Respilon, a facemask developer based in the Moravian city of Brno says it
will start producing facemasks capable of not just capturing, but also
destroying coronavirus particles. The latter is apparently possible due to
special nanoparticles of copper oxide in the mask, Respilon director Roman
Zima said at a press announcement on Wednesday.
The masks should start being produced in two weeks’ time in cooperation with an Israeli company and could be available for purchase in six to eight weeks for a price ranging in tens of crowns.
In cooperation with universities and other companies, Respilon develops nanofibers which are then sent to China, where they are assembled into facemasks and respirators. These are then distributed to countries in Asia, America and Europe. However, due to the situation surrounding the coronavirus in China, the company director says it is apparently impossible to access its mask supplies there.
Officials from the Czech State Agricultural Intervention Fund (SAIF) say
that negotiations into whether Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis is in a
conflict of interest or not have so far been inconclusive. The announcement
came at a press briefing following Tuesday‘s discussions between
representatives of the European Commission and the Czech state about the
results of an EU audit sent to the Ministry of Agriculture regarding a
potential conflict of interest that Mr Babiš may have due to his position
as head of government while also allegedly controling Agrofert, the company
he founded, through trust funds. The Czech prime minister insists there is
no conflict of interest.
According to SDIF director Martin Šebestyán, the European Commission has approved sending funds to all Agrofert projects except one enterpirse which called for a contribution worth CZK 1.6 million.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture Jiří Šír said at a briefing on Wednesday that negotiations are confidential and detailed information cannot be disclosed, but stressed that the audit results are not yet final.
According to Mr Šír the European Commission now has a month to look into the results of the negotiations. The final audit should then be presented after a further six months.
The Premier League side West Ham has agreed a GBP 13 million transfer deal
with Slavia Prague for Tomáš Souček, BBC Sport reports. The 24-year-old
defensive midfielder has scored 10 goals in 19 appearances for Slavia this
season and also has 20 caps for the Czech national side. West Ham manager
David Moyes said that the midfielder “ticks a lot of boxes” for the
London side’s needs.
Aside from negotiating a contract, Souček is currently undergoing tests and a health check. Slavia Chairman Jaroslav Tvrdík says that, if the transfer is completed, Souček could become the country’s most expensive footballer to be sold abroad, beating the previous record set by Tomáš Rosický, who was purchased by Dortmund for CZK 504 million in 2001.
Daughter, the animated short created by Prague’s FAMU Film School student
Daria Kashcheeva has been awarded the Short Film Jury Award for Animation
at the annual Sundance Film Festival. It is the latest in a series of
high-level awards bestowed on the film since it came out in 2019. The
33-year-old Kashcheeva, who made the picture as part of her bachelor degree
at FAMU, used an innovative hand-held camera technique in the film. This,
she says, gives it a documentary feel and has impressed many critics.
The annual Utah based Sundance Film Festival was created by actor and director Robert Redford and is regarded as the largest festival of independent American cinematography.
Ms Kashcheeva’s Daughter has also been nominated for this year’s Oscars and the Czech Lion Magnesia Award for the Best Student Film.
The Czech Republic received CZK 68.5 billion more from the EU than it sent
to the union’s budget last year, according to the Czech Ministry of
Finance, some CZK 24 billion more in comparison to 2018. The ministry says
the rise is due to the increase in drawing money from EU funds.
The positive difference between receiving EU funding and contributing to the EU budget places the Czech Republic among the list of so-called net recipient states. These include all of the other Central European Visegrad Four states as well. Meanwhile, Germany and France rank at the top of EU contributor states.
Shares of Czech anti-virus giant Avast fell by up to 9 percent in one day
on the London stock exchange, following news that the company’s browser
extensions may be harvesting users' data which is later sold to supply
marketers, news site iHNed.cz reports. Company shares valued at around GBP
5.3 billion have fallen by a further 5 percent on both the London and
Prague stock exchanges since the stock exchanges opened on Wednesday,
according to iHNed.cz.
The issue was put under the spotlight after major web browsers Mozilla, Opera and Google removed Avast and AVG extensions because they were suspected of collecting user data and sending it on to Avast servers.
Avast says in its defence that users were able to unsubscribe from the data sending function and reassured that personal information including names, email addresses and contact details are not harvested.
Prague’s Na Bulovce Hospital announced on Wednesday that it has taken in
a female patient who is being tested for the presence of 2019-nCoV, also
known as the Wuhan coronavirus, which has killed over 100 people in China.
The hospital, which has been selected as a treating and testing facility
for the outbreak also took in six patients yesterday. However, their tests
all proved negative for the presence of the virus.
Hygienists at the hospital are in constant contact with Prague Airport, where screenings are in place and the capital’s ambulance operators. Thus far no one has tested positive for the coronavirus in the Czech Republic.
The government’s human rights commissioner, Helena Válková, has filed a
criminal complaint of defamation over an article that linked her to
notorious Communist prosecutor Josef Urválek, Deník N reported. The
former justice minister says that she was not involved in the harassment of
dissidents, as the Info.cz website wrote. She is also demanding an apology
from historian Petr Blažek, who was quoted in the piece in question.
President Miloš Zeman withdrew his nomination of Ms. Válková for the post of ombudsman after the article was published. She rejected calls to quit as human rights commissioner.
The Prague authorities have ordered an archaeological probe of a mass grave
in order to identify the precise location of the remains of Zdena
Mašínová, who was the wife of war hero Josef Mašín and the mother of
Ctirad and Josef Mašín, who escaped to the West in 1953. The Communist
authorities dumped her body in a mass grave at the Ďáblice cemetery
following her death in prison in 1956.
Last year Prague’s leaders agreed with her daughter, also called Zdena Mašínová, to exhume her remains. Councillor Milena Johnová said on Tuesday that according to period witnesses the body had been placed relatively close to the surface in a mass grave of children.
The Ďáblice graveyard contains the remains of around 14,000 people, including political prisoners, children born in prison and the victims of suicide.
Archaeologists unearth seven graves dating back to Great Moravian Empire
Czech biochemist involved in developing potential coronavirus treatment
“Einstein in Bohemia” – Part II: how alienation in ‘half-barbaric’ Prague led him to a new theory of gravity, eventual love of a free Czechoslovakia
“Einstein in Bohemia” – part 1: how a Prague sojourn sparked his theory of general relativity, journey of self-discovery
Valentine’s Day 1945 - When the Americans bombed Prague