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Czech nuke blast prank may backfire on youths (Gulf-Times.com)


2008-03-25, 7:48:00 • English
Czech nuke blast prank may backfire on youths
(Katerina Zachovalova, Gulf Times, Tuesday, 25 March, 2008, 01:43 AM Doha Time)


FOR a band of seven young “humour guerrillas”, their prank could not have worked better. After three years of preparation, on a hot summer morning in June 2007 they plugged their camcorder to an unmanned camera scanning Krkonose Mountains north of Prague.
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The camera was broadcasting an otherwise dull and uneventful panorama of the countryside for an early-morning weather programme on national Czech television – when all of a sudden, a massive fiery orange mushroom cloud rose up on TV screens, like an atomic bomb.
It was not, of course, an actual nuclear bomb blast – but instead it was the image coming from a tape in the camcorder which the seven young people had plugged into the camera system. But to viewers, it looked like an atom bomb had exploded.
Now the prank threatens to backfire: Six of them are facing trial, scheduled to begin today, on scaremongering or attempted scaremongering charges, which could be punished by a fine and up to three years in prison. Another member is to be tried separately.
Whether a crime or not, the stunt certainly was the latest episode in the country’s rich tradition of kind, self-deprecating humour, subtle word plays and pub-concocted prankish escapades.

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