Czech morning news in brief: Top headlines for October 7, 2021

Senate commission says police should check Babiš, Kellnerová tops Forbes' Czech rich list, and pre-election debates net record viewership. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 07.10.2021 09:58:00 (updated on 07.10.2021) Reading time: 5 minutes

Czech pre-election debates viewed by more than a million

The pre-election debate on ČT1 and ČT24 was watched on both stations by more than a million spectators over the age of 15 (1.026 million) according to Media Guru. An artificial intelligence bot called Matylda asked the leaders of eight main Czech political parties questions related to technology, the internet, and AI.

Matylda was created by scientists cooperating with Charles University in Prague. To generate questions, she received the official CVs of the given politicians and information on key issues. The general election will be held on Friday and Saturday.

Police should check Babiš over Pandora Papers, says Senate commission

The Chairman of a Senate commission for public procurement has said Prime Minister Andrej Babiš should be checked because revelations from the Pandora Papers bear signs of fraud. Babiš has denied the allegations, saying he bought luxury French property through a convoluted system of offshore companies following a recommendation by a real estate agency.

The Senate commission leader said Babiš’s conduct “bears signs of the criminal act of failure to abide by the duty to record transactions in the tax system”. He also said Babiš’s transactions suggested possible fraud under the law against money laundering. The Senate commission checked some 60 documents relating to the case, its chairman said. The commission will now ask the Czech National Bank to check the Prime Minister’s transactions.

Forbes’ Czech rich list puts Kellnerová in first place

The widow of deceased billionaire Petr Kellner is the richest person in the Czech Republic, according to a new ranking compiled by Forbes magazine. 50-year-old Renáta Kellnerová topped the list with assets of CZK 374.4 billion. The ranking suggests that the assets of the Kellner family have grown by almost CZK 82 billion since last year.

Karel Komárek took second place, with assets of CZK 117.8 billion. Prime Minister and ANO party leader Andrej Babiš fell one place from last year to fifth in the rankings with assets of CZK 74.9 billion, almost a billion more than last year. This is the first time a woman has topped Forbes’ Czech rich list.

Czech project that humanizes blockchain wins best European startup

The pan-European round of the SWCSummit world competition was dominated by the Czech Tatum project, whose platform simplifies the creation of blockchains for companies. In the European final, Tatum defeated Austrian, French or Greek projects. Next year the start-up will head to San Francisco, where it will vie for the title of the best startup in the world.

Steve Wozniak, Apple's co-founder, virtually joined the event last night to discuss the difficult beginnings of Apple, when he and Steve Jobs struggled with a lack of funds to promote their own vision.

Gang smuggling guns into the Czech Republic busted by police

Dutch police have detained a man who is thought to have headed a gang which smuggled over 1,500 arms into the Czech Republic and other countries. The arrest takes the total number of people detained for gunrunning in a joint Czech, Dutch and Slovak police operation to eighteen. The man, 48, was arrested in the Dutch city of Oss. Europol, which is coordinating the police operation, said that a total of 350 weapons have been seized so far.

The gang is believed to have made and supplied firearms to criminal groups in the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Austria, Denmark, Portugal and Sweden. Czech police have detained two Dutch nationals in connection with the gun smuggling gang, who will be extradited to the Netherlands. A further two members of the gang were arrested in Slovakia on September 13. The Czech National Organized Crime Center and the Slovak NAKA elite police unit took part in the investigation, which started in March 2020.

Czech attitudes towards the mentally ill improving, says study

Czech attitudes towards people with mental illnesses have slightly improved as the result of mental healthcare reform in the country, according to a new study by the National Mental Health Institute. Activities fighting prejudices in this area have also helped changed perceptions of the mentally ill.

On the other hand, no noticeable improvement was seen in peoples’ willingness to work, live or make friends with a person suffering from a mental illness, and compared to other European countries, mentally ill people still suffer a high level of stigmatization in the Czech Republic. Health Minister Adam Vojtěch said he hopes that the study will help experts in their work on future phases of mental healthcare reform.

Gardner in north Bohemia uncovers medieval Baby Jesus statue

A woman has uncovered a small medieval Baby Jesus statue made of baked clay in her garden in Křižany, near Liberec in North Bohemia. The find, dating back to the second half of the 15th century, will be put on display in a nearby museum. The finder will receive CZK 8,000 in remuneration, corresponding to 20 percent of the statue’s estimated value.

An archaeologist said that it is rare for finders to surrender their discoveries so quickly, as people often keep their findings secret and sell them to private collectors. The tiny statue shows a naked Baby Jesus holding a sphere symbolizing sovereign power. The figure is missing from the mid-thighs down. Similar statues have been found in Europe before, but they are rare.

26 taprooms take part in Pinkas beer race

One of the most original beer competitions in the world has just been held in Prague for the eleventh time. The Pinkas’ Nightmare race, in which ten half-liter glasses of beer must be poured in the shortest possible time and carried 41 steps from the cellar to the first floor of the U Pinkasů Restaurant in Prague, was won by Igor Kolivoško from the Červený Jelen restaurant in Prague.

The race was first run in 2010 in honor of Jakub Pinkas, who in 1843 improved the quality of draft beer by starting the practice of pouring directly into glasses in the cellar. Staff who carried glasses of beer from the cellar to the first floor of the establishment would walk up to 25,000 steps in a single shift, allowing guests to receive their beer cold and fresh.

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