Czechs on Saturday will mark Dušičky – or All Souls’ Day – a
traditional Roman Catholic day of remembrance for friends and loved ones
who have passed away.
According to a STEM / MARK survey, around four in five Czechs follow the tradition in some manner, but only one in five are likely to visit a cemetery precisely on All Souls’ Day.
Many Czechs mark Dušičky by visiting and tending to graves, where they light candles. From 1 to 3 November, all 29 Prague cemeteries will have extended hours, remaining open until 6:00 pm.
On Saturday at 5:00 pm, Prague Cardinal Dominik Duka will serve a mass to commemorate the departed at the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Vyšehrad.
Dušičky was a national holiday in Czechoslovakia, as it is still in neighbouring Slovakia and Poland. According to the STEM / MARK poll, half of Czechs do not think it should be a state-recognised holiday.
Czech computer science academics have developed an artificial intelligence
system to automatically generate news about developments on the Prague
Stock Exchange, in cooperation with the state news agency ČTK.
The tool was created by scientists of the Faculty of Social Sciences of Charles University (FSV UK), Czech Technical University (ČVUT) and the University of West Bohemia (ZČU).
Testing is set to begin in the coming days. In future, the AI system could be adapted to cover the weather, sports and other topics, ČTK reports.
Czech ambassador to Ukraine Radek Matula was called in by Kyiv to explain
why pro-Russian Crimean Tatar activists were invited to celebrations at
Prague Castle on 28 October marking Czechoslovakia's founding.
Activists from the group Kyrym birligi (Crimean Unity) were invited by the Office of the Czech President. They later wrote on Facebook that President Miloš Zeman had recognised Crimea as being part of Russia.
Ambassador Matula reportedly assured officials in Kyiv that the foreign policy stance of the Czech Republic – that the Russian annexation of Crimea is unlawful – has not changed.
A spokesman for the Czech president at first declined to state Zeman’s position but later said he continues to believe the annexation was illegal.
Czech scientists have opened a lab to experiment growing food under extreme
conditions and in environments lacking water – such as Mars, Reuters
The “Marsonaut” experiment by 29-year-old scientist Jan Lukačevič and his team at the University of Life Sciences in Prague is based on aeroponics — growing plants in the air, without soil, and limiting water use to a minimum.
Using aeroponics, plants grow horizontally from a vertical unit and are stacked one above the other in order to minimise space.
Lukačevič told Reuters his team has already succeeded in growing mustard plants, salad leaves, radishes and herbs, such as basil and mint.
The main benefit of aeroponics is that it uses 95 percent less water than normal plant cultivation and saves space, which could boost agricultural yields in areas hit by climate change and urbanisation.
Former Energy Regulatory Office (ERÚ) director Alena Vitásková was
sentenced on Friday for abuse of power to a two-year sentence, suspended
for 30 months. The ruling by the Jihlava court thus upheld a court of
appeal verdict issued last year.
Vitásková, who lead the ERÚ from 2011 to 2017, was accused by the police in mid-2015 of abuse of power and breaching her duty to manage property. The charges related to her hiring of former supreme state attorney Renata Vesecká to a top post within the ERÚ although she had not experience in energy regulation.
Vitásková was also the subject of another court case for having allegedly issued permits to solar facility operators before the sites were operational, thereby allowing substantially higher subsidy payments. The high court in Olomouc dropped those charges against her due to a lack of evidence.
Previously, the regional court in Brno had found Vitásková guilty and handed her an 8.5 year sentence. According to that verdict, she prevented investigation into the matter, enabling those involved to meet a deadline for substantially higher subsidy payments.
The IHS Markit Czech Republic Manufacturing PMI edged up to 45.0 in October
2019 from 44.9 in the previous month. It remains at the weakest level since
The reading pointed to the 11th straight month of contraction in the manufacturing sector, but was the softest since June, Markit Economics said.
The rate of decline in both new orders and new export eased slightly; while employment fell at the fastest rate for almost a decade.
On the price front, input costs rose as lower demand for inputs limited supplier pricing power; while output costs increased for the first time since July despite weak demand conditions.
Sentiment towards output over the coming year was negative for the first time since December 2012, Markit Economics said, as hopes of a pick-up in demand waned.
Four people have been seriously injured in an accident at an explosives
factory in Pardubice. The powerful blast occurred at the Explosia plant in
the suburbs of the east-Bohemian town on Friday morning.
According to the spokesman of the rescue service, two people suffered burns on more than 30 percent of their bodies and had to be put in an artificial coma. The plant manufactures the plastic explosive Semtex, often used in terrorist attacks because of its high performance and easy use.
The sixth annual Aussie and Kiwi Film Fest gets underway in Prague on
Friday night at Prague’s Lucerna theatre with a screening of the comedy
drama ‘Ladies in Black.’
The festival, which this year focuses on the theme of freedom, will offer movie screenings and accompanying events, including an exhibition of photographs by Jiří Jírů called ‘Havel in New Zealand’ and a discussion at the Václav Havel Library about Czechoslovak emigration to Australia and New Zealand. The Aussie and Kiwi Film Fest will run until November 6.
Czech tennis player Petra Kvitová has failed to advance to the semifinals
of the WTA Championships, which takes place in Shenzen. The Czech second
seed was defeated by Australia’s Ashleigh Barty 6:4, 6:2 in the final
match of the group stage on Thursday.
Another Czech, Karolína Plíšková is set to face Romania’s Simona Halep on Friday for a place in the semi-fainals.
The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has ranked the Czech
Republic second among the post-communist nations in the sustainability of
the civil society sector for 2018, along with Poland, Latvia and Lithuania,
the Czech News Agency reported on Thursday.
The USAID annual report, which compares the situation in 24 former Eastern Bloc countries, suggests that Czech NGOs have improved the offer and the quality of their services over the past year, but the sector’s public image has deteriorated for the second consecutive year.
The growing distrust in NGOs is caused by the activist approach of some NGOs in face of the migrant crisis as well as fake news, which portray the sector as unreliable and incompetent, says Marek Šedivý, president of the Association of public benefit organisation in the Czech Republic.
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