News in brief for June 6: Storm warning issued for south of Czechia

The top headlines for the Czech Republic on Tuesday, June 6, 2023, updated throughout the day to keep you up to speed.

Expats.cz Staff ČTK

Written by Expats.cz StaffČTK Published on 06.06.2023 08:38:00 (updated on 06.06.2023) Reading time: 7 minutes

Sport Muchová makes semifinals of French Open

Karolína Muchová has reached the semifinals of the Roland Garros Grand Slam for the first time in her career. She defeated Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in straight sets, displaying a strong performance with 21 winners and capitalizing on her opponent's 29 unforced errors. Muchová's victory against Pavlyuchenkova leveled their head-to-head record at 2-2. She is the first Czech woman to reach the semifinals of Roland Garros since Barbora Krejčíková, who won the tournament in 2021.

In the doubles quarterfinals, Marie Bouzková and Sara Sorribesová lost to Melicharová-Martinezová and Perezová. Muchová will face Aryna Sabalenkova, the world number two, in her first Grand Slam final. Sabalenkova defeated Elina Svitolina to secure her spot in the semis.

EU Czechs show widespread apathy to 2024 EU election

Czechs have among the least interest in next year’s European Parliament election, according to a Eurobarometer survey released today. On average, 56 percent of voters across all EU countries reported that they would monitor the June 2024 election and the build-up. 

In Czechia, this figure is at just 27 percent. In the whole bloc, only Slovaks are less interested. In the previous (2019) European Parliament election, just 29 percent of Czechs voted – markedly less than the EU average of around 50 percent.

public opinion President Pavel is Czechia's most-trusted politician

A survey released today by the Czech Center for Public Opinion Research shows that, out of all top Czech politicians, the public trusts President Petr Pavel the most. Almost six in 10 people trust Pavel, whereas just 28 percent of people have faith in Prime Minister Petr Fiala. Ex-Prime Minister Andrej Babiš is the second-most trusted politician, with 44 percent of the public reporting that they trust him.

Minister of Science Helena Langšádlová and Minister for Legislation had the poorest poll results, with just 6 percent of the public evaluating both as trustworthy.

EU Czech senior MP announces support for Georgian EU accession

Czech Chamber of Deputies Speaker Markéta Pekarová Adamová told journalists today that Czechia “is ready to help” Georgia in its mission of joining the EU. Adamová, in Georgia for a two-day official visit, met with Austrian and Slovak politicians, who also signaled their countries’ support of Georgia’s EU accession. 

According to Pekarová Adamová, Georgia’s joining of the EU would make Europe more united and secure, especially in the context of Russian aggression. Members of Czechia’s delegation also visited Georgia’s border with Georgian South Ossetia, currently occupied by Russia.

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economy Construction falls in Czechia, but foreign trade surplus rises

According to industry-related data published today by the Czech Statistical Office, construction production in Czechia registered a third consecutive decline in April year on year, dropping by over 6 percent. 

On the other hand, industrial production grew slightly on an annual basis thanks to increased car manufacturing, which has grown by about 30 percent year on year. Foreign trade – aided by car exports – was also in the black for the fourth month in a row in April, recording a CZK 8.4 billion surplus.

companies RegioJet's 2022 sales double year on year

Czech transport company RegioJet announced today that in 2022 it made sales of CZK 2.8 billion in 2022 – more than double the amount of 2021. It also made a pre-tax profit of CZK 126 million after two years of loss.

RegioJet’s train and bus services also transported over 10 million passengers last year, which shows that demand has now reached pre-Covid 2019 levels. The most popular journey was the Prague-Ostrava connection. The company also announced today that it is preparing further expansion and investments worth billions of crowns in new locomotives and wagons. 

energy Czech university announces new nuclear fission reactor

During a press conference, representatives from the Czech Technical University in Prague (ČVUT) announced the successful start of operations for a second fission reactor at the university’s Faculty of Nuclear Sciences and Physical Engineering. 

The reactor, named VR-2, will primarily serve educational and scientific purposes. Notably, this achievement marks the tenth functioning nuclear reactor in the country. With a construction cost of approximately CZK 15 million, the VR-2 reactor is smaller in size compared to CVUT's previously operational VR-1 reactor, which has been in service since 1990. ČVUT stands as the sole university globally to operate two fission reactors.

event Karlovy Vary hit by power outage

A large power outage hit almost the entire Karlovy Vary region this morning. Almost all towns and cities in the area were affected. According to spokesperson for the ČEZ energy company in Western Bohemia Sonia Holingerová, it was caused by an error in a high-voltage distribution line in Sokolov. 

The outage – which began at around 8:30 a.m. – lasted around 30 minutes, but some people were left without electricity for much longer. Trolleybuses in the region were able to run, as they were able to use a back-up battery supply already installed. 

weather Strong thunderstorms and rain expected across southern areas

The Czech Hydrometeorological Institute (ČHMÚ) has published official warnings about thunderstorms and persistent rain in the south and southwest of Bohemia on Tuesday, where around 30 millimeters of rain may fall in total. Ceské Budějovice and Český Krumlov are among the at-risk areas. In Prague, rain will continue today and Wednesday for extended periods, but there is no risk of storms.

According to the ČHMÚ, stormy and wet weather is expected this afternoon and evening. After a temporary calm, Wednesday afternoon will see a return of bad weather in the same areas, as well as South Moravia, Zlín, and parts of Olomouc. Small streams may overflow in places and water may flood subways, underpasses, or basements, according to meteorologists at the ČHMÚ.

Sports Czech hockey legend Hašek in Ukraine

Czech hockey legend Dominik Hašek made a trip to Ukraine, visiting the cities of Kharkiv and Kyiv, where he met with Ukrainian athletes and visited sports venues. Hašek received the Hockey Friend of Ukraine award during his visit. He expressed his support for Ukrainian hockey players, children, and the country as a whole in their ongoing conflict with Russia.

Hašek has been vocal in his criticism of Russia and President Vladimir Putin, opposing the participation of Russian athletes in international competitions. He also called for a unified stance against Russia, urging action from the government, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Department of the Interior.

politics President Pavel appoints constitutional judges

President Petr Pavel has appointed three new constitutional judges in a ceremony at Prague Castle last night: Josef Baxa, Jan Wintra, and Daniela Zemanová. This is President Pavel's first selection of judges since taking office in March. Speculation has arisen that Baxa could potentially succeed the current president of the Constitutional Court. The president has not confirmed or denied the possibility.

It is anticipated that the new judges will protect constitutionality and human rights in their roles. In a tweet Pavel said the judges were "united by professional qualities, the desire to be involved in solving social issues beyond the scope of ordinary duties, and the respect of their colleagues. I believe they will be independent and fair judges."

Tech Apple Vision Pro won't launch in Czechia yet

Apple has unveiled its highly anticipated augmented virtual reality kit, Apple Vision Pro, marking the company's major foray into a new product category since the launch of the Apple Watch. The kit, showcased at Apple's annual developer conference, features a camera and microphone system that enables the creation of three-dimensional videos and photos.

Priced at USD 3,499 (CZK 77,000) the set is set to hit the market in the United States early next year, with availability in other countries to follow. The high price tag suggests the Apple Vision Pro will likely cater to a limited customer base. Following the announcement, Apple shares initially rose but later experienced a slight decline.

science Czech leukemia drug gets US patent

A team led by Marek Mraz from Masaryk University in Brno has been granted a U.S. patent for their use of GAB1 inhibitors as a treatment for blood cancers, particularly chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). This achievement marks a significant milestone in their research on CLL, the most common type of leukemia in adults.

The team, which received a grant in 2018, has been dedicated to studying the development and treatment of CLL. While obtaining the U.S. patent is a notable accomplishment, the researchers aim to further develop a new inhibitor specific to the GAB1 molecule for effective treatment in patients with blood cancers.

TECH Czech EC leader wants AI content flagged

The European Commission urges major internet platforms, including Google and Microsoft, to help identify and flag content produced by artificial intelligence (AI) to combat the spread of disinformation. Věra Jourová, vice-chairwoman of the commission, announced this during a meeting with representatives of internet companies.

The requirement, part of a voluntary code that dozens of companies are expected to adopt (Google, Microsoft, Facebook owner Meta, TikTok and Czech Seznam have done so) may also become a part of the binding EU act on AI, currently being negotiated. The regulation of AI has gained importance due to the development of generative systems like ChatGPT and Bard, capable of creating realistic texts, images, and videos.

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