All I want for Christmas is to be sent to prison! A Czech man talks an Austrian judge into jailing him. Who let Fittipaldi drive a Pendolino? And Chomutov offers a special marriage ceremony for those who want to give it a try but prefer to remain single. Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarova.
In Business News this week: inflation in the Czech Republic stands at 5 percent and is set to rise further, while salaries should grow next year by almost 8 percent; unemployment is at a nine-year low of 5.6 percent; Skoda is about to start rolling out Octavias that run on alcohol, but only for the Swedish market; Seattle follows Portland’s lead and introduces Czech-made trams; sales of organic food have doubled and are set to keep doubling annually for the next couple of years; and the Czech National Bank is minting more coins, due to uncertainty
While many of us are currently running around trying to buy presents, our guest today is busy selling them. But Linda Vavrikova’s company Allegria offers an unusual range of gifts: rather than tangible objects, they sell experiences. They can organise everything from a day spent on the back of a bin lorry to skiing pulled by horses to all kinds of unusual spa treatments. And the business has been a big hit since it was started three years ago: last year Linda Vavrikova, who is 25, was named Czech Businessperson of the Year.
Goulash, dumplings, pork and cabbage – at first sight, the Czech diet doesn’t seem like one of Europe’s most balanced – but up until recently, Czechs haven’t had serious problems with their weight. But now, Czech doctors are warning of a serious problem. The number of overweight and obese children is growing. The main problem, they point out, is that obesity is not just a cosmetic issue, as it can do a real damage to children’s health:
Ratatouille is not only filling cinemas –it has started off a craze among Czech kids for pet rats! Wondering what the underworld looks like? The town of Jihlava organizes pre-Christmas tours of Hell. And, two adventurous Czechs travel far from their homeland to lay a sun-dial on the bed of the Red Sea. Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarova.
A study by the Mag Consulting agency has estimated that Czechs will spend around 1.5 billion crowns (the equivalent of roughly 83 million US dollars) towards pre-paid vacations this year as Christmas gifts. That would mean a 25 percent increase from 2006. At least one travel agency has cited a 100 percent increase in interest in so-called Christmas cheques towards vacations, valued in the thousands of crowns, as well as increased interest in full vacation packages, worth tens of thousands.
Our guest for One on One this week is Pavel Maurer, who is arguably the Czech Republic’s best known and most influential gourmet. Besides establishing the highly successful Prague Food Festival, which every year gives people a chance to sample the fare of the Czech capital’s best restaurants for rock-bottom prices, Pavel Maurer is also the man behind the highly respected Grand Restaurant guide.
As I bustled about my flat last night, washing dishes and finally tackling that seriously grubby floor, I suddenly tuned into the song that was playing in the background on my stereo. Sunday Morning Coming Down - one of the Johnny Cash numbers that I didn’t buy the CD for. An orchestral, jangly offering, in which the singer laments (among other things) the loneliness and desertedness of his city on a Sunday.
More and more Czechs are abandoning large cities to enjoy the peace and quiet of the countryside, suggests a new survey by the Czech Statistical Office. Central Bohemia has become by far the most popular region, with more than 62 % of all moves taking place there. However, Czechs don’t travel too far from the cities, so that they can still enjoy the advantages of modern civilization.
When you enter the gallery of the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague these days, it is as if you have stepped back in time. Students of the university have prepared an exhibition dedicated to the housing culture of the 1970s - the era that saw the most building of standardized housing estates all over communist Czechoslovakia. Indeed, panelaky - grey, pre-fabricated blocks of flats - are a prominent feature of almost every Czech city or town. I asked one of the curators of the exhibition, Pavel Vancat, to explain its title: Husakovo
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