. This seems to have had no effect on the snail's vision and zoologists are now studying it more closely to see whether it has any other abnormalities.

 

A survey just out shows that only 12 percent of Czechs stick to a healthy diet, although 7 percent of them do not always enjoy their food. Despite the fact that one in two Czechs die of cardio-vascular diseases and there is now plenty of information about the danger of high cholesterol levels -few Czechs are really listening or acting on the advice given. 43 percent of respondents said something to the effect that life was too short to eat broccoli and so they eat what they like and enjoy every bite. Another big group - 35 percent of respondents - said they occasionally try to eat health food in order to boost their health but most of the time they also prefer to indulge themselves. There is just one thing that most Czechs are willing to do for their health - drink a glass of good wine with their food. Studies show that the French, who also love rich sauces and calorie-packed deserts, keep in better health by drinking a glass of red wine with their meal. Now that is the kind of advice Czechs are ready to listen to. Two thirds of respondents said they are partial to a glass of wine with their lunch or dinner - and will be happy to apply this particular cure. .

05-08-2006