30-05-2004

In this week's edition of Mailbox we introduce the listeners' competition question for June, and look at some of the festivals in the Czech Republic this summer. Listeners quoted: Kenneth Marks and Fawaz Hamoui.

And we begin with an e-mail from Kenneth Marks from Manchester, UK.

"My wife, son, daughter, and I will be travelling to the Czech Republic and Poland this summer. Could you tell us what festivals could interest us this year? We have been told that there are several dozen of them."

Well, I'm not sure whether there are going to be so many but it is true that the festival season in the Czech Republic starts as early as June and continues through the summer until September and there are concerts, theatre performances, and film festivals throughout the country, not just in Prague or Brno. Of course, it's difficult to say what could interest you, Mr Marks. The main festivals, though are the Smetanova Litomysl international opera festival from June 17-27, the Nine Gates festival that takes place in Prague at about the same time, the Shakespeare summer festival which starts at the end of June and continues through August and ends in September, the international film festival in Karlovy Vary from July 2-10. The younger generation may be interested in the Rock for People festival in the first week in July and the Colours of Ostrava music festival in the second week of that month. These are just a few picks.

Fawaz Hamoui is from Lebanon and he sent the following question:

"In Newsweek magazine, I read that Mr Atta did not in fact meet with a diplomat from Iraq in Prague. Is this important news in the Czech Republic?"

I must admit that it's not got much attention - neither from the media, nor from Czechs in general. Just to explain to listeners who do not know what Mr Hamoui is referring to. About a month after the September 11 attacks on the United States, it was believed that Mohammed Atta, the man believed to have piloted one of the hijacked planes that crashed into the World Trade Centre, visited the Czech Republic twice before the attacks and even met with an Iraqi diplomat in Prague. The Czech Intelligence Service later confirmed that Mohammed Atta was in Prague on two occasions and was suspected to have contacted an Iraqi intelligence official on one of those occasions. However, it was never clear whether Mr Atta's visits were related to the September 11 attacks.

 

And it's time for our competitions. The deadline for your entries to the annual competition, June 15, is nearing - you have about two weeks to take part. Send us a few lines, at least half a page, on what Czech music means to you. The main prize will be a week in Prague and there'll also be a number of attractive runner-up prizes.

And the question for the month of May: "May 12th 2004 marked the 120th anniversary of the death of the famous Czech composer Bedrich Smetana. Where was he buried?"

You have until June 8 to get your answers to us.

And finally, the question for the month of June: "There will be nine anniversaries in June. Which of the musicians commemorated was born exactly one hundred years ago?"

Send your answers to the Radio Prague English Section, 120 99 Prague 2, the Czech Republic or by e-mail to english@radio.cz. They should get to us by June 30th.

30-05-2004