Czech morning news in brief: top stories for March 2, 2021

EU announces proposal for "Digital Green Pass," Czech kindergartens switch to distance learning, Prymula back in action, and more. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 02.03.2021 09:46:00 (updated on 02.03.2021) Reading time: 3 minutes

TRAVEL: Brussels will present digital travel pass proposal in March

This month the European Commission will present its proposal for a "Digital Green Pass" aimed at simplifying summer travel, EU Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, tweeted yesterday. The pass is also aimed at revitalizing tourism around the EU. The pass would provide proof of inoculation, test results of those not vaccinated, and information on the holder's recovery if they previously had COVID. “The Digital Green Pass should facilitate Europeans‘ lives,” von der Leyen wrote in a tweet on Monday. “The aim is to gradually enable them to move safely in the European Union or abroad — for work or tourism.” The proposal has already been met with concerns over privacy and the possibility that even vaccinated people can spread COVID-19, as well fears of discrimination against those who have not had the opportunity to be immunized.  

POLITICS: Prymula to become unpaid advisor to Zeman

Czech epidemiologist and former health minister Roman Prymula has become an adviser to President Miloš Zeman, CNN Prima News has reported, adding that Prymula's role will be unpaid without a work contract. Zeman has repeatedly said he considers Prymula an expert and in October awarded him the White Lion Order for his work during the first wave of coronavirus. In mid-February, PM Andrej Babiš cut ties with Prymula as his adviser following the latter's attendance of a football match amid restrictions. Prymula dismissed the criticism, saying he tested before the match and wore a respirator at the stadium. Prymula, who has repeatedly promoted tough anti-epidemic measures, was health minister for just three weeks last autumn leaving the post after tabloid reporters caught him exiting a Prague pub during COVID closures.

TECH: Czech data traffic grew by up to 71 percent last year

The volume of transferred data in domestic mobile networks increased by 66 to 71 percent last year due not only to distance learning and working from home but also the growing use of smartphones and the lowering of data rates, according to mobile operators. O2 network recorded an increase in fixed data traffic by 54 percent, mobile even by 70 percent. The biggest drivers of traffic were video streaming services such as O2 TV, Netflix, YouTube, etc. Record data traffic on communication platforms such as MS Teams, Skype, Zoom, and Google Meet said a company spokeswoman. Operators expect even faster growth dynamics this year.

EDUCATION: Ministry recommends distance learning for Czech kindergarteners

The Czech Education Ministry has issued a recommendation for kindergartens to switch to distance learning with schools closing over the coronavirus epidemic as of Monday. The ministry emphasized that kindergartens are obliged to implement distance learning for pre-school grades. The ministry recommends off-line distance learning rather than online and asks for parents' assistance. "In pre-school education, online learning is not a priority but has a complementary role only," the ministry writes in its guidelines adding that children are encouraged to play games and music, help prepare meals, and work in the garden. Online education should not take more than 30 minutes a week. "The goal is that no one stays outside the system and everyone works according to their possibilities and conditions," the document states. Secondary schools have been closed over the coronavirus since late 2020, as have elementary schools except for the first and second grades. Kindergartens and schools for disabled children remained open until today, but have closed due to the surging epidemic.

HISTORY: Experts create reconstructions of Premyslid princes' faces

A team of Czech and Brazilian experts studied the skulls of two early rulers of Bohemia in the 10th century, Premyslid princes Vratislaus I and Spytihnev I, and combined various methods that allowed to create digital reconstructions of their faces. The team has also been working on the faces of St. Ludmila, a princess from the Premyslid dynasty, the mother of the two princes and the first Czech saint, and her grandson St. Wenceslas, the holy patron of Czechs. In the past years, the team presented the reconstructed faces of Queen of Bohemia Judith of Thuringia from the 12th century and Zdislava Berka, a Czech saint of the Roman Catholic Church, living in the 13th century. The method of scientific studies of the skulls dates back to the 1970s when researchers started began studying the connection between the skull shape and the shape of the face. Eye color and shape and hair color are guided by historical sources and DNA analysis.

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