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The country's famous "gentlemen robbers" are behind bars. The oldest Czech celebrates her 109th birthday. And an elderly woman falls under a train and comes out without a scratch on her! Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarova.

They were dubbed the "gentlemen robbers" and every banking institution in the country dreaded getting a visit from them. In the past year they robbed 19 banks, petrol stations and casinos in the most polite and easygoing manner. They would stroll in unmasked with only caps on their heads, pull out a gun and politely ask to be handed all the money available. They never made any attempt to hide their face from security cameras, they never raised their voices and they never injured anyone. As one officer working on the case said "they acted in a very civilized, polite manner". Although their faces were shown repeatedly on prime time news and the police asked the public for help, there appeared to be no-one who knew who the phantom robbers were. It seemed they had no family, friends, no former employers " and every time they robbed a bank they spoke in a different language. By the beginning of November the robberies had become something of a joke and police chiefs squirmed when challenged by the media about when they would finally crack down on the gentlemen robbers. "We'll get them one day, it is only a question of time" one of them said last week, while people placed bets about whether the robbers would celebrate their 20th job before Christmas. Clearly that was the plan, but the police finally caught up with them, confiscating their weapons, the remaining 260,000 crowns from their last robbery and documents which explained why nobody had recognized them: they were Slovaks who had no relatives or friends in the country and moved around a lot. The robberies were their main source of income. The "gentlemen robbers" stayed in one place for too long and chances are they may now spend up to 12 years in jail.


Marie Kraslova, photo: CTK
Marie Kraslova was born on November 13th of 1898 and this week she celebrated her 109th birthday singing along with the accordionist who played her favourite song. It was a big party: Marie has two children, six grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren and she knows them all by name. She experienced the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the First World War, the years of the First Republic, the Nazi occupation, the Communist era and the return to democracy. Asked what it was like, she says simply "It was a struggle". In order to boost her strength for life's challenges she treats herself to a shot of Becherovka (the famous herbal bitters) every day. And when she feels like a dish of her favourite fish soup, she's quite capable of making the trip down to the local restaurant for it. On her birthday the restaurant owner arrived with a big can of fish soup for her and a written pledge that as long as his restaurant stood, she could have as much fish soup as she wanted any time she wanted with home delivery for free. Marie says it's the best present she got! And she plans to stay around for a long time.


A seventy-two-year-old granny made the prime time news last week after toppling onto the train tracks in front of an oncoming train and coming out without a scratch on her. The woman said later she lost her balance and then heard a roaring sound as the train went over her and eventually ground to a halt as the terrified driver pulled the brake. An emergency team rushed to the spot expecting to bring a badly-mutilated body out from under the tracks but instead they found themselves talking to a cheerful old lady who was trapped under the carriage and who didn't seem to be in the least hurt or frightened. Several carriages had passed over the old lady and she only survived unscathed thanks to the fact that she lay quietly between the rails without budging an inch. When she was finally brought out from under the train a doctor had to argue with her to be allowed to look her over because she insisted she was perfectly fine. The locals are calling it a miracle and the old lady has decided to celebrate her birthday twice a year.


The famous Czech illustrator and painter of prehistoric life Zdenek Burian may have a follower. Eighteen-year-old Petr Prikryl has been obsessed with animal life ever since he was old enough to look at storybooks and hold a crayon. A sickly child who suffered from diabetes from an early age, Petr would escape into his fantasy world drawing wild animals whenever and wherever possible. Today he has 200 paintings and ten exhibitions to his name. Painter Frantisek Cunderla who has helped develop his skills ever since he was a kid says Petr has a gift from God and an instinctive ability to create the right perspective and colour-scheme without knowing anything about painting in theory Petr's role model is Zdenek Burian and he hopes that one day his own paintings will be as well-known.


Crazy contact lenses have become an extremely popular fashion accessory among Czech teenagers and there's a huge demand for new and unusual types. Opticians say that the number of people buying contact lenses as a fashion accessory now equals the number of people who buy them for corrective reasons. Colour and special effect contact lenses giving you leopard or cheetah eyes took a while to catch on mainly because a pair cost approximately 1,000 crowns. Now many teenagers have a collection of them and search the market for something special: US dollar signs, crosses, spirals, devil, blood-shot or white outs. Most opticians offer about twenty fashion lenses and are struggling to meet the growing demand. However eye specialists are not happy about the new craze, mainly because young people borrow and lend them like belts or earrings. They are hoping that thanks to the limited choice of party lenses on the market the craze will soon wear off. Meeting five other cheetahs at the disco instantly kills the shock effect.