The aristocrat Franz Ulrich Kinsky has failed in a bid to gain ownership of the Kinsky Palace, one of the most impressive buildings on Prague's Old Town Square. On Tuesday a Prague court ruled that the palace, which houses part of the Czech National Gallery, belongs to the state. Mr Kinsky, a descendant of the Kinsky noble family, has filed over 150 lawsuits seeking the restitution of property he says belongs to him. Most of the property was confiscated after 1945 from Mr Kinsky's late father, an alleged Nazi sympathiser who died before the war.
The Czech Business Inspectorate has begun taking action against touts selling tickets to the World Ice Hockey Championships in Prague and Ostrava. Selling tickets at inflated prices is in breach of the law on consumer protection. The Business Inspectorate and the police uncovered several cases of tickets being sold at more than face value outside Prague's Sazka Arena on Tuesday. Punishments range from spot fines of 5,000 crowns for minor infringements to fines of up to a million crowns in cases of large-scale organised touting.
President Vaclav Klaus has signed an amendment to the copyright law allowing fake brand clothing confiscated by the police to be given to charities. Once the law comes into effect on May 1, the state will no longer be obliged to destroy all clothing and shoes bearing fake trademarks. However, all such trademarks will have to be removed before the goods can be given to children's homes and other social services. From September to December last year almost 500 million crowns worth of counterfeit brand clothing was confiscated.
While food prices are like to rise after the Czech Republic joins the European Union on Saturday, the increases will be slight and gradual, the minister of agriculture, Jaroslav Palas, said on Tuesday. The minister said there were large differences in food prices among existing EU states, and that prices reflected citizens' purchasing power.
The opposition Civic Democrats have significantly more public support than the other parties in parliament, according to a poll by the STEM agency released on Tuesday. Some 35 percent of those polled said they would vote for the Civic Democrats, ahead of the Communists with 19 percent and the governing Social Democrats with almost 17 percent.
Meanwhile, a draw has been held by the State Electoral Commission to determine ballot sheet numbers for the parties registered to take part in the Czech Republic's first ever elections to the European Parliament in June. The Social Democrats number on ballots will be four, while the Civic Democrats drew six. Fugitive businessman Viktor Kozeny - who recently founded the Civic Federal Democrats - said on Tuesday it was strange that the two main parties had received such low numbers, whereas those who threatened what he called the political oligarchy came at the bottom of the list.
Wednesday is expected to see sunny spells around the Czech Republic, with some rain showers in places. The maximum temperature should be 23 degrees Celsius.
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