Pilsen's new ring-road, photo: CTK

In this edition of Mailbox: The dangers of Pilsen's new ring-road, opera on national ice-hockey team, Czech pop-music chart. Listeners quoted: Pavel Simon, Paolo Sanchez, Kimberly Porton

We begin with an e-mail sent to us by Pavel Simon, a Czech who lives in Germany but visits home regularly.

Pilsen's new ring-road,  photo: CTK
"I often drive through Pilsen to Prague and would like to know what is wrong with the new ring-road that was recently opened to traffic. I was told that there have been a few fatal accidents and wonder why it is so dangerous. Should I use a different road instead?"

The new ring-road around the town of Pilsen in West Bohemia has definitely helped to ease traffic within the city and has also been welcomed by many motorists but it is true that it is a very dangerous road. The problem is that drivers think that they are on a motorway that has two lanes in each direction but in reality, it only has one lane. Despite the warning signs that appear once in a while, drivers tend to forget and move onto the left lane, thinking it is meant for faster cars, only to find out that there are cars coming the opposite way. So, Mr Simon, the next time you drive to Prague and back, please be sure to remember that the ring-road only has one lane in each direction.

Paolo Sanchez comes from Buenos Aires, Argentina, and tunes in to Radio Prague's English and Spanish broadcasts regularly, mainly for the sports news. He wrote us the following e-mail:

"I lived in Prague for two years and have been tuning into your station since I got back regularly to keep up with current affairs. Everyone is talking about our new musical Number Ten, Between Heaven and Hell on Argentina's soccer player Diego Maradona and it made me think of a musical that you reported on about one of your football teams. Is it successful?"

I'm afraid you've got things a little mixed up. What you are thinking of must be the Opera that is to be performed this year. It is not about a football team but rather about the national ice-hockey team. "Nagano, the birth of a legend", features the golden victory of the Czech ice-hockey team at the 1998 Olympic Winter Games in Japan. It has not been premiered yet but with Czechs being faithful ice-hockey fans, it is expected to become a hit. Even those who do not like the opera are already looking forward to this one.

Kimberly Porton tunes in regularly from the United States and would like to know:

Well, these three artists will most probably outlive us all. They have been holding onto the popularity ladder and are not expected to let go anytime soon. But it must be said that they're success is well deserved. However, other artists and bands are making it to the top too. The most sold album is Jaromir Nohavica's Babylon - we recently featured it in the Arts. That is followed by a mix of Italian songs recorded by Czech singer Michal David. Third in the charts are Tezkej Pokondr - two radio presenters with their album Kuss featuring parodies of popular Czech and foreign songs. You were able to hear some of their music during programme.

This year has been designated as the Year of Czech Music and I have the new series of QSL cards in front of me and must say that Radio Prague is especially proud of this one. Eight cards feature Czech musicians and music organisations - my personal favourites are a photo of composer Leos Janacek, with his signature and an Antonin Dvorak postcard. Let me remind you that you can only get them in return for reception reports. And Czech Music is what this year's monthly competitions concentrate on. Many of you have already written in to "name the distinguished Czech composer who lived from 1874 to 1935, and whose 130th anniversary of his birth is being celebrated this month." That's your task for this month. Send your answers to the Radio Prague English Section, 120 99 Prague 2, the Czech Republic or by e-mail to