In today's Mailbox we reveal the name of the mystery person from our February competition and announce the names of the four lucky winners. There is also a brand new question for the month of March for you. Listeners quoted: Helmut Matt, Henry L. Umadhay, Sandhya Yadav, Henrik Klemetz, Doug Sebranek, Harold Yeglin, David Eldridge, Christine Takaguchi-Coates.
In Business News this week: the number of Czechs with a private pension plan rises by almost ten percent to 3.6 million; the second phase of the Czech Republic's truck tolling system will mostly use satellite technology; Industry and Trade Minister Martin Riman wants to extend the mining limits for brown coal in two mines in north Bohemia; the Czech food production industry sees record sales last year, but is nevertheless in difficulties; and the number of Czechs buying a second home for recreational purposes is on the rise.
If you have been to a Czech wedding any time in the last few decades, you are probably familiar with the classic format: the same bleak communist-era town hall with an uninterested official repeating the same old clichés, the same Wedding March, and even the exact same menu in a local restaurant afterwards. But just as so many other things have changed in Czech society in recent years, Czechs weddings, too, are becoming a whole different affair.
Any foreigner who has lived in the Czech Republic can tell you stories of how difficult it is to truly assimilate with the local population. No matter how well you learn the language or how many dumplings you can eat or beers you can drink, you will never be what Czechs call "nasinec" or "one of us."
Around a month ago I was sitting in a café on Manesova Street, near the centre of Prague, when in walked a small blonde woman of about 40 and sat down at the table beside me. One doesn't like to stare of course, but she appeared to have two black eyes covered with slender strips of plaster. Minutes later another woman, a brunette, walked in wearing big, dark sunglasses and with a bandage on her nose. They both spoke with broad Geordie accents and I couldn't help but wonder about them. Were they friends united in misery who had escaped violent partners
According to the European Union's Statistical Office Eurostat Czechs are at the top end of the European divorce ladder - second only to Belgians and Estonians. At the same time a change of lifestyle after 1989 has resulted in fewer young people tying the knot. So - with the number of divorces on the rise and the number of marriages on the decline - does the institution of marriage have a future in this country?
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