This week's topics: RP staff. Karlovy Vary Film Festival. Strasice folk festival. Czech constitution. Czechs abroad on referendum. Discontinued programmes. Listeners quoted: Sunil Malhotra, Paul Mills, Pavel Burer, Cyril Klusak, Ylian Encke.
Hello and thanks for joining us today. For those of you wondering what's happened to Martin Hrobsky. Well, he's gone back to Canada to continue with his studies. My new Mailbox partner is Jan Velinger.
We actually have a relating question from Sunil Malhotra who tunes in from India:
"I heard that Martin Hrobsky is leaving. I often get confused when it comes to your staff. People are coming and going. Maybe it would help if you would let us know who is a Radio Prague full-time employee and who is not."
It's true that we have had quite a few new voices on the programme and just when listeners are about to get used to them, they leave. Martin Hrobsky was at Radio Prague as part of an exchange programme from Canada.
Another person who will be leaving soon is Dean Vuletic. Dean is actually studying in the United States and joined the Radio Prague team for a few months to learn about Central European relations.
Then we have a new voice - Tracy Burns who started as a free-lancer recently...
And of course, there are Petr Doruzka with Magic Carpet and Pavla Johnssonova who contributes to the production of Czech books. Olga Szantova, who many of you have been asking about, was a full-time staff member for many years but decided to stay on as a free-lancer for health reasons. She still comes in occasionally to answer listeners' letters and produce some of our Mailbox programmes but is not well enough to go on the air.
And that leaves us with the full-timers who are Daniela Lazarova, Vladimir Tax, Rob Cameron, Ian Willoughby, Pavla Horakova, and the two of us.
Paul Mills from North Carolina, the USA writes:
"I recently tuned in to Radio Prague and was very impressed. I plan to come to the Czech Republic in the summer. A friend who lived in Prague for several years recommended I visit the film festival in Karlsbad and a folk festival somewhere close to Hodonin. She didn't remember where exactly it was. Can you help me? When will both festivals be held?"
Well, in order for you to make both festivals you will have to come fairly soon.
As far as the folklore festival is concerned. I think your friend meant the International Folklore Festival in the town of Straznice in southern Moravia. It will be held from June 27 - 29. The festival introduces visitors to folk songs, dances, costumes, customs, and other aspects of traditional folk culture. This year, it will also commemorate the 140th anniversary of Ludvik Kuba, an outstanding Czech artist, composer, and collector of Slavic folk songs.
The 38th International Film Festival in the spa town of Karlovy Vary or Karlsbad (as it's known to some of you) will be held a few days later from July 4 - 12. Approximately 250 films will be screened at the festival this year. The Grand Jury, which presents the Grand Prix - Crystal Globe will once again have distinguished figures from the international world of film. It will be chaired by Canadian film producer Rock Demers.
Pavel Burer listens to Radio Prague in New Zealand. He asks:
"By my first name, you can probably tell that I have Czech roots. My mother is Czech but I have never been to Czechoslovakia nor the Czech Republic. In our family, we were debating when the Czech constitution was signed. I thought Radio Prague could help us out. I imagine it must have been just after '89?"
In fact, it was later because the country had to have a new constitution once Czechoslovakia split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia. So, it was adopted on December 16, 1992 and came into effect on January 1, 1993.
"I know you will be holding your referendum soon. I personally would love to vote, I am a Czech who fled to the USA in 1968. Inspite of the EU basically becoming a new power that will compete against the United States, I would certainly vote for EU membership. How can I go about it?"
Unfortunately we have bad news for you and all other Czechs living abroad. Unlike the parliamentary elections last year, the electoral system for the referendum requires all Czechs to vote from within the Czech Republic. So, the only way for you to take part and vote yes to EU membership is if you come to the Czech Republic on June 13 - 14. Before that, however, you need to register or get a voting slip from the Czech representation in the USA.
Ylian Encke writes from Duesseldorf, Germany:
"I visited your website today and spent hours reading your articles. There were two articles or programmes, Profile and Central Europe Today, that were not updated. The last contributions were in October! Maybe you should have someone look into it."
Our regular listeners know that Profile and Central Europe Today were discontinued last year with the end of our Summer schedule. But you are right in saying that we should make it clear. We have therefore asked the Internet department to make a note of it on the web pages.
However, if you are interested in Central European current affairs, click on our Insight Central Europe icon or tune in to Radio Prague on Saturdays, where you'll hear the programme, which is a joint production of Radio Austria International, Radio Slovakia, Radio Polonia, Radio Budapest, Radio Slovenia, and Radio Prague.