News in brief for June 3: AI- and VR-themed Innovate Pilsen festival opens to public

The top headlines for the Czech Republic on Saturday, June 3, 2023, updated throughout the day to keep you up to speed. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 03.06.2023 08:30:00 (updated on 03.06.2023) Reading time: 3 minutes

Music Prague Spring attendance back to pre-pandemic levels

The Prague Spring festival of classical music attracted about 24,000 people during its three-week run this year, organizers told journalists before the final concert on Friday. The annual event closed out with a concert at Prague's Municipal House by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, who played Ludwig van Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, including Ode to Joy.

"We are extremely pleased that ticket sales trends have returned to pre-COVID levels and we are seeing sold-out venues," said festival director Pavel Trojan. "We attribute this to the fact that the audience is able to appreciate real quality and after two years they are again eager for extraordinary concert events."

animals Moravia faces Czech vole overpopulation

According to the Czech Central Inspection and Testing Institute of Agriculture spokesperson Ivana Kršková, parts of Moravia are experiencing an overpopulation of voles, which can lead to damaged land and plants. 

The current average number of burrow holes nationwide per hectare is around 125 – two and a half times more than the so-called pest threshold that determines a safe number of potentially harmful rodents. In Olomouc, South Moravia, and Zlín the number of voles is seven times greater than the average. Current vole numbers are the highest they have been for years, with figures even greater than the "crisis" of 2019.

legal Czechia to abolish over 10,000 outdated laws

The Chamber of Deputies has approved a government bill aimed at eliminating over 10,000 redundant laws, regulations, and directives from the Czech legal system. The bill focuses on enhancing transparency and comprehensibility in national law.

Among the cancellations are approximately 6,600 obsolete regulations that are no longer enforced, along with around 3,600 laws that had already been nullified by previous legal provisions, but remained present in the legal order. The proposed cancellations cover a wide range of laws dating back to 1918, including significant ones such as a 1919 law ending compulsory celibacy for female teachers, a 1924 regulation abolishing rewards for tax offense informers, and a 1930 law pertaining to bread manufacturing.

defense Defense minister praises Slovakia for vehicle-purchase help

Czech Defense Minister Jana Černochová expressed gratitude to Slovak counterpart Martin Sklenár for Slovakia's assistance in acquiring CV90 infantry fighting vehicles from Sweden through an intergovernmental agreement. Slovakia assisted Czechia in its negotiations to purchase the tanks.

The Czech defense ministry aims to coordinate the procurement process with Slovakia and adopt a similar approach for future purchases. Černochová highlighted the previous issues with the tender process and acknowledged Slovakia's cooperation. Originally, the Czech army intended to acquire 210 machines for CZK 51.7 billion, but – due to increasing prices – the defense ministry decided to purchase an additional 36 vehicles before costs rose.

international affairs Documents show which land Czechia will charge Russia for

A paper provided by the Czech Foreign Ministry reveals that the Czech state will require Russia to pay rent for the land occupied by a complex of apartment buildings in Prague 6’s Schwaigerova Street, as well as the former Russian consulate buildings in Karlovy Vary and Brno. 

The government recently revoked nine resolutions dating back to the 1970s and 1980s, which granted the land to the former Soviet Union for diplomatic purposes without charge. The cabinet argues that Russia is now utilizing the land for non-diplomatic activities, justifying the decision to end the provision of free usage.

TECHNOLOGY Tech-focused Pilsen event explores future trends

The Innovate Pilsen event starts its second day today as it showcases new developments from the world of virtual reality, artificial intelligence, simulators, robots, and more. Friday saw the event open only to students and firms. An exhibition entitled “Can technology save the world?” is also on display, which shows – for example – how to generate drinking water without electricity and how to make polyethylene terephthalate bricks to make a house. Full details of the program and event can be found on the official website.

The event will also today host ultra-fast drone races and flying mini drones. Guests will also be able to test a machine that makes a train move just by thinking. Up to 10,000 people are expected to attend the event over the course of two days.

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