This week in Mailbox: Festival Mitte Europa; we get back to the use of the US dollar in Radio Prague's reports; Czech music featured at London Proms. Listeners quoted: Mukesh Kumar, Don Brazier, Jerry Fridrich, Michael Pober, Brian Kendall.

Festival Mitte Europa
Welcome to Mailbox, Radio Prague's weekly programme in which we read from your letters and e-mails and try to answer your questions. This one came from our long time listener Mukesh Kumar from India:

"Could you please give information about the Festival Mitte Europa in the program? I would be delighted to hear from you."

As a matter of fact this artistic festival has just ended, this Sunday being the last day. It was founded 15 years ago and under the title "New Neighbours - Dialogue of Cultures" it brings together the neighbouring states of Bohemia and Bavaria and Saxony in Germany. This year the programme featured works by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Robert Schumann, Dmitry Shostakovich and the events took place in many towns around the three countries - as the organisers say - "far away from the commotion and pressures of the major metropolises".

Don Brazier listens to us in Canada as part of the overnight programming of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. And he also heard Mailbox last Sunday.

"I thought some of the letters in this week's Mailbox were a bit whiny and I want to tell you I really enjoy listening to Radio Prague. I enjoy the news and the features about the country. Unbelievably, your razor thin election result never got reported in any Canadian news media - at least none that I saw - and Radio Prague is my only source of the efforts to form a new government. Keep up the good work."

And we have received more response to last week's Mailbox. In that programme, my colleague Ian Willoughby explained why in Radio Prague reports we convert the sums given in Czech crowns to their equivalent in dollars, US dollars that is. That topic has raised quite a response. This message came from Jerry Fridrich from somewhere in cyberspace.

"Are you trying to say that when you quote something in dollars you do not mean Czech dollar? That is exactly the impression anybody would get from your reporting. Second, if you really do not mean a Czech dollar but just a dollar that's even more confusing. What dollar do you have in mind? You'd be perhaps surprised that there is more than one. If your e-mail news bulletin is sent, for instance, to Canada then without any further qualifications that would automatically mean a Canadian dollar. So unless you try to confuse your readers you have to qualify."

Well, those who follow Radio Prague regularly know that the use of different national dollars around the world was discussed in Mailbox just a few weeks ago as part of our monthly question. Anyway, another letter came from Michael Pober, who I believe, follows us in the Czech Republic.

"In your Mailbox feature I read a stout defence by Ian Willoughby of using the US dollar rather than the euro as a comparative currency to the Czech crown in Radio Prague's reports and features. With sincere respect for Ian as a writer and as a person, I believe that on this issue he is dead wrong - unless he - or you - can provide evidence that a significantly larger number of your listeners/readers are US based (NOT 'expats'), in which case I would conclude that he is a little less wrong!"

And Mr. Pober continues:

"First the Euro is already widely accepted here (...) Secondly the collapse of the dollar over the last 6 years (...) and the gain in the crown vs. the euro during the same period greatly confuse the issue of relative costs - especially for Americans - who may conclude that prices here have at least tripled in the last 6 years if prices are quoted in dollars. (...)In the end Americans interested in visiting Europe - if they can afford it at all - will want to compare Euro prices in different countries, not forever converting back and forth with the less than almighty dollar."

Also, the primary goal of Radio Prague is to broadcast abroad and the fact that all our radio scripts are transcribed on our internet site is an additional service, for example, to the US and British expatriates in the Czech Republic who cannot listen to us on the airwaves and are a tiny part of our global audience.

Anyway, if any other of our listeners or readers have a strong opinion on Radio Prague's use of the US dollar, why don't you let us know, wherever you live around the globe. The address is [email protected] or Radio Prague, 12099 Prague, Czech Republic.

Before we repeat our competition question for July for one last time, here is a note Brian Kendall from England added to his reception report.

"My wife and I went to a Promenade concert in London last week. Two of the works were by Czech composers: 'The Cunning Little Vixen - Suite' by Janacek and 'Symphony No. 7 in D minor' by Dvorak. I thoroughly enjoyed them both and reflected on the number of major composers who have come from what is now the Czech Republic. Anyway, it would be interesting to hear either work covered in 'Encore' some day."

Thank you and I will pass that message on. And now, as promised, our competition question for July.

"If you follow Radio Prague regularly, you will find this question quite easy. We would like you to tell us the name of a Czech-born American anthropologist who was one of the first scientists to pronounce a theory that all humans are the descendants of one common ancestor."

You have one more day to send us your answers to [email protected]or Radio Prague, 12099 Prague, and next week in Mailbox, we will announce the names of the lucky four who will receive small prizes from us. Till then, thanks for listening.