Magazine

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If a Czech were to create a robot what would it do? Tap beer of course! Visitors to the Olomouc town library can now admire the smallest cookbook ever shown in the Czech Republic. And, showing off your Mini - the owners of British Mini cars hold their tenth annual car jamboree. Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarova.

One of the biggest attractions shown at the Brno Engineering Fair last week was a robot bartender designed to tap beer. Never again need pub-goers fear getting ripped off by getting served less than a full pint - with a big head of foam to fill up the glass. This robot is computer regulated and works with the utmost precision. Trust Czechs to create a robot that will serve them a pint of beer. Its inventor Zdenek Pohorelsky was the toast of the Brno fair and the robot worked tirelessly, serving admiring visitors one pint after another. However all the men present agreed that -great as he was - they wouldn't swap him for their local bar-maid. They said they'd miss the warm smile, the odd joke and the odd pinch on the behind. Well, Pohorelsky will need to make a lot of improvements before that robot of his is allowed into the pub!


Baby Nada, photo: CTK
Babies are being born bigger. While in the past the average weight at birth was around three kilograms today Czech women are giving birth to strapping babies weighing four or even five kilos. Doctors say that this is largely due to the fact that mothers-to-be get better nutrition and also take vitamin supplements. Although some Czech experts discourage vitamin supplements at a time when fresh food is available on the market all year round the vast majority of women take them anyway just to be on the safe side. And it is B vitamins above all which are said to stimulate growth. Doctors say this is particularly obvious in the case of Vietnamese women who tend to have small-sized babies in their homeland but after a few years in the Czech Republic they too have three to four kilo babies - and inevitably have to give birth by Cesarean. But of course that is nothing compared to the baby girl born of a Russian mother at the end of September. Baby Nada weighed all of 7.75 kilos at birth and her mum who is poor and has ten other children said she could not afford anything fancy and had been on a staple diet of potatoes, spaghetti and tomatoes. So - you never know.


Photo: CTK
Visitors to the Olomouc town library can now admire the smallest cookbook ever shown in the Czech Republic. It is a Viennese cookbook with hand-written recipes in German and was clearly made to be worn on a chain - where its owner could consult it whenever the need arose. The tiny book is only 24 by 22 millimeters but it contains 100 clearly decipherable recipes, among them an old Viennese recipe for beer sauce. The cookbook, dated 1906, was recently acquired from a private collector and the library is delighted to have it in its possession. It is believed to be one of three such miniatures. The second is on show at a museum in Vienna and the third is said to be on display at a restaurant in Venice. The miniature "jewel" in Olomouc now rubs shoulders with the oldest cookbook on display there, dated 1506.


A nineteen-year-old man died a horrible death last week when he got trapped inside a septic waste removal van commonly known as a gulley-sucker. When his workmates took a break and headed for a nearby pub for refreshment the young man thought to surprise them by fixing the van before they got back. He borrowed a ladder and climber inside the tank which still contained pig feces from the local farm. Unfortunately he got trapped inside van and was suffocated by the ammonia fumes. A tragic death - and a most unpleasant way to leave this world.


Jakub Vagner with the alligator fish, photo: CTK
Globe trotting Czech angler Jakub Vagner who boasts prize-catches from some of the world's most exotic fishing locations has just landed another breath taking specimen- an alligator fish - that looks as awesome as the reptile it was named for. The fish put up a hard fight which nearly cost the cameraman his life. Seeing Vagner and the fish caught in a tug of war he jumped into the river in order to shoot the scene close-up. While moving around in the water he stepped onto a poisonous water snake and got his leg bitten. The team on location said that within half an hour he was feverish, shivering and losing consciousness. For three days it was touch and go -but he survived, according to doctors largely thanks to a strong immune system. Well, I guess when you travel through the wilderness with Jakub Vagner your immune system goes from strength to strength.


Passiflora Granadilla in the Olomouc greenhous, photo: CTK
Botanists are flocking to the Olomouc greenhouse for a glimpse of the Passiflora Granadilla in bloom. Native to Central and South America the Passiflora Grandilla is the largest of its species - a fast growing vine which can reach a height of over 50 feet in tropical conditions. It flowers just once a year, sporting large, fragrant blooms which are replaced by yellowish-green passion fruit the size of a ducks egg, each weighing on average half a kilo. The Olomouc greenhouse has spent years cultivating this particular breed and is inordinately proud of it.


Photo: CTK
Owners of British Mini cars from across central Europe gathered in the town of Telc last weekend for the tenth annual Mini car jamboree held in the Czech Republic. The small, cheap and highly economic car - often associated with Mr. Bean - was launched by the British Motor Corporation in 1959 and became the most popular British-made car. Its production continued up until the year 2000 when it was replaced by the New Mini. The original is considered a 1960s icon and there are now Mini-fan clubs around the world, the Czech Republic included. There are some 200 Minis in active service in the Czech Republic today - although the care their owners lavish on them would suggest they are prized and pampered veterans rather than cheap and economic cars that appear to have been tailor-made for parking in Prague. The head of the Czech Mini Club Martin Suchanek says the car is "small and sweet - the West European Trabi". Another Mini-owner Rosta Skubnik from Opava says of the Mini: it is a car that no one will steal, no one will damage and everyone will notice. And he should know - he's had one for 25 years. The Mini is available for approximately 100.000 crowns - although an old Mini which left the factory gates in the 60s or a racing veteran could cost as much as 800,000. There is no problem getting spare parts from England and they are even cheaper than spare parts for old Czech Skodas. And the Mini can hold it's own on the road. To prove it, close to 100 Mini owners from Hungary, Poland, Austria, Slovakia and the Czech Republic took part in the 90 kilometer Telc-to-Ceska Kanada rally, which is the highlight of the annual mini jamboree. Many of them show off their veterans several times a year - a Mini jamboree in Denmark attracted 800 owners and the jamboree that takes place once every 5 years in Britain is anything but small - it attracts tens of thousands of Mini cars from all over Europe.