Photo: CTK

Metro-sexuals in Prague - men who are ready to undergo the torture of chest and back waxing! Swooning over an actor? Buy his old T-shirt in the Celebrity Shop and the Dinosaur Park in Pilsen gets a new flying reptile. Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarova.

Star-struck teenagers now have a chance to obtain something that once belonged to their idol - together with a verification certificate and signature. Girls crazy about Petr Nagy can now buy his old guitar for 14,500 crowns, those swooning over actor Martin Dejdar can get an old T-shirt of his and Superstar fans can make a bid for a coffee cup that runner-up Tomas Savka claims to have used for over a month! The Celebrity Shop on the internet offers a wide variety of knick-knacks -most of them totally useless apart from the fact that they once belonged to someone in the spotlight. You can spend anything -from 100 crowns - which is around four dollars - to several thousand. And if - in time -you come to the conclusion that what's his name's baby rattle was the stupidest thing you ever bought -or that Nada Urbankova's New Years' costume really doesn't fit you - you can console yourself with the knowledge that the proceeds of the Celebrity Shop go a children's charity foundation.

Photo: CTK
The west Bohemian town of Pilsen is well worth visiting -not just because it produces the famous Pilsner brew. Pilsen is home to the only dinosaur park in the Czech Republic. It boasts several dozen life-size models of pre-historic animals which roar, move their heads and tails, open their jaws and breathe! The biggest is a 23 meter long brontosaurus, but you can also become acquainted with the Stegosaurus, Tyrannosaurus, Apatosaurus, Pterosaurus and many others. The latest addition to the park is the Pteranodon, a toothless flying reptile with wings that span over 4 metres, which lived some 80 million years ago. The Pteranodon arrived last week and now hangs suspended in flight at a height of about four metres - casting a huge shadow and giving visitors a taste of what it would have been like to see it flying overhead...

Could it be that Czech men are undergoing a major transformation? The term metro-sexual has reached Prague and some men are suddenly discovering new dimensions of grooming - such as arm, chest and back-waxing at salons. Quite a few of them are braving the pain in order to look like male fashion models who for some reason always sport completely hairless chests. So what do the ladies think of that? Well, most of them are snickering and there are comments such as "let them see what it feels like and they'll appreciate our efforts more!" but overall it doesn't seem like the hairless guys will get more attention than most. Most Czech women simply don't see the point of going that far. But, it will be interesting to see for just how long Czech men will be prepared to suffer for their trendy new image.

Mirek Topolanek  (left) and Zdenek Skromach,  photo: CTK
While a trip to the salon can make the average Czech man more desirable -politicians have to go that extra mile to boost their popularity ratings. And I'm not talking about waxing their chest and back. The leader of the strongest opposition party in Parliament - Mirek Topolanek of the Civic Democrats - this week went back to his roots in Hodonin, donning the region's traditional dress and joining the local male choir in a hearty rendition of two love songs. Not to be outdone - a member of the ruling party of Social Democrats -Labour Minister Zdenek Skromach showed the locals that he's a match for any of them when it comes to downing a shot of local brandy.

The famous equestrian statue of St. Wenceslav - the patron saint of the Czech nation - which stands at the top end of Wenceslas Square will soon disappear behind a wall of scaffolding. The work of pigeons, acid rain and other adverse factors have left him in a sorry state and the country's favourite saint is in for some badly needed maintenance. The restoration work is expected to last for about a year - town officials hope to unveil the statue in all its glory on St. Wenceslas day next September. The statue last underwent maintenance in the seventies - and in the sixties one entire leg of the horse had to be replaced.

The inhabitants of Ceska Lipa are engaged in a heated dispute with the town hall authorities. At the centre of dispute is a new regulation which forbids mothers to leave their children unattended in prams outside the city's shops. The city police have been instructed to fine any mother who leaves her child unattended a thousand crowns, on the grounds that she is risking the child's life and well-being. There have been too many cases of young children kidnapped outside shops, and if their mothers don't recognize the danger then we must, the mayor said. Mothers claim the town hall has no right to issue such a regulation and call it "bullying". They argue that the town hall would do better to encourage more local stores to allow baby carriages inside. Local police officers - caught in the middle of this dispute-say that the new regulation is meaningless. It's a mother's responsibility to protect her child - and if she fails to do so there are laws on the grounds of which she would be charged, they point out. And, as far as prevention goes - that is a parental responsibility not that of the town hall. But the town hall is adamant and the battle rages on.

If you walk along the banks of the Vltava river you'll probably come across a few fishermen idling away a morning or afternoon. Although fishing was always a popular hobby in this country fishermen along the Vltava were few and far between because there wasn't much fish in the river and the water was badly contaminated. Now the situation is slowly changing for the better - and the fishermen are coming back. There's plenty of fish there - all kinds - fishermen say - there are even eels and crabs, a sure sign that the water's improving. Improving it may be - but it is far from clean and not everyone's willing to eat the catch that the family fishing enthusiast brings home. Vladimir Polanecky, the head of the Prague Hygiene Office is careful in issuing a verdict about whether fish from the Vltava river are safe to eat. "If you do it once in a while- it won't do you any harm," he says. Of course not everyone fishes to eat. Twenty year old Martin who is one of the regulars on the Vltava embankment says he never liked the taste of fish but took up the hobby alongside his grandfather. "I just fish for the enjoyment of it, and throw them all back," he explains. Chances are however that in a few years time eating fish caught in the Vltava river might be no problem at all. The EU is prepared to contribute millions of euros towards reducing river, soil and air pollution in the Czech Republic. According to deputy environment minister Tomas Novotny, Prague could get the equivalent of 12 billion crowns from EU coffers in the next two years alone -but only if it manages to put forward convincing clean up projects in its grant-applications. Until it does, many fishermen will just have to throw their catch back into the river.

Ravenel's Stinkhorn,  photo: ElmA,  Creative Commons 3.0
Czech mycologists - meaning mushroom experts - are highly excited over a recent find in the forests near Prerov. Two women out mushroom picking stumbled over a type of mushroom that is a "unique find" in Europe - Ravenel's Stinkhorn. They notified the experts and in no time at all a number of them were combing that part of the forest - to find 30 stinkhorns in all. They believe that the mushroom must have got to Europe in containers of flora from North America. As you can see - the stinkhorn is not a particularly appetising find - its head is covered with olive green slime and the name itself is fairly revealing - but then you never know what will make people happy!