There is mounting speculation regarding the possible dismissal of Culture Minister Alena Hanáková who has come under fire for incompetence. The ruling TOP 09 party which appointed her to the post on Thursday met to discuss the situation. The party has come under pressure from its coalition partners who clearly consider Ms. Hanáková a weak link in the cabinet. The culture minister says no one has approached her on the matter but according to well-informed sources cited by Czech Television her party has already approached the head of the Prague Music Academy Ivo Mathe with an offer for him to take over the ministry of culture.
From March 1, the on-farm slaughter of crocodiles – and the processing of crocodile meat for sale to consumers – will be allowed in the Czech Republic. The Agriculture Ministry approved the regulation change following consultation with Brussels when it became apparent that a crocodile farm in southern Moravia housing more than 200 specimens had no legal way of culling its crocs.
The Czech Agriculture and Food Inspection Authority secured 320 litres of spirits lacking proper documentation at an illegal warehouse in Karlovy Vary, blocking distribution to retailers. Police and customs officials helped in the operation. According to an official, the lack of documentation as well as packs of unused labels (belonging to producer Likérka Drak), suggest illegal alcohol production. Samples of the spirits uncovered are being tested: the results will be known next week. Forty people in the Czech Republic died from methanol poisoning over the last six months after consuming bootleg liquor.
The president of the Czech Federation of the Food and Drink Industries, Miroslav Toman, has called on the Czech authorities to ban imports of foodstuffs from Poland unless it introduces more thorough controls. However, the Czech Ministry of Agriculture said such a move was not the order of the day. Some supermarkets removed Polish-produced biscuits from their shelves when it was found they could contain rat poison, although in sufficient quantities to harm human health. Last year, some table salt imported from Poland was also found to be contaminated.
In this week’s business news: The Czech Republic will have to build around 13 000 charging points for electric cars by 2020; The greatest number of foreign investors have decided to enter the Czech market last year since the beginning of the economic crisis; ČEZ’s distribution license in Albania has been revokes by the government there; Czech government debt is the eighth lowest in the whole of the EU; Budvar was unable to stop rival Anheuser-Busch from having the right to register the ‘Bud’ trademark in Europe.
The Luxembourg-based General Court of the European Union, has rejected an appeal by the Czech brewer Budějovický Budvar against the use of the trademark Bud by the international beer giant Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, the maker of Budweiser. In a statement on Tuesday, the EU’s second highest court said Anheuser-Busch InBev NV could register the trademark Bud because of its insignificant use in France and Austria. The decision is the latest development in a legal battle that has been running in several territories for many years.
A 17-year-old girl is fighting for her life in a hospital in the region of Ústí after suffering methanol poisoning. She was transferred to hospital on Sunday. The cause of the poisoning has not yet been determined; the police are interviewing witnesses while a toxicology report on Tuesday is expected to reveal more. Forty people in the Czech Republic died of methanol poisoning following an outbreak last September after the chemical was used in illegal alcohol production by bootleggers.
Polish authorities have confirmed that Czech-made bootleg liquor laced with large amounts of methanol was behind the deaths of three Polish people living close to the common border. The tragedy occurred on Christmas day when three members of a Polish family, mother, son and daughter, drank liquor from a bottle that they’d previously bought in the Czech Republic. The highly publicized scam, in which bootleggers used the deadly methanol in place of ethanol to save money, has claimed 39 lives in the Czech Republic. 70 people have been charged in connection with the case.
Czech retail sales dropped by 1.8 percent year on year in November after a 2.2 percent growth seen in October, according to data released by the Czech Statistical Office on Friday. The fall is ascribed to lower car sales and lower sales of household equipment. Food sales continued to drop both in specialised and non-specialised stores and after thirteen months of continual growth sales of clothing and footwear also dipped slightly. Seasonally adjusted sales decreased by 0.6 percent in real terms against October.
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