Richard, photo: CTK

Czech pastry chefs are racking their brains to find the perfect Mozart dessert! Red lips on a road sign? In the town of As road signs regulate more than traffic. And - he is hairy, greedy and pushy: meet Richard, the winner of the gorilla reality show. Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarova.

Most government ministers who manage to take a short break from their work usually go as far as they can get from the inquisitive eye of television cameras, which follow them around for most of the year. However that's not the case if you happen to be a cabinet minister and film actor to boot. Culture minister Viteslav Jandak will be spending his summer break shooting a movie and getting plenty of publicity around it. The film, which currently has the working title Maharal, is set during WWII and Jandak will play the part of a treasure hunter. Jandak, a 58 year old Czech film and stage actor, says he had already signed the contract when he was unexpectedly handpicked for the post of culture minister following the death -in office- of Pavel Dostal. Although few people expected him to make much to an impact, Jandak quickly shot to the top of the popularity ladder, as the most credible and trustworthy politician in the Czech Republic. The man himself says the reason is obvious: I talk in a way that people can understand - and I call a spade a spade, he told Czech TV recently. The AFP agency, which also spread the word about the minister's upcoming film role says the role of a treasure hunter is apt - since that is more or less the ministers main task in office. Ever since taking up the post Jandak has been trying to pump European funds and money from rich countries, such as Norway, to save and restore the Czech Republic's often crumbling cultural heritage, AFP says. But by the time Jandak get's his teeth into the new role, his party may no longer be in office - in which case he'll be glad to have gone back to his old job again.

Organizers of the Prague celebrations marking the 250th anniversary of Mozart's birth have asked chefs to come up with a recipe for a mouth-watering Mozart dessert. The famous composer was known to have a sweet tooth and a special dessert would give the Mozart celebrations in Prague a nice touch. Not to mention that it would most likely become an instant hit in Prague's many coffee houses and confectioners. So, Czech pastry chefs are now racking their brains for something truly exceptional which would moreover be evocative of Mozart's music. The famous composer visited Prague three times and achieved some of his greatest successes in the city. The Czech capital will celebrate the anniversary in big style - with literally hundreds of concerts, opera performances, exhibitions and other events.

Who needs a reason to have a ball - even when you are divorced. It is now thirteen years since Czechs and Slovaks divorced, breaking up their federation into two independent countries - but that hasn't stopped them from organizing joint events. The first ever Czechoslovak ball is underway as I speak- at the Municipal House in Prague. Although it is held under the working title " Get your tuxedo pal, we're in Europe" - people are doing more than waltzing around the ballroom. It's a display of everything that Czechs and Slovaks have to offer Europe - from folk dances to opera, from beer to plum brandy, the most popular dishes and the best looking girls - including the first ever Miss Czechoslovakia - Slovak model Ivana Christova.

Richard,  photo: CTK
The gorilla reality show has come to an end - and the winner is: 14 year old Richard, the dominant male in a group of four adult gorillas and one baby of undetermined sex who took part. Richard received the most SMS votes from viewers who have been watching the gorillas' everyday lives on the internet since November 7th last year when the zoo launched this unique "alternative" reality show. The idea was to raise money to help save gorillas living in the wild and the project was an immediate success. An average 20 thousand Internet users visited the site daily, many others watched a brief summary on morning television and thousands sent their favourite gorilla votes. Even the Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek expressed enthusiasm for the idea, saying the gorilla show was more interesting and tasteful than the "rival" reality shows featuring people. The main prize which Richard is being given on a one-a-day basis is 12 melons. Any hopes that he might share were dashed on Monday when he tucked in greedily while the others watched from a respectful distance. "Good thing he won - he would never have let anyone else eat them in peace anyway," the zoos director Petr Fejk told the media. Although the show is over, the internet site will remain active until the end of the month, and people can still contribute to gorillas living in the wild by buying gorilla T-shirts and toys. They are available at the Czech Radio store on Vinohradska 12.

If you want to enjoy a holiday on horseback - there's plenty to pick from in the Czech Republic. Many farms now offer "summer in the country" holidays which include courses in horseback riding, or day outings for more experienced riders. This first came in response to demand from German and Dutch tourists where the return-to-nature trend is strong, but gradually, as more Czechs took up horse riding the regions are now setting up a proper network of horse trails. At first these horse-trails enabled riders to spend only a day in the saddle, and return to starting point by nightfall but Decin, Litomerice and Liberec are now working together on a plan that should provide for much longer trails and give riders the opportunity to spend several days in the saddle, breaking off at horse-camps for the night. Special maps, which are not yet available, will depict the location of eateries, vets, blacksmiths and horse-camps. So if you love horse riding and have despaired over the lack of proper horse-trails in this country, hang in there: things are about to improve. Like with cycle-paths, it is taking Czechs a while to provide proper conditions and facilities.

Drivers who happen to pass through the Western border town of As may be surprised to see a road sign they've never come across anywhere else. Actually there are two versions of the sign on display - one showing a pair of bright red lips and another showing the same lips crossed out. Drivers who were polled when the sign first appeared had plenty of ideas as what it could mean: you are free to kiss in this alley, or no lipstick please! In actual fact the sign means - prostitutes allowed, and prostitutes prohibited - depending on which version you happen to be looking at. Since the local town hall does not have the authority to ban prostitutes as such - it has at least issued a directive stating which parts of town prostitutes are free to conduct their business in. The prostitutes don't like it -but the townspeople approve. The only thing that remains to be seen is whether the new road sign will not cause more accidents as drivers hit their breaks to find out what on earth it is they are not meant to do in this part of town.