18-08-2007

Hitting your mayor over the head with a microphone is not a good idea - but a Czech woman has just got away with it. What are vultures doing in the Czech Republic? And, it is a perfect little village in every way - but what is Stalin doing on the village green? Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarova.

They faked a nuclear explosion and are now in big trouble. A group of young artists managed to air a pirate broadcast on Czech Television's main channel - showing a nuclear explosion. The pirate broadcast went on air at a quarter past eight in the morning on June 17th and some viewers thought it was for real, desperately calling the station for more information. Czech Television pressed charges of scaremongering and two of the artists have now been charged. They claim that the whole thing was a provocation to show how easily the media can manipulate reality. The group in fairly well known in the Czech Republic - a few years back it turned the neon heart over Prague Castle into a question mark and more recently tampered with some street lights -replacing the stop and go figures with a hangman, a one-legged man and a dancing lady.

 

Hitting your mayor over the head with a microphone is not a good idea - but with a bit of luck you can get away with it. An elderly Czech woman from Dubi got so worked up at a meeting with town council representatives she forgot herself and physically attacked the mayor grabbing a journalist's microphone and slamming him over the head with it. Despite the soft microphone protector the mayor felt the blow and was felled on the spot. For months the woman lived in fear of the consequences - she could have faced a sentence of up to five years for attacking a civil servant. However this week the regional state attorney let her off the hook. After hearing several eyewitness accounts of the conflict - according to which the mayor insulted the lady before she hit him - using very vulgar language - the attorney arrived at the conclusion that the mayor had shed the role of a civil servant by doing so. He shed the adjective civil in any case. The woman was reprimanded and told never to do it again.

 

A prisoner from one of the country's high-security prisons got the prison bosses into big trouble last week when he called a journalist from a popular commercial TV station on his mobile phone. Mobile phones are of course banned but the man said that they were easily available for a price as were drugs and personal belongings. To prove that the phone call was not a joke the prisoner waved a white handkerchief from his prison cell when the reporter asked him to. Cameras were rolling and the prison bosses could only squirm when they saw the coverage that night. Prisoners are only allowed one phone call a month from a fixed line which is moreover monitored. In addition to that, the prison pays for scramblers which should block a mobile phone signal - but those seem to have failed as well. However it did emerge that they were doing a good job scrambling the signal of people living in the neighborhood.

 

In Czech the expressions for water and vodka are very similar - voda and vodka. However you do expect a major difference in taste. Buyers at an unmanned supermarket were shocked to find that their vodka bottles contained pure water. The vodka bottles were all sealed and the supermarket manager was unable to explain the mystery.

 

In the past the only place where you could see a vulture in the Czech Republic was at the zoo. But that's changed. People from several parts of the country have reported sightings and one was even brought into an animal shelter near Pelhrimov when it was found battered and dehydrated by a group of young people. Ornithologists say that vultures had not been sighted in this part of the world for over a century and any sightings were always exceptional. They say that this year vultures from Spain are migrating across Europe in search of food. However they are only temporary visitors - any hopes that they could nest here are likely to be dashed - according to ornithologists the conditions are simply not right.

 

People living on the outskirts of Prague may also have sighted a condor flying overhead. Not that condors are indigenous to these parts. But condor Charles whose owner lives on the outskirts of Prague has become a household name here. For some reason he regularly escapes from his owner once every two years for a taste of life in the wild. He first disappeared six years ago, easily avoiding all attempts to recapture him. His owner thought he'd lost him for good, but Charles came back when he'd had enough of the wilderness. Two years ago he took another break and this year he disappeared in mid July - to return home a month later. He always comes back looking well-fed and satisfied and has now become something of a celebrity. No one knows where he spends his time off - we only know he's due to take another break in two years time.

 

A beautiful chapel, well kept houses and perfectly tended flowerbeds - Studenec in Moravia looks the perfect little village in every way. Not surprisingly it won the regional round of the national contest Village of The Year. But the jury which awarded the prize was in for a shock - journalists pointed out something that no one had noticed - taking pride of place on the village green was a memorial to Stalin. Even more surprisingly he was rubbing shoulders with the founder of Czechoslovakia ex-president T.G. Masaryk and ex president Eduard Benes. "That's rather unfortunate - Studenec was the obvious winner and no one really noticed Stalin on the memorial," one of the jury members said. They can consider themselves lucky they did not pose in front of it for a picture after announcing Studenec as the winner of the regional contest. That snapshot would have made the front page of every newspaper in the country!

18-08-2007