Mirek Topolánek, photo: CTK

The State Inspection Office puts its foot down: no Super Lover chewing gums for Czechs. Prison inmates run up a huge phone bill – on the house, and, an interpreter’s nightmare in Strasbourg. Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarová.

Mirek Topolánek,  photo: CTK
It has not been the best of weeks for the Czech prime minister, negative publicity following the collapse of his centre right cabinet on Tuesday was followed by outraged reactions over his speech in the European Parliament in which he bluntly attacked US President Obama’s economic policy as “the road to hell”. And, as if that alone did not stir up enough trouble, a mistake made by his interpreter caused a fresh uproar. Addressing the EP in Czech Mr. Topolánek said "The United States are going to need cash to finance the measures they plan on taking and they'll do it by selling bonds". Unfortunately, his interpreter mistook the word bonds for bombs and translated the prime ministers words to the effect that when the US needed cash to affect the measures they planned they would do so by selling weapons. Having unwittingly thrown another bombshell in the European Parliament the prime minister returned to Prague to deal with the ongoing crisis – leaving diplomats to explain the misunderstanding. In any case President Obama’s visit to Prague in April is still on –so the two of them can have it out then.

Poets rarely have an easy life – that’s what makes their poetry so good – and some have problems years after they are dead. The Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko is a case in point. The Ukrainian Initiative – an association of Ukrainian nationals and friends of Ukraine in the Czech Republic -got a statue built in his memory, but they have had a slight problem placing it. Originally Shevchenko was to stand on Latvia Square in Prague 6, possibly because there is no Ukraine square. Unfortunately, due to the lack of a proper building permit the local authorities ordered the pedestal to be removed. Shevchenko had to go – and he headed for Kinski Square in Prague 5, where he is now in residence. In fact Ukrainian president Viktor Yushchenko was touched to see him there on his recent visit to Prague. But Shevchenko’s troubles are far from over. He happens to be standing in a protected historic part of the city where house owners have to ask for permission if they so much as change a window-frame. Conservationists will now have to OK the statue for it to be allowed to remain. Hopefully, they will take pity on the wondering poet and leave him where he is. If not President Yushchenko could look for him in vain when he next visits the Czech capital.

Photo: Filip Jandourek
Prison guards in the Hradec Králové jailhouse are facing a huge embarrassment – it has come to light that inmates have been having a ball with the employees work phone and have run up a bill of 75 thousand crowns. Apparently one of the guards lost his SIM card and didn’t bother to report it until the phone bill arrived. A thorough search of the premises revealed that the inmates had been calling everyone they could think of - on the house!

Photo: CTK
Why’s the baby crying now? A question that new-baked mums ask themselves night and day. Now a Spanish gadget has arrived on the Czech market which promises to interpret a baby’s crying for desperate mums – and place it into one of five possible categories: the baby’s hungry, sleepy, stressed out, in pain or discomfort. The WhyCry gadget is based on months of research and specialists claim that understanding a baby’s crying and responding to it quickly may significantly assist the baby’s emotional development. Doctors say that mothers whose babies scream the night away often do the wrong thing in utter desperation – for instance they think the baby’s crying because it is hungry – they overfeed it and the baby cries again because of a tummy ache. The new gadget costs 1,700 crowns and is to aid not only new baked mums who are not yet attuned to their baby’s crying but also to mums who have hearing problems.

The State Inspection 0ffice has issued a ban on the sale of Super Lover chewing gums which have appeared on the European market. The chewing gums – made in China- are presented as a high potency drug that will turn men into super lovers while the female version promises to increase breast size – though it is not clear how quickly and how much. Now the inspection is not out to spoil anyone’s fun but it says the gums contain chemical substances which could be health damaging and which are only available on prescription in the Czech Republic. So if you have managed to get your hands on this Chinese wonder – careful with it- it might be a good idea to stick to Viagra.

A teenage birthday party went badly wrong after unsuspecting guests were served chocolate cake containing a hefty doze of marihuana. Eleven party goers ended up in hospital, one of them a girl of twelve. Clearly someone wanted a bit of fun – but it went completely over the top - six ambulances arrived to take the party guests away, TV crews got wind of the incident and the story appeared in the papers the next day. A birthday party that none of them are likely to forget in a hurry.