Pavel Bem on the top of Mount Everest, photo: CTK

This week in Mailbox: Prague Mayor Pavel Bem climbs Mt Everest; RP e-mail news bulletins; locating stories on RP's website; dangerous dogs. Listeners quoted: Evelyn Coviello, Colin Law, Raymond E. Tong, Bob Boundy.

Pavel Bem on the top of Mount Everest,  photo: CTK
Time again to browse through this week's mail that has arrived from across the world.

We have reported in the past fortnight on the remarkable accomplishment of Prague Mayor Pavel Bem who reached the summit of Mt Everest last Friday - only the tenth Czech to do so. Here is a comment from Evelyn Coviello from the state of New York.

"I am writing in response to Mayor Bem's 'little' trip to Mount Everest. So what if Mayor Pavel Bem has taken off two months leave to climb Mt. Everest? How many other mayors around the world have claimed that feat? Prague certainly will not fall apart in his absence. I am sure he has reputable staff carrying on for him. Not only did Mr. Bem bring Prague to the mountain - rest assured he will bring the mountain back to Prague. I can picture in my mind the photos proudly displayed in his mayoral office! Congrats to him!"

Our regular listener/reader Colin Law from New Zealand noticed an irregularity in our e-mail news bulletin last weekend.

"Today I received 'News' and 'Radio Prague Today' both dated 6 May 2007, both sent by robot on 19 May 2007. Something went wrong with the robot?"

Precisely, and thanks very much for alerting us to the problem. We apologise for the technical fault and for any inconvenience it might have caused you. The correct news bulletin was mailed to all our subscribers afterwards. If a similar problem should occur in the future, you can always fall back on our website, where - barring any technical problem - the fresh news and current affairs bulletins are displayed on the main page.

Speaking of Radio Prague's website, Raymond E. Tong from Canada listens to our broadcasts regularly on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

"On May 20, 2007, Radio Prague broadcast a remarkable story about a young woman who in response to a sudden fire fell off her 4th floor balcony. Fortunately, a neighbour living on the 3rd floor was hanging out her washing and caught the falling woman. I attempted to locate an English version of this story using Google, and Radio Prague's website but the story is not available. Could you e-mail me an English copy of this story? Thank you."

That peculiar story with a happy ending was part of our weekly feature Magazine written and presented by Daniela Lazarova, and is available, as all our other stories, on Radio Prague's website Features usually stay on the main page for a whole week. Afterwards all stories are archived in their respective sections, that is Magazine, Talking Point and so on. It may also help to use the search box on our website. For example if you enter the key word "balcony" for this story, the search engine delivers this particular edition of Magazine as the first choice.

Bob Boundy from New Zealand was curious about the fate of a Dutch family who were attacked last month by a dog. He would like to know more details about that incident and similar ones.

Pit bull terrier
"What happens to the dog breeder and the dog or dogs that attacked the family? I would like to ask, are the dogs going to be destroyed and the owner prosecuted for allowing this to happen? Here in New Zealand there are very strict rules regarding dogs. Recently there has been one death and several other dog attacks so here the dogs are caught and put down and also the owner can be prosecuted and fined very heavily."

I searched the archives of the CTK news agency and, it seems they did not follow up on the story, so let's hope they are all fine and have left the country. I also looked at other "dangerous dogs" stories in the past four years and found that in similar cases, the owner is usually sentenced to a fine between 500 and 15,000 crowns. They can be sentenced to up to five years if their dog injures someone. Courts can order that the dogs must be muzzled at all times and the animals are often placed in shelters.

The rare cases when the dogs are actually killed are when they are at large, threatening people and cannot be calmed down. Then it is usually the police or the vet called to the scene who kill the raging animal. Just last Sunday, police shot dead a Pit Bull in Liberec who attacked his own master and would not let medics attend to him so had to be put down. A bill was discussed in 2004 which stipulated special punishments for negligent dog owners but the debate did not produce and result.

Thanks very much for all those e-mails and your interest in our programmes. All we have time for now is our competition question for May.

Many of you will have heard of the great English Oriental scholar TE Lawrence or "Lawrence of Arabia" as he is known to many. But although he is not so famous today, Lawrence's contemporary and great rival as the leading Arabist of his day was a Czech parson who travelled extensively in the Middle East in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He is perhaps best remembered for being the first Westerner to discover the Islamic monument - the Qusayr 'Amra lodge in Jordan. He was also a member of the Supreme Muslim Council in Jerusalem, the personal confessor of the Habsburg Empress Zita and a botanist who discovered several new desert flowers. We'd like to know the name of this mystery Czech.

You have until Thursday to send us your answers to Radio Prague, 12099, Prague or [email protected]. Next Sunday you will find out whether you've been lucky this time. Till then, bye-bye.