This week we introduce two new voices on Radio Prague and we return to St Valentine's Day celebrations. We quote from e-mails sent by: Thomas Kuca, Tom Hawman, USA; K. Thiagarajan, India.

Welcome to Mailbox. Today we'll be introducing a couple of new voices you have been hearing in recent weeks on Radio Prague. But first of all, let's go through this week's mail.

Thomas Kuca from New York has sent us a very nice e-mail in which he says he's just written to another international radio station commenting on their newly designed website.

"In my e-mail I commended the design of Radio Prague's website, noting how user-friendly it is. I also expressed my wish that all such international radio station websites would follow the same format as your station's design. Everything about the Radio Prague website is easy to navigate, unlike other station's sites. You have all the important information and links about your station and the Czech Republic on your main page. Why can't all radio stations follow your format and design? Are awards given to international radio station websites? Radio Prague would win!"

Thank you very much for that praise. I have forwarded the e-mail to our internet department who are indeed responsible for a very important part of what we do here at Radio Prague.

Another heart-warming e-mail came also from the United States, from Tom Hawman.

Vaclav Laurin and Vaclav Klement founders of the Czech automobile industry. In 1895 they began making motorcycles,  followed by cars in 1905. The first Skoda was made in 1925. This card depicts the first Laurin and Klement car,  the Voiturette,  of 1905. | Photo: ČTK
"I decided to write this after talking to 18-year old daughter last night and showing her the QSL card you sent me. It was a flood of thoughts back to my childhood as I talked to her and what this stuff means to me. Today's internet has just about destroyed the mystery of radio with today's younger generations. I first recieved a QSL card from your station back in the mid 60's. It seems like a lifetime ago and times were very different. I would routinely write to Radio Moscow, Radio Deutschland, and the BBC.

"I can remember saving my allowance for postage to mail letters to far away lands. I was 11 years old and probably on an FBI spy watch list for Russia as this was the height of the Cold War. My daughter thinks it's so quaint that I still have these thoughts but now with e-mail and everything "right now", what's the big deal. Well, after 45 years listening to shortwave radio off and on. So many stations gone, new ones on. You can even write a letter to Cuba AND China now. It's still just plain cool what you gave me. So, when I say thank you, I really do mean it."

Over the years, Radio Prague has also spoken in dozens of voices and let me use this occasion to introduce two new ones to you - even though one of them is not entirely new...

"Hi! I'm Linda Mastalir and I'm a Czech-Canadian. My parents left Czechoslovakia after 1968 and I was born in Vancouver, British Columbia. Some of you may remember that I was an intern at Radio Prague some years ago while I was a Master's degree student at the University of Toronto's Center for Russian and East European Studies. Now I'm back living in Prague and finishing my research for my history doctoral dissertation and I'm definitely happy to be back at Radio Prague. It's the ideal way to combine my interests as a journalist and as a historian, so I look forward to working with everyone again and exploring many new interesting stories."

Linda is one of the two new voices on Radio Prague and the other is Chris Jarrett from England.

"I'll be working for Radio Prague for the next few months as part of my university year abroad - I'll be here as an intern. I'm originally from Manchester, England, and I'm studying Russian and Czech currently back in England in Oxford. I am thoroughly enjoying work here at Radio Prague and I'm most certainly looking forward to the next few months here."

Photo: CTK
And finally K. Thiagarajan from India asked in his letter what St Valentine's Day celebrations are like in the Czech Republic. The holiday is very new in this country, just like Santa Claus, and they have been gaining popularity only in the past decade or so. We had a report on the subject in our Tuesday's programme. In it we asked a few people in the streets of Prague and they agreed that it's more of a commercial opportunity than a genuine celebration. Anyway, let me add my personal experience. On Tuesday evening there were so many young men carrying flowers in the centre of Prague - I had never seen so many men with flowers at the same time - not even on International Women's Days under communism when celebrations were compulsory. So maybe St Valentine's is really catching on.

And before I say good bye, here's our competition question for February.

"An ancient people, known to us as Hittites, lived in what is now Turkey, in the 2nd millennium BC. They spoke an Indo-European language which was deciphered by a Czech archaeologist at the beginning of the 20th century. He was also the one who determined the Hittites' language was indeed Indo-European."

Please send us your answers by the end of this month, to [email protected] or to our postal address, Radio Prague, 12099 Prague 2, Czech Republic. Till next week, thanks for listening and good bye.