Czech scientists have invented paint that lowers the concentration of harmful substances in the air. Across most of the country boys whip girls on Easter Monday, but in the town of Telč it’s the girls doing the whipping. And, where have all the tractors gone? Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarova.

The police in the town of Hluboká nad Vltavou are investigating a very strange theft. A thief broke into one of the luxury villas on the town’s suburbs and made off with a book of poems by one of the country’s legendary poets Jaroslav Vrchlický. The villa’s alarm system was connected to the owner’s mobile and the thief was caught red-handed with the loot but the police could not figure out why the forty-year old man had left the valuables in the house untouched. The book of poetry he stole was an early twentieth century edition worth around 1,000 crowns which was a fraction of what he could have taken from the villa. The thief moreover claimed that he had only wanted to read the poems. He is now being examined by a police psychiatrist. Experts on Vrchlický say that the poet’s work is a lesson in the art of living. Well, maybe the thief just wanted to improve himself in this respect.

Photo: archive of Radio Prague
An unnamed drunk from Hradec Králové got into trouble with the police this week after he left his sixteen-year old son at the pub as collateral. The man was unable to pay the bill and told the waiter his son would stay there until he got back with the cash. Instead he went home to bed. When minutes stretched into hours the pub owner called the police who found the offender at his home address and made him come back to cover the cost of his drinking spree and secure his son’s release.

Nature-lovers will soon be able to sleep in the open in the Šumava mountain reserve without fear of getting fined. Hiking is extremely popular in this natural beauty spot but in the past people had to plant their day trips so as to get back to their motel or private quarters. The reserve’s management has now decided to allow camping in eight marked areas. However campers will have to adhere to a strict set of rules. After a Czech hiker destroyed 11,000 hectars of Chile’s Torres del Paine national park last year trying to warm a can of soup, the reserve’s management is not taking any chances.

Illustration photo
Farmers in Eastern Bohemia have a problem. Their tractors are disappearing. In the month of March eight tractors have disappeared without trace –each worth around 250,000 crowns. One was even stolen from the local driving school for tractors. The police believe it to be an organized gang at work which is stealing tractors on demand. The locals think that their tractors are most likely being smuggled into Poland where it would be more difficult to trace them. In any case the timing is very bad indeed. It’s about time to start work in the fields and the loss of a tractor is a big set-back. Those who still have theirs safely in the shed are keeping a very close eye on it.

Foto: CC 3.0 Unported
A twenty year old man who wanted to commit suicide by jumping off a cliff must have had a guardian angel working overtime. It is not clear whether the young man had a few drinks to pluck up the courage to do the deed or whether he decided that life was not worth living after having had a few drinks. In any case by the time he had climbed over the railings and crawled to the edge of the cliff he was so tired from the exertion that he fell asleep. When he woke up, several hours later he decided it was not worth jumping. Had he found the strength to jump when he was intoxicated his chances of survival would have been practically nil – the cliff was 70 metres high. It later emerged that the young man had simply walked out on his old life and was on a list of missing people. He is now getting psychiatric treatment.

Spring is a time for detox diets and ideally a week or two spent in the mountains or at the seaside will do wonders for your body. But if you don’t have time for that you’ll be glad to hear that there is something you can do to improve your immediate environment. Czech scientists have invented paint that lowers the concentration of harmful substances in the air. According to experts at the Czech Academy of Sciences the paint uses photo-catalyst reactions – it contains titanium oxide that breaks down organic impurities in the air into water and carbon dioxide. The only condition for this reaction to take place and ensure the purifying effect is the presence of daylight. The substance will remain active for a period of 9-10 years. The new paint has been developed for both indoor and outdoor use and is said to be particularly suitable for health facilities. As you can see Czech scientists are working very hard to make our lives easier. Recently they invented a self-cleaning textile which will also clean itself with the help of a chemical reaction in daylight. Sounds unbelievable that all this should come from Prague? But then with Prague being famous for its winter smog – it is only natural that our scientists should look for ways to clear the air.

The pagan Easter tradition of boys whipping girls on Easter Monday in return for a painted egg has been around for centuries – unchanged as traditions generally are. But the girls in Telč are having none of it. They are ready to go along with the tradition but they want gender equality – so every leap year they get to whip the boys. And they don’t set about it with willow branches – they use big wooden spoons. The best-looking guys get the most attention of course that the Telč girls say they can’t think why it took them so long to turn the tables!