The first-ever fashion show on Wenceslas Square. The nation's patron saint got an eyeful! A baboon from Brno Zoo enjoyed a highly publicized four day outing before the police caught up with him. And, the Pardubice town hall is practicing its bows and curtsies for Princess Anne. Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarova.
Prague's Wenceslas Square, dominated by the equestrian statue of St. Wenceslas - the nation's patron saint -- has witnessed many turning points in the country's history. This is where Czechs congregate at times of joy or sorrow; this is where they gathered during the 1968 Soviet led invasion, during the 1989 Velvet Revolution that toppled communism and on many other occasions to celebrate the country's sports victories. But last week was a first. Never before had the nation's patron saint been treated to a fashion show and the one given by Cuban-born fashion designer Osman Laffita was a quite a sight! Laffitta's summer collection for 2008 was inspired by a recent trip to Asia and his models sashayed down the catwalk wearing ultra-short kimonos and romantic cheongsams. It was in every way a traffic-stopping show and judging by its success St. Wenceslas could well see more of the fashion world in the years to come.
A Czech martial arts association organized a special event in the town of Postoloprty last week to publicize its activities and attract new members.
The idea was to set a Czech record in a most unusual discipline - cutting an apple in half with a single swipe of a samurai sword. Not a big deal you may think but the hitch was that the apple had to be placed on the stomach of a volunteer lying prone on the ground. So the challenge was not in the trick of slicing an apple with the razor sharp samurai sword but talking someone into acting as an apple-pad. In the end the townspeople proved to be a brave lot - 81 of them risked life and limb to set and new Czech record and there were no casualties. However, many of them missed the big moment because they could not resist closing their eyes tight when they saw the samurai sword poised above them.
The Czech government wants to encourage more Czechs to eat organic food and is preparing a big information campaign on the benefits of organic products and agriculture to be launched early next year. In the meantime, the Green Party has decided to try a little test at the country's parliament itself. It persuaded the Parliament canteen to sell some organic food products alongside regular brands. The canteen complied but so far with very little success. For the most part deputies ignored the higher-priced goods and the lack of enthusiasm went across the political spectrum. Often MPs were under the impression that buying organic meant buying bird-seed. "I am a sinner where food is concerned - I love good food and I think people should eat what they like," the deputy speaker of the lower house Miroslava Nemcova told reporters. Her Civic Democrat party colleague Alena Paralova eyed the organic goods with a similar lack of enthusiasm saying - "you won't catch me eating bird-seed, I prefer pork chops". And Communist Party deputy Pavel Kovacik, who is on the agriculture committee, argued that all Czech products could be labeled as "bio" because Czech farmers use only a fraction of the chemicals used in most other European states. Not very encouraging all round. Especially when the inside joke being bandied around the lower house is that if the organic food products expire on the shelves the Greens should be made to pay for them all.
The highlight of the autumn season in the town of Pardubice is the annual Velka Pardubicka steeplechase; the demanding race attracts horse lovers from around the country and is broadcast on national television. However the mood of expectation at the Pardubice town hall this year has little to do with the steeple chase itself. The feverish preparations underway are for the upcoming visit of Princess Anne, who is expected to attend the event. The Czech media reported this week that town hall officials spent an entire day practicing their bows and curtsies for the Princess Royal under the watchful eye of the head of protocol at Prague Castle. They got instruction on how to address the royal visitor and what not to say in order to avoid making a dreadful faux pas. Clearly the hosts are taking their role seriously. It remains to be seen whether they will appear at the Pardubice steeplechase wearing Ascot-style hats.