Jana Dostálová, photo: Blesk, Jitka Žigová

The Czech PM is refused admission to a disco in Cyprus, a young girl studying to become a pastry chef has made a perfect chocolate copy of Chaumont Chateau on the Loire. And, are you a caffeine addict? Think about a ten kilo coffee cup – it holds six and a half liters of coffee! Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarova.

Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek was in for a shock last week when on an official visit to Cyprus he decided to spend a free evening at a disco in Nicosia. The prime minister at first kept his identity secret, enjoying a few hours of freedom from the ever present Czech press, but after he was refused admission to the disco he told the bouncer exactly who he was –expecting profuse apologies and instant admission. “Sure you are the prime minister of the Czech Republic – who else?” the bouncer sneered and sent him on his way. Smarting from the insult the Czech PM demanded to see the manager who instantly set about smoothing ruffled feathers. Mr. Topolánek was let in, but the incident brought him down to earth with a bump. Still he can console himself with the fact that the French football stars Zinedine Zidane and Thierry Henry had similar problems in Nicosia – and a bouncer would be more likely to recognize them.

A Czech man who caught a car-thief red handed as he was about to drive off in his brand new car had the tables turned on him in a most unexpected manner. The car’s owner beat up the thief and drove him, unconscious, to the local police station to turn him in. But to his great surprise the officers were far more interested in his own transgressions. It turned out that the young man had driven to the police station without a license, drunk and moreover in a car which did not have a license plate. The young man explained that he was in the process of learning to drive and, having just received the car as a birthday present, he had driven it to the pub to celebrate the occasion with his friends. However the officers refused to let him off and he was eventually handed a three month suspended sentence for the injuries he inflicted. The thief –who said he only wanted to take the car for a joyride- has got off scot-free.

Photo: Archiv of Radio Praga
The police in the vicinity of Ustí nad Labem may have to consider putting up brand new road signs – “caution wild boar”. Wild boar have over-bred in the region, also due to a number of very mild winters, and they are now reported to be leaving the safety of the woods in search of food. They are “ploughing” fields in the vicinity for something edible and some have even ventured into town, apparently attracted by the scents coming from the Ustí Zoo. A few were sighted right in the middle of a housing estate and drivers say they are frequently seen dashing across the main road leading into Ustí. A fortnight ago the police found a dead boar in the middle of the road, and the local authorities are now considering how to best deal with the problem.

In order to admire Chaumont Chateau on the Loire you would have to travel to France but if you’d be prepared to make do with a perfect chocolate copy then you could save yourself the trip. The chocolate version is a veritable work of art presented at the Gastro Fair in Hradec Kralové by twenty-year-old Jana Dostálová who is studying to become a pastry chef. Jana says the chateau was the hardest thing she ever made. She worked on it for seven hours a day for over three months using four kilos of chocolate, twenty-five kilos of white fondant and lots of caramel in the process. The resulting work of art is half a meter high and almost a meter wide – and is said to be a perfect copy.

As far as coffee cups go –this is something exceptional. Weightlifters addicted to caffeine might like to start the day’s training with it. The coffee cup weighs 10 kilos and can hold six and a half liters of coffee. All together that’s seventeen and a half kilos – and sipping your coffee from it is bound to keep you in shape. The Jumbo coffee set can be admired at the Pelhřimov Museum of Records and Curiosities.

Photo: CTK
Heiko – the baboon from Brno Zoo who escaped from his enclosure and led the police a merry chase last year, enjoying four days of freedom before he was re-captured, has returned to his old enclosure. Heiko – dubbed Monte Christo by the police – escaped during a power fall-out that rendered the electric-wire fence around his enclosure useless. On the run he befriended a number of the locals and became an instant celebrity, but his famous escape cost him dear. The zoo decided to make the baboon enclosure more secure and its inhabitants were moved out while work was underway – and were inevitably separated in the process. Now the whole troop has been re-untied in their old home. The zoo management claims that there is no way any of the baboons can escape ever again – but the locals are putting their money on Heiko.

Common swift,  photo: pau.artigas,  Creative Commons 2.0
Swifts wheeling over rooftops are a regular feature of life in Czech towns and villages in the summer months. They arrive in May for the nesting season and leave in early August. In the past they nested in the nooks and crannies of cliffs but about a century ago they discovered the advantages of living in towns and cities. They need to nest at least five meters above ground in order for the baby birds to find their wings and not hit the ground before they have mastered the technique of flying. And it didn’t take them long to discover that the communist era blocks of flats –which house a third of the country’s population – provide ideal shelter. Thousands of swifts nest in the ventilation holes of these buildings – and return to the same nesting place every year. Except now many are returning to find that their homes have gone. Gradually these panel buildings are being insulated and workers are filling up the holes. Environmental activists have been ringing alarm bells warning that if this continues the common swift may disappear from the Czech Republic altogether. Hopefully, now that the news has spread, people will take action to protect them. Apart from the fact that the common swift is a protected species – its presence in housing estates brings city dwellers a step closer to Nature.