Radek John, photo: Filip Jandourek

In Magazine: an MP promises TV viewers “some serious mud-raking in the top echelons of power”, the citizens of Ostrava finally get a breath of fresh air, and, an 18-year-old amateur cook wins third place at the 2013 Gourmand World Cookbook Awards.

Photo: Czech Television
People in Ostrava were in for a treat this week. After months of grey skies and a seemingly endless series of smog-alerts during which the concentration of dust particles in the air exceeded permitted levels several fold they were treated to a breath of fresh air – several gulps in fact as they passed through the OXYTENT set up on the town’s main square. The happening organized by the NGO Clean Skies and a group of university students was of course not intended as a life-saving measure for a population chocking on smog but an umpteenth attempt to point out the fact that the region has a serious problem. The organizers also handed out a number of mobile monitoring devices for people to put outside their windows. The pollution levels they register will appear on the internet.

Radek John,  photo: Filip Jandourek
Czechs who haven’t had their fill of corruption scandals can look forward to having more dirt served up by an insider. MP Radek John, now honorary chairman of Public Affairs, is returning to his former profession of investigative journalist without giving up his seat in the lower house. As of next week he is to host his own investigative show on a commercial TV station which he promises will involve some serious mud-raking in the top echelons of power. Mr. John said he would reveal everything he had learnt or that came his way on Parliament ground without the slightest scruples with regard to his colleagues. For the time being his colleagues are still cracking jokes about the prospect. Jaroslav Foldyna from the Social Democratic Party told journalists that so far Radek John had been a respected journalist and bad politician. It will be interesting to see what he will be like as politician and journalist rolled into one, Foldyna said. While many MPs are still laughing, some admit that they plan to keep their mouths shut around Mr. John. TV Barrandov which is to air the first part of John’s investigative show on Tuesday has high hopes of attracting a record number of viewers.

Miloš Zeman,  photo: CTK
Preparations are in full swing for the president-elect’s inauguration on March 8th with the press reporting on details of the ceremony and what the country’s next president, first lady and their daughter will be wearing. Mr. Zeman who has frequently described himself as a pipe-smoking, comfort loving pensioner living a simple life in the Moravian highlands, has reportedly made an effort to drop some weight for the big day and will be wearing a dark-grey suit and a tie sporting the Czech national colours. The dresses selected by his unassuming, press-shy wife and fun-loving, outgoing daughter remain top secret with speculation in the press that the First Lady and First Miss – as the president elect labelled his daughter – were seeking advice from the Czech-born Lebanon-based fashion designer Blanka Matragi who is famous for dressing Arab emirs and princesses.

Photo: Barbora Kmentová
A recently released study by mobile security provider AVG Technologies has divulged that approximately 5 percent of Czechs store intimate photos or videos on their smart phones. In this respect Czechs are a lot more cautious than people in Britain, France or the US where approximately 25 percent of respondents admitted doing so. The majority of Czech smart phone users are also still wary of online shopping and banking, the study says. Close to 40 percent of respondents said they used their smart phone to listen to music or play games and only 11 percent are willing to lend their smart phone.

Sparks may be flying between the Czech Republic and Poland over the quality of their mutual food products but in reality the two peoples have a very good relationship. The results of a poll in which Poles are asked which nationality they prefer are a clear indication of this. Czechs top the poll and have done so for three successive years. Second and third place went to Slovakia and Britain respectively. Asked why he put Czechs top one of the respondents said the two peoples had a similar outlook and a similar sense of humour.

Photo: Smartpress
Martin Skoda is an 18-year-old student and “amateur” cook who loves good food. He started experimenting with recipes at the age of 9 and by the age of 17 he thought he had enough original recipes and tips for young people like himself to write a cookbook. The result was Skoda nevarit: kucharka plan hudby, a play on his surname which in Czech means “pity” Pity not to Cook: a cookbook full of music. Its success was phenomenal. At 18 Martin won third place at the 2013 Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. The recipes come with a bonus, tagged to each recipe is a piece of selected music to set the perfect atmosphere for a gourmet treat. Martin Skoda is now being described as the Czech Jamie Oliver and he says he still can’t believe his luck to have been at an event of such significance and met so many famous chefs.

Photo: Czech Television
A student at the Natural Sciences Faculty of Masaryk University in Brno has made headlines by proving that a five-centimetre tooth which was in the university’s collection belonged to a dinosaur of the tetanurae group which walked the earth 160 million years ago. The tooth, found on Czech territory in the early 20th century, is the first tenable proof scientists have that this type of dinosaur inhabited these lands. The tooth, which for some reason had not been properly identified, has suddenly risen in value and will be placed in a museum.