This week in Mailbox: Floods in the Czech Republic; smoking in public places; visa requirements for Czech citizens to enter Canada; fridge magnets once again plus last chance to enter our April listeners' competition. Listeners quoted: Anna Kristine Magnusdottir-Mikulcakova, Iceland; David Eldridge, UK; Ronald W. Dixon, Canada; Bob Boundy, New Zealand.
We received an e-mail from Iceland this week, which does not happen very often, from Anna Kristine Magnusdottir-Mikulcakova.
"I just want you to know that even though your rivers have decreased, we here in Iceland are fully aware of the damage that has hit the Czech Republic for the third time in less than 9 years. I am half Czech, from Zlin in Moravia and have had two fund-raising concerts after the floods in 1997 and 2002. On May 6th there will be the third fund raising concert under the name of 'Pomoc ze severu'. Many of Iceland's best musicians and stand up comedians will appear and the money we raise will go to help in the Zlin region. It would be nice to see on your e-mail reports how things are going, how many people lost their lives during the floods and how repair is going."
Thank you very much for your interest, Anna Kristine. As you might have noticed, Radio Prague continues to cover flood-related stories, for example on the killing of mosquito larvae in the areas with standing water left by the floods to prevent an outbreak of diseases which mosquitoes could transfer. As for the number of victims, nine people are known to have died in this year's floods in the Czech Republic.
Change of subject, in response to a recent failed vote on a smoking law, David Eldridge from Britain has sent us this.
"I wish the people working for a smoking ban inside buildings success. To me, and I know to other people, too, the biggest downside to visiting the Czech Republic is the extent that people smoke in public places. It is easy to avoid smoky places in Britain now and we have already passed a bill that will soon be law and will prohibit all smoking in all public buildings or places of employment. Perhaps the campaigners for a ban on smoking in public places in the Czech Republic could produce a web site listing all establishments that already comply with such a ban so that those in support can know where to take their patronage."
That sounds like an interesting idea. I would appreciate something like that myself.
On the topic of visas for Czech citizens required by Canada, Ronald W. Dixon from the province of British Columbia sent us this comment.
"As a Canadian citizen, I stand firmly behind the Czech Foreign Minister in his bid to get the government of my country to immediately lift its entry visa requirements for Czech nationals. It is high time that not only the Canadian government but also the American and Australian governments stopped discriminating against Czechs and the citizens of other Central, South-Eastern and Eastern European nations. These aforementioned governments are apparently still in a "Cold War" mode and don't seem to realize that the Cold War has been over since at least 1992."
Bob Boundy who listens to us in Christchurch, New Zealand heard a listener's question about fridge magnets in Mailbox two weeks ago and had this to add to the subject.
"I have a wee story to tell about fridge magnets. When we were in the Czech Republic in 1995, we asked our Czech friends if they could take us around to find fridge magnets. Well that turned out to be a real exercise. We went to Prague - no fridge magnets. Went to Teplice - no magnets. Went to the local shop in Duchcov where we were staying and, wow, we found some. To the amusement of the shop assistant we bought all they had. Fridge magnets have always been popular here in New Zealand. Our fridge is very well decorated with them."
Thank you for that letter and if you have a personal story like that, connected to the Czech Republic, please share it with us.
And before we run out of time, here is our competition question for April. There are still a few hours before the deadline passes, so use your chance. This month we are asking you to list all Czech Nobel Prize winners. It's up to you whether you chose to list only those who were Czech by nationality or all those people who were born in what is now the Czech Republic even though they were not ethnic Czechs.
You have until midnight to send your answers to Radio Prague, 12099, Prague, Czech Republic or English@radio.cz. The names of the winners - yes, you heard me correctly - because there will be four of them as of this month, will be announced next Sunday. Till then, thanks for listening and please keep those letters coming.