The town of Bozi Dar is experiencing a gold rush! Students empty barrels of slime outside the Czech government headquarters. And - sorry about the inconvenience! - motorway construction workers give a stork a new home for the price of 6,000 euros. Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarova.

The Czech Euro commissioner Vladimir Spidla had some rather bad news for Czechs last week. He said he knew exactly when the last Czech on this planet would die: in 2401! As commissioner for employment, social affairs and equal opportunities, part of Mr. Spidla's job it is to analyze the demographic trend in Europe and its impact on people's lives. On a working visit to the Czech Republic, Mr. Spidla teased the public in Brno, saying that he had used a special UN democratic prognosis programme to find out what the prospect was for his own homeland and that unless they took action fast the outlooks were not good. Without outside influences, Czechs would not survive the year 2401 and the last Czech to die would allegedly be a woman. The EU commissioner was in Brno for a conference on the demographic trend in Europe at which experts presented various possible solutions to the problem.

Photo: CTK
Although the Czech Republic has a new government many Czechs are far from happy with the state of Czech politics and the flagging morals of politicians. This week students staged a protest outside the government's headquarters, emptying several barrels of slime right outside the new PM's doorway. "This is what we think of Czech politics" was the message conveyed. They demanded a proper conflict of interests law, restricted immunity for MPs, fewer perks for deputies and the approval of a political code of ethics.

The Prague Town Hall wants more greenery in the city centre and has announced a special grants project for window plants. The inhabitants of the Prague 1 district will be paid to put plants on their window sills this spring. Half a million crowns has been earmarked for the project and town hall officials say they are hoping for a positive response from the public.

Motorway construction workers in the north east of the Czech Republic amazed locals by breaking off their own work for several hours in order to build a new home for a stork dislodged by the new route. The stork had previously nested on a factory chimney which lay directly in the path of the motorway and had to be destroyed. The construction workers erected an old, discarded 13 metre /40 feet/ high electric post to support the new nest and used old fencing to lay the foundations. The structure cost around 200,000 Czech crowns that's over 6 thousand euros. The stork immediately settled in and started improving its new home. Such concern for the environment among construction workers is still a rare though very welcome sight.

Hradec Kralove
The town of Hradec Kralove has re-named one of its squares after Pope John Paul II. It is the first Czech town to pay homage to the late pope in this manner. What is interesting about it is that Hradec Kralove is a town with a strong Hussite tradition, more proof of the fact that Pope John Paul II opened many doors and hearts.

Bozi Dar
The town of Bozi Dar in the Krusne mountains is experiencing a gold-rush. Its inhabitants are in the grip of euro-fever ever since it came out that a wealthy entrepreneur had lost an envelope containing 75 thousand euros - a whopping two million crowns - somewhere in the vicinity. The entrepreneur was there on a brief skiing holiday and claims that he placed the envelope containing the euros on the roof of his car, then attended to something else, forgot all about it, and drove off. He has promised a reward of 200, 000 crowns to the finder. Now that the snow is melting the locals are walking with their eyes glued to the ground hoping to find the lost treasure. Martin Slechta, one of the town's officers, says you can sense the excitement in the air. "Most people are too embarrassed to use shovels but they've been getting a lot of outdoor exercise walking," he says. "As for the kids, they really are on a treasure hunt."

Radek Nadazy with the mammoth tooth, photo: CTK
Radek Nadazy from Bohumin has already found his treasure. On one of his strolls along the river Odra he came across a strange looking object on the river bank. Unbelievably, it turned out to be a mammoth tooth. Radek Nadazy who is an amateur archaeologist said it was "a dream come true" and the team of archaeologists who arrived to comb the vicinity in the hope of finding tusks or other fossilized remains were equally excited. The tooth is exceptionally well preserved, weighs 2 kilos and is now being examined by archaeologists.

The very first "baby box" is due to be installed at a private clinic in Prague at the beginning of May. It will enable mothers who have given birth and want to give up their babies anonymously to do so. The box is thermo regulated and all the mother has to do is punch a button and place her baby inside. The alarm will alert a nurse or doctor immediately.

This practice, which exists in many European states, and was recently introduced in neighbouring Slovakia, caused a row between the Czech health ministry and state run hospitals which were also planning to get baby boxes installed. The health ministry has put its foot down and refuses to support them on the grounds that it would lead to an increase in abandoned children. Baby box advocates claim that mothers who intend to abandon their children because they find themselves in a crisis will do so anyway. Specialists at the private mother and baby clinic in Prague say that even a single baby saved from dying out in the cold or being killed at birth would make the project worthwhile.

An ostrich is on the loose in the Czech Republic. A couple of ostriches recently escaped from an ostrich farm near Chomutov when visitors left open a gate to their enclosure. The male was captured within hours, but the female has so far managed to avoid getting caught. The farm owners have alerted the police and have taken out space in the local papers to ask the public for help. Local radio stations are now issuing regular bulletins about how the ostrich hunt is progressing and advising people what to do if they should see the bird. The ostrich has now made the prime time evening news, but there is still no sign of it. A grown ostrich can allegedly cover 30 to 40 km a day, which means that it could pop up anywhere or even cross the border illegally. Oh, and just in case you happen to come face to face with it - you are advised to throw an empty sack over its head and call for help.