A former minister walks the entire stretch of a highway after losing a bet it would be completed on time, Czechs poke fun of the government’s sugar cube campaign ahead of the country’s EU presidency and, a restaurant owner kills his business by going on a reality show. Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarova.
Czech politicians like to make outrageous bets – and very often lose them. The former transport minister Milan Šimonovský had to pay his dues this week after losing a bet made during his time in office that the D47 highway cutting across north Moravia would be finished by the end of 2008.
The Czech government’s sugar cube campaign for the country’s upcoming EU presidency has come under fire from many sides. In the video clip Czech celebrities, including ice-hockey star Jaromír Jagr, goalkeeper Petr Čech and top model Tereza Maxová do amusing things with sugar cubes and the slogan is: Evropě to osladíme– we’ll make life sweeter for Europe. Now, the sugar cube was chosen because of its Czech roots - it was invented by Jakub Kryštof Rad, the director of the Dačice sugar refinery, in 1843. However a closer look reveals that Rad was actually a native of Switzerland, and back then Dačice was part of the Austrian Empire, so there’s some dispute over whether the sugar cube is really Czech. Moreover, critics say that Czechs have no reason to promote the sugar cube as their invention after EU agricultural policies killed the Czech sugar refining industry.
Early morning drivers in the town of Hradec Králové were treated to a most unusual sight – twenty large pigs were wondering around near a busy crossroads sheparded by a number of police officers. The police were called to an early morning accident involving a truck carrying pigs to the slaughterhouse and instead of investigating the accident they had their hands full trying to keep the two dozen escapees out of the way of passing cars. Soon the pigs were peacefully foraging for food on a nearby strip of grass. But it was two hours before the police were able to herd them back into the truck. And many of the bystanders watching were secretly rooting for the pigs. Having once escaped the death sentence, maybe they should have been amnestied.
It’s not often you get to see a steam engine in the city centre and the one that stops visitors to Brno in their tracks is fully functional, carrying passengers from Prague to the fairgrounds of the Brno Engineering Fair. For locals the sight of a steam engine waiting at a red light is not so unusual – trains are able to run through the city on special occasions thanks to an industrial branch line established fifty years ago on the occasion of the very first Brno Engineering Fair. However, the locals may not enjoy this special sight for very much longer – the branch line is likely to be abolished within a planned reconstruction of the city’s infrastructure.
The latest reality show launched by commercial television Prima this month has left many Czechs hoping to make a quick buck rather disappointed. “Nothing but the Truth” is a question-and-answer session in which the participant takes a lie detector test. In the first few weeks since it was launched none of the participants have won any money – instead their lives were turned upside down after the lie detector indicated they were not telling the truth. One man lost his job, another admitted before his stunned girlfriend that he had had better and did not plan on marrying her while a third said that he often used products in his restaurant whose use-by-date had expired and had on one occasion spat on a steak being prepared for a difficult customer. Having spoken the truth so far he lost his chance of big bucks when asked whether he would be prepared to eat anything produced in his restaurant kitchen. According to the lie detector he would not. Now, it’s very likely nobody else will either.