Photo: CTK

Paternity tests conducted on an anonymous basis have now become available in the Czech Republic - but psychologists are warning fathers to think twice before undertaking them - every tenth child allegedly has a different father than presumed! Who will be the greatest Czech of all time? And, two Czech "spidermen" end up in jail. Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarova.

Have you ever been plagued with doubts as to whether your child is really yours? As of this week Czech men have the possibility to put this to the test on an anonymous basis. Pharmacies have started selling special sample kits - so that fathers can take their own and their child's saliva sample and send the kit anonymously to the lab. For eleven thousand crowns they will get the answer to their question. Although paternity tests were performed in the past it was never on an anonymous basis. Psychologists fear that the anonymity factor will set of a wave of testing and advise fathers to give the matter serious consideration before setting off for the nearest pharmacy. Many predict that this could result in the break up of hundreds of marriages - estimates suggest that every tenth child has a different father than presumed.

This week private TV NOVA featured one of the most amazing stories in medical history. 71 year old Marie -an invalid pensioner from Vyskov has one big passion in her life - knitting. When some time ago she mislaid one of her knitting needles her family turned the house upside down to try and find it - but to no avail. Soon after Marie took to bed with serious back pains and was shortly taken to hospital. The surgical team there not only cured her - they found her lost knitting needle - which had pierced her back and entered her body without her having realized it, due to a low pain threshold. The 20 cm needle travelled a 15 cm journey up her back - causing Marie's back pain. She's fully recovered now - but her family is keeping a sharp eye on her knitting kit.

Photo: CTK
Sunshine and temperatures at 16 degrees Celsius brought millions of Czechs outdoors to enjoy this unusual January weather last weekend. And it brought out others as well - the warm weather is reported to have woken up bears in the Czech and Slovak mountains. Waking up in this manner is nothing pleasant - what happens is that the ice melts and fills their lairs with ice cold water. Understandably enough the bears are not in the best of moods - grumpy, hungry and aggressive. Luckily for Czechs there aren't many bears left in the Beskydy mountains - about two - ecologists say. But people in neighbouring Slovakia need to be more wary. There are some 400 grumpy bears in the Tatra mountain range all looking for someone to blame - and some food to make up for the rude awakening. Zoologists say the chances of them going back to sleep are slight. And there's no saying how long their bad mood may last. In the Beskydy mountains - tourists are much better off - they are more likely to hear mating songs from birds who have responded to the warm weather as well - and they appear to be in the best of moods. Some of them have even started building their nests.

There are thousands of underground shelters in the Czech Republic, built at the time of the Cold War. There are over 1,000 of them in the eastern part of the Czech Republic, alone. Their maintenance would cost millions and so many of them have gone to ruin but some of them have been transformed beyond recognition. They have become archives, fitness centres, bars and restaurants, discos and cinemas. There is one that serves as a puppet theatre and another as a car track for children. One of the biggest was built in Kladno and could allegedly shelter 10,000 people. However its chances of serving the public are nil - local construction has interfered with the static, it is wet and mouldy and like thousands of others it will go to ruin - a reminder of days gone by.

The Czech Republic is aspiring to a place in the Guinness Book of Records claiming to have the biggest hen's egg in the world. The present record is held by Germany with an egg measuring 8,7 cm. But last week a hen in southern Bohemia went one better - laying an egg that measures a full 9cm and weighs 210 grams. This particular egg will certainly not end up scrambled - the Pelhrimov Muzeum of Records and Curiosities has already made a bid for it.

'Spidermen',  photo: CTK
The police have arrested two thieves whom they'd been after for years and whom the police themselves dubbed "spidermen" due to their incredible agility. The pair had no problem at all jumping from roof to roof, swinging from balcony to balcony on the cord of a vacuum cleaner, riding bikes over rooftops and entering buildings through windows only 30 x 30 cm big. They robbed over 70 flats and houses leaving both the police and the victims open mouthed. The guys finally slipped up - but not on the roof. Since they didn't own a car they ordered a taxi to remove the loot and the taxi driver who drove them to their home address contacted the police, saying they had acted suspicious. Petr and Kamil will now spend ten years in jail - where wardens are already checking out the size of their windows and removing vacuum cleaners.

After a brief period in which Czech parents chose foreign, exotic soundings named for their children - they have gone back to traditional Czech names. Top of the list among today's baby girls are: Tereza, Katerina,and Eliska / the Czech versions of Tereza, Catherine or Eliza/. Boys are most often christened Jan, Jakub or Martin / the equivalent of John, Jacob and Martin/. Czechs still tend to give their children one Christian name only. Out of 913 babies born in the Valasske Mezirici region only 11 babies were given two names- among them, Anna Marie, Simon Alois, Aneta Marie or Tereza Anna. Among the few exotic names that have found their way into the Czech register are: Claudia, Vanessa, Naomi, Bianca and Natanaela.

Czechs are now voting for the Greatest Czech of all time - the Czech version of the British nation wide poll in which Winston Churchill came out top of the list. Among the big Czechs vying for the honour are Emperor Charles the IV and football star Karel Poborsky, St. Wenceslas and Vaclav Havel, composer Antonin Dvorak and film director Jiri Menzel, St. Agnes and pop singer Karel Gott, the country's first president Tomas Garrigue Masaryk and hockey coach Ivan Hlinka. And of course many, many others. A very mixed company indeed. And who are the current favourites? It is typical of the Czechs' wry sense of humour that the current hot favourites are purely fictitious - the good soldier Schweik and the genius Jara Cimerman. Of course, the competition has only just begun and so it will take a while before we know the name of the winner.