Miss XXL, photo: CTK

A woman in the Czech Republic is accused of stealing 280 tons of cheese-flavoured pretzels! Who says you have to be skinny to be beautiful? Miss XXL jiggles her love handles for an appreciative Prague audience. And, waiting 40 years for a plant to bloom. Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarova.

The Prague tram service celebrated its 130th birthday in big style this week sending out a number of veterans on "birthday" rides around the city. People jumped on and off for a taste of the old days and cameras clicked non-stop. The biggest attraction was a horse-drawn open tram that seemed to be as fit for the job as ever.

The new high speed train Pendolino will be in service in the Czech Republic as of December 11th. It will run on the Prague to Ostrava track six times a day, making the journey in just 3 hours and 22 minutes. That's almost an hour less than the currently fastest express train makes it. The ride in a first class compartment will cost you 600 crowns. The Pendolino made headlines earlier this year when it broke the rail speed record in the Czech Republic. During its trial run it clocked 237 kilometres per hour on a track between Vranovice and Breclav in south Moravia. This evoked plenty of interest since the previous railway record of 219 kms per hour was set 32 years ago.

Miss XXL,  photo: CTK
The Czech Republic has had Miss something or other contests ever since the fall of the Iron Curtain, but for the first time this year the public was treated to a Miss XXL contest where the moto was: the fatter the better. Rubens-style beauties sashayed down the catwalk showing off their bulk to the best advantage. They sang, danced and even got into their swim suits for a toboggan ride. The winner was 21 year old Pavla Kosinova from the town of Ceske Kamenice who loves literature, films, swimming and historic fencing. She weighs an impressive 115 kilos.

Czech Television has launched a new series called "Fishing with Jakub", although a more apt name would be "Fishing with Czech celebrities" because every week Jakub Wagner - an ardent sports fisherman - invites a VIP on a fishing trip. He has managed to fish -and chat - with the best of them, but undisputedly Jakub's biggest catch is President Vaclav Klaus. The President showed he knew how to handle a fishing rod and then proudly posed for photographers next to the prize catch.

A woman who worked in a bakery in the eastern part of the Czech Republic is accused of stealing and selling 280 tons of cheese-flavoured pretzels. The theft took place over a four year period and the 51 year old woman allegedly concealed the crime by doctoring the bakery's books and cooperating with a 41 year old delivery man, who is also charged. Pub owners and other customers allegedly paid for the stolen goods in cash which was then passed back to the woman. The bakery's loss is estimated at 13.8 million crowns. The owner of the bakery is still in shock. He told reporters the thief had worked for him for 15 years and had his "absolute trust".

It is not often that an agave plant blooms in the Czech Republic but the Zemanek family showed off their 6 metre tall specimen to the press last week. The agave plant which now towers over their house has decorated the front garden for 40 years now and the family will be sorry to see it die after the bloom is gone. The plant is attracting visitors from far and away and with this years plum harvest a disaster many are obviously considering the possibility of turning to home made tequila instead of plum brandy.

Condor,  photo: Abehm-de,  CC BY 3.0 Unported
People have reported sightings of a huge bird of prey from different parts of the Czech Republic this week. The bird is a condor which escaped from its owners a few days ago when it was being moved to a new cage. Now the public has been asked to keep an eye out and help capture it since the condor has never lived in the wild and its owners say that its chances of survival will drop as the weather gets colder.

A non-profit organization has launched a brand new service for Czech drivers in the hope of lowering the number of alcohol related accidents on Czech roads. If you've been drinking and are unsure about how long it takes for the alcohol in your blood to disappear all you need to do is send an SMS message to the given address stating how much alcohol you consumes, what it was and when as well as your gender age and weight. Within minutes you get a reply telling you approximately how long it will take before you can safely climb behind the wheel of your car. We can't guarantee absolute precision naturally, says the organization in question. However they try to err on the safe side and hope that their service is useful to young drivers in particular who allegedly tend to have a most unrealistic idea about how long it takes to sober up.

News agencies reported on a plane accident with a lucky ending this week. Pilot Jaromir Andres crashed a replica of a historic plane - a reconnaissance plane used by the Germans during WWII- which it took him and his friends four years to build. The plane was returning from an air show in Jihlava where it aroused great admiration when the pilot reported motor failure. He promptly executed what witnesses described as a near-exemplary emergency landing - only the meadow was too small and the plane smashed into a forest. The pilot escaped unscathed but his plane is beyond repair. "I guess I'll use some of the parts and start all over again" Andres said. This time he says he knows exactly how to go about it and hopes to climb into the cabin of his new plane in just two years time.