Photo: Dan Materna, MFDnes, 25.10.07

Czech doctors have operated on the tallest man in the Czech Republic to make him stop growing, an eighteen-month-old baby crashes the family car and what is making Czechs stutter? Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarova.

Health advisors say that even a brief exercise session early in the morning will get your day off to a good start. Passengers traveling on an early morning bus this week got their morning exercise session in a most unexpected way. The bus broke down and given the mounting traffic jam and honking drivers behind him the bus driver asked the male passengers to get out and push. Quite a few of them obliged parking the damaged bus nicely on the pavement, getting a big round of applause from passers-by!

An eighteen-month-old baby boy managed to crash the family car while his dad nipped across the street to get a packet of cigarettes. His mum had just released him from his baby seat in the back and at an unguarded moment the boy climbed over to the driver's seat, turned the ignition key and off they went. The car had been left in gear and just kept going until it crashed into one of the buildings on the square. Luckily the road was empty at the time and no one was injured. But it may be a while before the baby's parents left him drive again.

Photo: CTK
Hundreds of people flocked to Prague's Ovocny Trh last weekend for a food-tasting charity event held to mark international cooks' day. The square - named after the fruit market that once stood there - was filled with stalls offering both domestic and foreign cuisine. Cooks and pastry chefs from the best Czech hotels rubbed shoulders with the competition, offering roast duck, sauerkraut and dumplings but also pasta, pizzas and sea food. There was plenty of good natured skirmishing not just between the five star chefs and the more modest country-style restaurants but also between chefs and lowly apprentices. Moravia was strongly represented, pitting its famous wedding pies and home made sausages against Svejk's Goulash, a traditional Bohemian dish. The live music, good food and tantalizing smells of different cuisines drew people to the square despite the freezing cold weather. The food was reasonably priced - which boosted sales - and the proceeds of the event will go to help children's homes.

Eleven Czech celebrities have joined the international Keep a Breast campaign intended to help raise cancer awareness and money for research. This involves creating plaster forms of the female torso, customized by fine artists, exhibiting them and eventually auctioning them off. Eleven Czech women from different walks of life - have agreed to exhibit their breasts in plaster for a good cause, among them singer Tonya Graves, writer Barbara Nesvadbova, and TV anchor Daniela Drtinova. Eleven prominent Czech artists have elevated the plastic torsos to fine art and the collection is now being exhibited at the Novy Smichov Shopping Centre in Prague. The auction is to take place on December 7th.

Tomas Pustina,  photo: CTK
Czech doctors have operated on the tallest man in the Czech Republic in order to remove a brain tumor which was producing excessive growth hormone and in effect slowly killing the patient. Tomas Pustina is 28 and still growing - he now measures 2 meters 26 centimeters. Although you might envisage a successful basketball player the reality is very different. Tomas is practically crippled with arthritis and his joints are so painful he can barely walk. Tomas's fate has evoked a wave of public sympathy and TV and radio reporters surrounded the hospital both during and after the operation. The surgery was reportedly successful and doctors have expressed restrained optimism with regard to his prospects. It will be a few weeks before they know whether Tomas has finally stopped growing, but even at this height his life will not be easy. His "maneuvering space" is extremely limited and he has become used to watching life go by on TV in the flat he shares with Mum and Dad. His dream is to have a bit more freedom one day and to be able to get around on his own. This may soon come true - the minute the report was aired Czechs started calling in asking where they could send money for him.

A special account has been set up and, if his health allows, Tomas may soon see a bit more of the world - not just in a wheelchair but possibly in a custom-made car.

Language therapists have bad news for Czechs. The number of children with speech defects is growing and the number of children who stutter is reported to have doubled since 1990. Experts say that this is due to the present hectic pace of life and the fact that parents spend less and less quality time with their children - reading or talking to them. Some are unaware that their child has a speech defect believing it to be a remnant of child talk that the child will grow out of or else they don't even notice it. Apparently the rise in the number of young children who stutter is linked to overly ambitious parents who have unrealistic expectations. Doctors have urged Czechs to do more for their children in this respect - speech defects can be cured and in many cases they need never come about.

A 72-year-old lady is in trouble with the police after they discovered that her greenhouse was packed with marihuana plants. The officers confiscated her entire harvest and warned the pensioner that she had broken the law - but the old lady was not cowed. Rather than lying low and hoping that the trouble would blow over she is complaining right, left and centre telling journalists who come to see her that the police had taken her best harvest yet and she wanted at least part of it back. The old lady claims she uses it for medical purposes - as a poultice for her legs. Cases where old people have grown marihuana to relive themselves of pain have appeared in the past but none of them have shown this lady's fighting spirit. It seems the local police would be happy to forget the incident if only the old lady would stop nagging them to bring back her medicine! Maybe we'll see her in Parliament one of these days - lobbying for soft drugs.