Achal Teke horse

An unarmed woman robs a bank! Why does the PMs wife think that men make better politicians than women - and, helping to save the Achal Teke horse. Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarova.

The Prime Minister's wife Zuzana Paroubkova shocked many people when she told the 24 hours news channel that men made better politicians than women. Mrs. Paroubkova, who herself is a translator from French, said she believed that this was due to the fact that women were burdened by so many other things besides their work problems - child rearing, house work, family relationships and so on. Feminists were outraged by the statement, telling the CTK news agency that "there wasn't a country in civilized Europe where the Prime Ministers -or any other politician's wife - would voice such a view in public." Mrs. Paroubkova countered that she was fully entitled to her views and that she was far from dissuading Czech women from entering politics. "I make no secret of the fact that I prefer the role of women as homemakers, who are there for their husband and children," Mrs. Paroubkova told journalists. The Prime Minister declined to comment on his wife's words saying that he himself believed there should be more women in politics and was doing his best to increase their number in the ruling Social Democratic Party. The party has fewer women in politics than any other party on the Czech political scene.

Photo: CTK
An elegantly dressed middle aged woman robbed a Prague bank this week, carrying off tens of thousands of crowns. Bank clerks later told the police that an elegant lady who was only partly masked by her scarf sailed in, in broad daylight, told an employee at the counter that this was a bank robbery and demanded all the money she had. She was not armed and apparently made no threats of any kind. The police are now searching for her high and low.

Achal Teke horse
If you can compare horses and dogs then the Achal Teke horse would be the equivalent of a greyhound. Achal Teke horses are famous for their performance in racing and their endurance over long distances and under difficult conditions. They come from Turkmenistan and are often referred to as the "sun breed". Unfortunately they came near to dying out. During his years in power communist boss Nikita Chruschev said they were a legacy of the "bourgeois days" and should be eliminated. He almost got his wish. In the seventies there were only around three hundred of them left in the world. Today their number has increased to six thousand. Achal Teke hoses grace the stables of Bill Clinton, John Major and Queen Elisabeth, among others. Among the horse breeders who are doing their best to save this breed is twenty nine year old Petra Maresova from the Czech Republic. She has two dozen Achal Teke horses in her stables and claims that "you don't own an Achal Teke - the horse owns you".

She's 58, going on 59, but you'd never guess she was half that age as she huffed and puffed her way out the Smichov railway station last Saturday. The BN200 steam locomotive looked as good as she did in 1947 when she left the factory gates for close to half a century of service. By 1991 she'd served her time and although she was deemed ready for the scrap heap - fate was kind. She was left to rest at an out of the way railway station as a bit of historic décor -for kids to climb in an out of. Four years later a group of mechanics pooled their money to buy her and spent ten years restoring her to her former glory. She is once again fully functional and will now make special trips children and history enthusiasts. So, Pendolino watch out - you've got yourself a rival.

Being a police officer on night shift is not always easy - you get called out to deal with some pretty bizarre cases. Among the most curious in recent months is the case when an elderly woman called the police claiming that little green devils were crawling out of her drawer. The policeman on night shift promptly produced a box, and caught them all in it one by one, securing the lid and tying the box with a piece of string. The lady was extremely grateful and said she could finally sleep in peace. Another time the police was called to help save a man who spent the evening trying to hitch a ride from a tourist boat on the Vltava -from one of the city's many bridges across the river. When not a single ferry stopped, he jumped from the bridge, determined to swim to his destination. And finally, there was the night when bomb specialists were called to attend to a trash can from which a woman claimed to hear a disturbing ticking sound. They eventually pulled out a children's toy - which had been thrown in ticking with the extra long-lasting batteries that are always being advertised on TV.

A great many smokers in the Czech Republic are irritated by the new tobacco law which prohibits smoking in many public places, but none so more than Civic Democratic Party senator and Teplice governor Jaroslav Kubera who claims that the law infringes on people's rights. In protest of the new legislation he has prominently displayed a SMOKING ALLOWED notice in his office, where he smokes up to sixty cigarettes a day. And he wants to counter the ban with a local ban on chewing gum in public places, because he says that the town's pavements are messy with discarded chewing gum. If you want to chew gum on the street -then swallow it, Kubera argues. His views have a lot of people shaking their heads in disbelief and doctors are not amused - pointing out that in the Czech Republic alone smoking kills sixty people a day. Even that appears to have made a scant impression on the senator. He claims that people should be allowed to decide what they want to die of.