News in brief for Sept. 21: Top headlines for Czechia on Thursday

President Pavel runs in Central Park, rainy weather ahead for weekend, and more top headlines for Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 21.09.2023 08:53:00 (updated on 21.09.2023) Reading time: 6 minutes

education Around half of all teachers believe AI belongs in education

A study conducted by Palacký University in Olomouc and Microsoft revealed that over 50 percent of Czech teachers believe artificial intelligence (AI) has a place in education, while 19 percent disagree.

However, 60 percent of teachers believe society isn't prepared for widespread AI integration, and 47 percent are concerned it could lead to student cheating. Teachers' views on AI are divided, with 35 percent fearing it and one in three not seeing it as a threat. About half of teachers think AI will make people less intelligent in future. Most respondents agree that AI requires new teaching skills, but 78 percent don't foresee it replacing educators entirely.

MILITARY Ukrainian invasion is a learning opportunity, Řehka says

Czech Chief of General Staff Karel Řehka emphasized the importance of drawing lessons from the Ukraine war to advance technology during the "New Threats and Secure Communications" conference at Prague's Cevro Institute. National security adviser Tomáš Pojar echoed this sentiment, viewing the Russia-Ukraine conflict as a learning opportunity.

 Řehka highlighted its impact on accelerating Czech military transformation and necessitating revisions in national security, including new security and defense strategies. In addressing new threats, he stressed the need for the military to enhance its technological capabilities, emphasizing the ability to work across domains, gather extensive data, and take action based on it.

INCIDENT South Moravian explosion kills one

One fatality occurred in a house explosion in Otinoves village, South Moravia, resulting in significant roof damage to nearby homes. According to spokesperson for the regional firefighters’ department Zdeněk Hošák, firefighting, and police teams are on-site, and the village road is closed due to the explosion. 

Rescuers discovered a charred body roughly 20 meters from the blast site. An autopsy will determine the victim's gender and identity. Eight firefighter units are addressing the fire and related structural issues, while emergency services maintain communication with nearby residents.

police Czech authorities confiscate over 8,000 liters of alcohol

In the first eight months of this year, Czech customs authorities confiscated nearly 8,400 liters of illicit spirits. Over 5,000 liters were discovered during road inspections, while more than 3,300 liters were seized in establishments. Compared to the same period last year, the amount of confiscated alcohol on the roads increased by approximately 300 percent, and in establishments, it was nearly one-third higher.

Customs officers conducted 2,253 road checks this year, resulting in 52 cases of illegal spirits seizures. In comparison, last year saw 2,097 road checks and 30 cases of illicit liquor discoveries. Moreover, 429 establishment inspections this year revealed 87 instances of misconduct, a significant increase from the 47 cases in all of 2022.

business Czech Railways reports huge profit in 2023 so far

In the first half of this year, state rail carrier Czech Railways reported a gross profit of CZK 987 million, marking a significant improvement of nearly CZK 2 billion compared to the same period last year when they incurred a loss of CZK 931 million. This turnaround can be attributed to increased train travel, a stable energy market, and a stronger Czech crown.

Passenger transport, in particular, contributed to the profit, marking a return to profitability after three years of losses. Additionally, freight transport also yielded a profit for the group, signaling positive financial outcomes across the board.

CRIME Police investigate Ukraine-Roma brawl

Czech police today announced they have charged three individuals involved in a mass altercation and rioting between Ukrainians and Roma people in Pardubice on July 1. The investigation is expected to conclude by the end of September. Approximately 20 people were part of the incident, leading to protests from the Roma community.

Originally, authorities suspected three foreigners of rioting, but now participants from both groups face prosecution. Among the accused, two are Czech citizens, while one is a Ukrainian national. During the brawl, one Roma man sustained minor injuries, as reported by

Crime Attacker in Brno schoolgirl stabbing faces murder charges

Police in Brno are investigating an attack on a schoolgirl Wednesday as a suspected attempted murder of a child under 15. The suspect was detained at the scene by a bystander and police. Emergency workers took the girl to a children's hospital to be treated.

According to police, the attacker could face 15 to 20 years in prison or life for the attack in a street in the city's Zidenice district around 2:30 p.m. Local media reported the man was likely under the influence of drugs and had chased the girl. Witnesses said they detained the man until police arrived. Regional criminal investigators are handling the case.

Politics Czech president jogs in NYC's Central Park

Czech President Petr Pavel took a morning jog in New York's Central Park Wednesday while visiting the city for the UN General Assembly. Accompanied by bodyguards and journalists, the 61-year-old retired general ran approximately five kilometers through a popular southern route in the park.

Despite the sunny weather attracting many locals out for runs, most did not notice the presence of the Czech head of state. Only Pavel's escorted police vehicle hinted at his protected status. During a brief stop at Bethesda Fountain, he posed for photos with a few locals who recognized him on his run.

Society Czech avocado consumption jumps

According to unofficial statistics, consumption of avocados in the Czech Republic has increased by about 25 percent over the past five years to an estimated 0.8 kilograms per person annually. The sole ripener of avocados in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, Prague-based Titbit, uses heat, airflow, and humidity over four days on average to ripen the climacteric fruit after long-distance transport.

The company sources from countries including Peru, Colombia, Kenya, and Morocco. Avocados account for 60 percent of Titbit's revenue, with around 55-65 tons imported weekly. Global avocado production is forecast to triple by 2030 but may not meet rising demand, particularly in Western and developing Eastern European countries.

Weather Cold and rainy weekend ahead for Czechia

Colder and wetter weather is expected across the Czech Republic this weekend before conditions improve early next week. The Czech Hydrometeorological Institute says a cold front will move east on Friday and Saturday, bringing rains and daytime highs of 14-18 degrees Celsius.

A ridge of high pressure will begin shifting east on Sunday with partly cloudy skies and overnight lows of 6-12 degrees. Showers are likely in eastern areas Sunday morning before drying out. Looking ahead, warmer and drier weather is forecast to return to the Czech Republic after the weekend, with daily highs back above 20 degrees.

tourism Hotel occupancy in Czechia rises in August

Hotel capacities in the Czech Republic were 75.8 percent full in August, an increase of 6.2 percent year-on-year, according to an analysis by Smith Travel Research (STR). Despite the rise, occupancy has not yet reached pre-pandemic levels. The average room price was around EUR 98.6.

At 79.4 percent, Prague had the highest occupancy rate in 2023 among the European countries in the STR survey, followed by Budapest and Warsaw. Bratislava had the lowest rate at 66.5 percent. Prague also had the highest average room price at EUR 103.7. The company STR monitors about a third of the total hotel capacity in the Czech Republic.

transport Strahov tunnel to undergo repairs

An important transport structure in Prague, the Strahov Tunnel, will undergo repairs in four stages over the course of the next decade, Deputy Mayor for Transport Zdeněk Hřib announced, according to

The repairs are necessary to maintain its condition, given that, in addition to its role in Prague traffic, it also serves as a shelter for people in case of emergency and is part of the metro's security system. Renovations will also continue on the Barrandov bridge, resulting in traffic congestion in Prague 5 and 6 for at least two more years.

health Health ministry's vaccination system experiences glitch

Over two million vaccinations have been administered in the Czech Republic this year, with doctors entering the information into a new Health Ministry system. The new system aims to make it easier for patients and doctors to share data; however, patients are currently unable to access their data. The ministry plans to modify an application to allow patients to view their records, but no launch date has been set.

The system records data on both publicly and privately funded vaccinations. Originally, doctors were supposed to report vaccinations to a different system, but they found it to be too burdensome.

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