Beaver, photo: D. Gordon E. Robertson, Creative Commons 3.0

A tractor demolishes a racing car! Prague is to get a Garden of Eden park, and the search for a run-away condor is over - Charles is back in captivity. Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarova.

Some Czech towns are having a serious problem with rodents. In Prague the Ahold store which was recently closed down because it was infested with mice -is a good example. The store claimed it applied pest control measures several times a week without result. Radek Martinec from the town of Zlin has his own story to tell. Slicing a loaf of bread for breakfast a few days ago he was amazed to find what he believes to be a mouse baked inside it. The gruesome object is now being inspected by the Hygiene Office to ascertain what that particular loaf was flavoured with but Martinec says -whatever it is he's buying rolls for breakfast in future. Although the respective bakery has apologized profusely - and claims that nothing similar has ever occurred in the past- food inspectors are keeping a very close eye on the store. Meanwhile, a Prague judge found that mice do not only settle where there is food to be had. He came to work one morning to find several court files and papers on his desk covered with funny ink marks. A couple of rodents had first dipped their feet into an open ink tray for rubber stamping and then proceeded to do a dance over all the papers on his desk. If he had any doubts at all as to who the culprit was -they were soon dispelled - a huge rat with dark blue feet stood watching him from a corner of the room.

A planned park which is to be called the Garden of Eden is expected to become the romantic setting for many Czech weddings in the future. The project in Prague's third district is expected to cost 20 million crowns and the future Garden of Eden will boast a lake and a gazebo. The park should be finished and opened to the public sometime in 2007 - and hopefully it will be home to many marriages made in heaven.

Czechs excel at DIY jobs around the house and garden. A chronic lack of all kinds of goods during the communist years and the need to save money taught them to be smart and inventive when it came to furnishing their homes or country cottages. For years Czech television featured a weekly programme based on home-made ingenious devices for the house and garden and now Czech TV viewers will get a peek at the competition. A Hungarian TV station, TV Deko, will soon be available on satellite and it is entirely devoted to DIY topics. The station will be available to viewers in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia as of December 1st and to Romanian viewers early next year. No doubt Czech DIY fans will welcome getting inspiration from abroad. Already many of them are cooking with TV Paprika.

Boretice,  photo: CTK
The village of Boretice in southern Moravia has won the title Village of the Year. The winner of this annual competition gets a one million crown grant from the regional development ministry, with no strings attached as to how it should be used. Boretice beat 13 rivals who got into the final round - out of 263 overall contestants - getting the award for best maintenance, sport and play facilities for children, a busy social life, and a well maintained vineyard.

Beaver,  photo: D. Gordon E. Robertson,  Creative Commons 3.0
Animal rights activists have protested against the way that animals are portrayed in ads, claiming that many ads involving animals are misleading and unethical, and that they adversely influence the way people feel about certain breeds. For instance an advertisement on a certain brand of vodka portrays wolves as dangerous predators who attack human beings. Animal rights activists say they do not know of any case in which a healthy specimen of this breed has attacked a human. Similarly an ad showing a beaver destroying a wooden hut on the water has angered animal lovers who point out that beavers do not eat dead wood but only living trees. The firm which commissioned the latter ad says that exaggeration is perfectly acceptable in the world of advertising. Animal rights activists maintain that at a time when so many animal breeds are dependent on man's goodwill for survival it is dangerous to give them a bad name.

The condor named Charles whom I told you escaped from a bird station three weeks ago has been found. After issuing appeals to the public ornithologists got dozens of calls a day from people who had sighted the enormous bird and eventually managed to track him down in a field just 5 kilometres from his home. Although there were fears that Charles, who was born in captivity, would not be able to survive on his own in the wild, he appears to have done exceedingly well and enjoyed his three weeks of freedom to the full. Ornithologist Petr Kolomaznik says the condor had obviously not suffered from a lack of food because in the three weeks he had actually gained weight and had suffered no ill effects health-wise. Having tasted freedom Charles is having a hard time getting used to his life in captivity once again but ornithologists are extremely relieved to have got him back. If a poacher had sighted him first, Charles could have come to a very bad end.

A group of young people from Moravska Trebova decided to make their own Skoda limousine. They welded three Skoda cars together to produce the luxury vehicle and fitted it with a computer, bar and CD player. Their Skoda limo has not passed the respective technical tests -so it is not allowed on the road -but it does get an airing around town and has become something of a local mascot. Its owners are extremely proud of it and boast that it can run at a maximum speed of 100 kilometres per hour.

A truly bizarre accident happened on the Historic Vltava Ralley race track this week. A tractor driver broke regulations and drove onto the one way track - allegedly because he wanted to take a shortcut home. Within minutes, an oncoming Skoda car made a sharp turn and promptly crashed into the tractor at high speed. The racing car was demolished and the driver was injured but the tractor merely backed off and drove away. "I couldn't believe my eyes - the racing driver said later. You come to expect certain dangers on the track but the idea that a tractor would suddenly materialize on the race track right in front of me would never have occurred to me in my wildest dreams. I still can't believe what happened." The police are investigating the incident. As for the tractor driver, he disappeared after realizing how big a risk he'd taken.