Photo: CTK

The first Czech woman to climb Mount Everest! A Czech woman saves a neighbour from death as she falls past her balcony! And, the postmistress who made the police squirm - by resolving a post-office robbery herself, when they failed to do their job. Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarova.

Her name is Klara Polackova and she is the first Czech woman to have climbed Mount Everest. She reached the top in the early morning hours of Wednesday May16th, together with Tashi Tenzing, grandson of the famous sherpa Tenzing Norgay who conquered Mount Everest together with Sir Edmund Hillary in 1953. Tashi has climbed to the "top of the world" 17 times already and while guiding Klara to the summit of Mt. Cho Oyu last year he suggested she join him on his last climb of Mount Everest. They reached the top on the same day as two other famous sherpas - Apa Sherpa and lakmu Sherpa. "It's really crowded here today" Tashi joked as he led the exhausted but exultant Klara back down. "It was really tough," she told her family later. "There was a storm and very low visibility and it was freezing cold - minus thirty degrees. It was only when we went down that I realized that all it would have taken was to put a foot wrong once. And that would have been it." However not going was never an option - from early childhood Klara was one for challenges. "She started out running the Prague Marathon, took a course in deep sea diving, climbed Mont Blank and now Mount Everest. "I am glad there's nothing higher" her sister said when it was over - "but knowing Klara she'll probably head for the North Pole next year".

One of the most bizarre real-life stories of all time happened in Prague 4 recently. A young woman panicked by a fire in her flat toppled over her third floor balcony and her neighbor from the floor below who happened to be out putting the washing on the line caught her as she fell and saved her life. Twenty three year old Veronica says she acted in a split second and can't believe herself how she managed the feat. "I saw her falling and I just reached out and grabbed her" Veronica says. That part was automatic but holding onto her and pulling her onto our balcony was much harder. The police who arrived at the scene minutes later were full of praise for her. "She has incredible reflexes" one of the officers told the media "it is not easy to catch a 50 kilo body in flight".

Employees at Gauteng Airport in South Africa were in for a shock this week. Two crates - airlifted from Prague were full of the world's most poisonous snakes, for which there aren't even antidotes in South Africa. The first crate contained three monocled cobras found in southern Asia, three saw-scaled vipers - a venomous viper found in the Middle East and central Asia, three spitting cobras and two Taipan snakes. Another crate which arrived a day later contained more Taipan snakes. If any of the snakes had escaped their bite would have been fatal. Their unexpected arrival at Gauteng Airport is a mystery and a special investigative team has been set up to trace the sender. Meanwhile the snakes are in quarantine at the local zoo.

Czech natural scientists are delighted! The Great Peacock Moth - Europe's biggest moth, now an endangered species - has settled in the eastern part of the Czech Republic and appears to be doing well. Moths are called "night butterflies" in Czech and although moths are generally drab creatures this one definitely deserves the name butterfly. When it spreads its wings it measures 14,6 centimeters. A regular-size butterfly would only measure six to seven centimeters.

The Sumava National park in southern Bohemia attracts crowds of tourists in the summer months but, understandably, tourist revenues are not so good when the weather turns bad. The local tourist bureau has now decided that tourists simply don't use their imagination and need some good ideas as to how to fill their time in Sumava when it rains. A list called "What you can do on a rainy day" is soon to appear on Sumava's web page in the hope that tourists will weather the storm and stay on. The list includes visits to local chateaus, museums, galleries and art workshops where visitors can try their hand at pottery or wood-carving. That's if they don't have any better ideas as to what they could do on a rainy day.

Photo: CTK
Hailstones the size of pink-pong balls fell on the town of Liberec this week as the locals ran for cover. "There was no time to save anything - it just started coming down and all we had time for was to get the kids to safety" one of the locals said later. Fifteen minutes later they emerged to assess the damage to roofs, cars, windows, glass-houses and garden furniture. The hailstones had passed right through plastic garden tables, dotting them with perfect round holes. Many of the locals put a few of the hailstones in their fridge for people to believe their story later - and some measured 5 centimeters in diameter!

Nepomuk,  photo: CTK
The 30 or so motorboats used for ferrying tourists up and down the Prague-stretch of the Vltava river are about to go green with envy. They are soon to be joined by an old lady who will most certainly become the pride of the boat-park. The motorboat - called Nepomuk - was made in 1933 at the Belgium firm Boel and Sons. She is powered by a diesel motor and before the war she used to ferry passengers between Lyon and Avignon. Later she was queen of the Rhine and now - after a major face-lift - she's about to make her debut on the Vltava.

A postmistress in Ostrava has just given the police a humiliating lesson in how to do their job. She was just getting ready to close her counter for the day when a masked robber walked in, pulled out a gun and demanded she hand over all the cash she had. The woman complied and the robber made off with the money, while her colleagues alarmed the police. The police arrived, searched for clues and finally left with the tapes from the security cameras. However the postmistress wasn't about to leave things at that - she herself searched the vicinity of the post office after closing hours and found a some personal belongings including a crumpled receipt with a man's address. It led the police straight to the culprit. The police are red faced - while the postmistress is the local hero. Asked what had led her to launch her own investigation she said - "I love watching detective films and nothing like this ever happened to me before". Maybe the police should think about recruiting her.