09-06-2007

The Czech Defence Minister sings for President Bush. Does Anglina Jolie really want to adopt a Czech orphan? And, the armed robber who was dragged to the police station by his own mother. Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarova.

Vlasta Parkanova and Jan Vycital, photo: CTKVlasta Parkanova and Jan Vycital, photo: CTK Lots of people had strong feelings about President Bush's visit to Prague this week. Some tried to get as close as possible to the US head of state in order to take a picture - others tried to get as close as possible in order to hurl insults. But what no one expected was that the highlight of President Bush's visit to the Czech Republic would be a song: a song that Czech Defense Minster Vlasta Parkanova recorded for him and sung with her old friend country singer Jan Vycital. The song, called Welcome Old Glory, is pro-American to the extent of seeming to be a parody and is based on the sentiment "hello radar, welcome". Photo: CTKPhoto: CTK It evoked a mixture of hilarity, consternation and shame and the minister managed the incredible feat of angering both the opponents of a US plan to site a tracking radar on Czech territory and its advocates. Did the Czech Defense Minister try to commit political suicide? - the papers asked the next day. Vlasta Parkanova, who used to sing with a jazz band, before turning to politics, was chastised but the opposition would not let her get away without a proper grilling. They asked the defense minister to explain the meaning of the lyrics in Parliament and then sing it to deputies. What President Bush made of this bizarre gift remains a mystery.

 

A recent visit by the American film star Angelina Jolie also filled the pages of many Czech papers - but the juiciest piece of gossip appeared after Jolie had left the Czech Republic. And it came from the British tabloid paper the Sun which claimed that Angelina Jolie was preparing to adopt yet another child - this time an orphan from the Czech Republic. The Sun alleged that Jolie had been secretly visiting a Catholic orphanage in Prague and had fallen in love with one of the young residents. "If everything goes smoothly Angelina will have an East European son to add to her brood," the source added. The Czech papers picked up the story and tried to ascertain if there was any truth behind it. By all accounts it seems highly unlikely. Jan Oulik of the Catholic charity Caritas told Mlada Fronta Dnes there was no such orphanage in Prague and the Brno Based Institute for International Legal Protection of Children said it knew nothing about the case. An international adoption would have to be approved by this institute and it is unlikely that such a story would not be leaked to the press.

 

It is being described as "the best ad in years" - some of everyone's "favourite things" being turned into a delicious Skoda Fabia. The Czech car producer had some of the finest pastry and chocolate chefs create a life-size replica of the latest Skoda model and the whole process was captured on film for an advertisement campaign in the United Kingdom. And - there's no question about it - it worked! The most common reaction is "yum" and some of people's favourite things appear to be "the wobbling jelly lights" and "the guy topping up the engine with high-grade syrup". In reality it took 16 cooks 4 days to make and they used up 100 kilograms of flour, 180 eggs and twenty kilos of raisins, among other things. The back lights are made of jelly, the front lights of sweets, the wipers of licorice. It is really one big Fabia cake - but unlike the Fabia itself this is not highly affordable. At 20 million crowns - half a million pounds - not everyone could afford it for tea.

 

KoljaKolja Remember the Oscar winning film Kolja by Czech film director Jan Sverak? The movie about an abandoned Russian child won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film in 1996 and charmed people the world over. Then five-year-old Andrej Chalimon who played the child Kolja is now 17 and loves to visit the Czech Republic where he got his first break. The actress Libuse Safrankova and Andrei Chalimon, photo: CTKThe actress Libuse Safrankova and Andrei Chalimon, photo: CTKHe was one of the guests at this years' Children's Film Festival in Zlin and said that while in Moscow no one knew who he was - here in the Czech Republic people recognized him in the street all the time. Kolja's dream is to be an actor and producer. "Right now people just know me as Kolja - I need a serious, grown up role," the teenager said. Good luck to him!

 

A Czech boy who plunged forty feet from a fourth floor flat window got up and walked away without a scratch after landing on a pile of rubbish filled sacks. Five-year-old Martin Vachov from Moravske Budejovice wandered out onto the balcony and slipped through railings at his home after waking up in the middle of the night and going to look for his mother. Medics who were called out by a neighbour, who saw the boy fall, said they found him walking around completely unharmed - still asking for his mum. Lukas Kettner, an ambulance service spokesman, said: "It's a miracle. He was lucky that the rubbish was there and there was nothing hard in the sacks."

 

An armed robber who terrorized McDonalds stores in the Czech Republic was dragged to the police station by the hand and made to own up by his own mother! "It was really quite a sight - we couldn't have done it any better," one of the officers said later. The twenty-year-old was wanted for robbing several McDonalds stores in different parts of the country. The scenario was always the same - he would drive up in a battered Volkswagen, point a gun at a salesperson and demand all the cash from the cash-desk. Unfortunately, his mum liked watching a TV series in which the police report on various unresolved cases and ask the public to help. One night she put two and two together - cross-questioned her errant son - and hauled him off to the nearest police station. The police could certainly do with more helpers like her.

09-06-2007