The German play about a famous Czech sea lion, the traffic officer who shocked Pilsen and, the summer menace for holiday makers across the country. Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarova
And, speaking of the floods, one of the flood victims of the 2002 - the sea lion Gaston is going to be the star of a shadow and light theatre performance in the state opera in Dresden, Germany. The children's play is called "Swim, Gaston, Swim!" and tells the story of a brave sea lion who had a great adventure trying to swim to freedom down the Vltava river and the Elbe. On its internet pages the opera describes the performance as "the dramatic adventures of a sea lion who had to overcome numerous hurdles and challenges on the road to freedom". Although he never achieved his goal, the authors claim that Gaston's strength and determination gave him "human characteristics". Germany was captivated by Gastons's flight to freedom two years ago and there's even been a book published about him - which ends by saying that although Gaston died in his attempt to reach the sea - he became the Czech Republic's national hero. The devastating floods of 2002 put the Troja Zoo in Prague almost completely underwater and the twelve year old Gaston was one of four sea lions swept from his pool into the turbulent waters of the Vltava river. His three mates were soon captured and brought back but Gaston managed to avoid his keepers, playing games with the crew who followed him down the river, feeding him fish to try and entice him back into captivity. After he crossed the border into Germany, German officials joined in the chase hoping to catch the sea lion before he came to some harm. By the time Gaston was eventually captured he had swam 400 km and he died of exhaustion several hours later. Zoologists say his chances of survival in the cold water of the Vltava and Elbe rivers, which at the time were contaminated and filled with debris as a result of the floods in central Europe were slim. But his flight to freedom made headlines around the world.
A Czech citizen who took part in the Czech Who Wants To Be a Millionaire contest -and lost one and a half million crowns after allegedly failing to give the correct answer is filing charges against TV Nova, which is hosting the show. Karel Lupomnesky saw his dream disintegrate when he seemingly chose the wrong word denoting a military unit in the Roman empire. The contestant allegedly consulted historians and was told that the term he chose and that which the station claimed to be the only correct answer were synonymous. Mr. Lupomensky is claiming two and a half million crowns in damages. It is the first court case of its kind in the Czech Republic.
A nation-wide crackdown on bad drivers this week resulted in thousands of speeding fines. Those who violated the speed limit close to the Prague auto club were in for a surprise. The officers let them chose whether they wanted to pay a hefty fine or take a test on the crash simulator at the nearby club. The possibility to try this out sparked plenty of interest - and the chances that those drivers who undertook it will be caught speeding without having fastened their seatbelts is much smaller than if they'd just forked out several hundred crowns. Statistics show that the Czech Republic is lagging behind the rest of Europe in this respect. While 80% of people living in Western Europe fasten their safety belts automatically - even for short journeys - in the Czech Republic less than 50 % of all car passengers take the trouble to do so.