This week in Business News: Consumer prices dropped in June, along with inflation rate; Study shows that many key sectors still have very few women in management; Construction and industrial output down in June; New tougher regulations on alcohol distribution go through lower house; Businesses would mostly welcome early elections in hopes of a more stable political and economic situation.
In Business News this week: the agriculture minister stops contracts worth a half billion crowns a study maps the role of foreign investors in domestic companies; truck manufacturer Tatra clinches an important contract in the Middle East; the national bank confirms a drop in the number of counterfeit banknotes and coins seized; a Czech insurance company maps how long it takes for an unattended bike to be stolen on the street.
The Czech Republic has placed in the top quarter of the 107 countries included in The Economist’s Global Food Security Index for 2013. The country placed 23rd with 72.2 out of 100 points, having been ranked according to three categories –affordability, availability and quality and safety of food. In the overall rating, the United States was in first place, while the Czech Republic’s neighbor Germany was in 12th, Austria in 15th and Poland in 27th place. In the individual categories, the quality and availability of food in the Czech Republic put the country in 26th place.
A group of students from an Ostrava high school represented the Czech Republic at the Young Enterprise Europe competition in London this week with their BeerBox vending machine. The student company Frex won in the Czech Republic’s nation-wide Junior Achievement - Young Enterprise competition earlier this year with the first automatic machine selling beer on tap. Working with the standard idea of a soft-drinks or instant coffee vending machines, the students worked out the technical parameters and a prototype of a two-meter tall box that fits two 50-liter kegs of beer or a soft drink and technology that can fill a half-liter cup in less than a minute. Although Frex did not win one of the top three prizes at the European competition, the students, who will be entering their last year of high school in September, plan to continue with their venture and offer the BeerBox to musical festivals and other places.
In this week’s Business News: The minimum wage will rise in August; Food prices in 2012 grew by a larger margin than in any other EU country; Czech Airlines has withdrawn from its contract with the unions; Fuel prices around the Czech Republic have gone up again; Škoda has signed an almost 1 billion crown contract to deliver trams to Bratislava.
A 63-year-old man died of methanol poisoning in a hospital in Kladno on Tuesday, a spokeswoman for the hospital has said. The man was admitted to hospital after he collapsed on Friday. The police believe the man probably became another victim of the methanol crisis which hit the Czech Republic last year when over 40 died after drinking tainted liquor.
Agriculture Minister Miroslav Toman on Wednesday denied reports of a massive debt incurred by his family firm, Agrotrade. The weekly Respekt reported that the firm got hundreds of millions of crowns in credit from banks, and later transferred its assets to another company, leaving Agrotrade some 600 million crowns in the red. However, Mr Toman said he was stationed abroad at that time, and never served on the company’s board. The firm said it would sue the magazine for an apology and damages.
The authorities have discovered antibiotics in a shipment of Polish chicken meat, a spokesman for the Czech Veterinary Administration said. In total, 1,200 kg of tainted meat has been ordered off the shelves. The authorities said most of the meat had already been distributed to shops in eastern Bohemia.
Following a recent food safety scandal in Poland dubbed the “Antibiotic Affair” and a similar revelation in neighbouring Slovakia, where traces of antibiotics were uncovered in animal farming, the Czech authorities last week launched tests on imported poultry. The inspection team tested an overall 61 samples – luckily all were found to be negative.
The hype over Western supermarkets of the 1990s started fading for Czechs sometime in the early noughties. As healthy eating became more of a priority for some Czech city dwellers, small organic food shops began cropping up in most cities. Organic was all the rage. Yet, many of the products sold in organic food shops were not locally grown, leaving a gap on the market for small and medium Czech farmers to fill.
Language exams for foreigners seeking permanent residency permit to become tougher
Czech teenager builds second-largest ever Millennium Falcon LEGO model
Gunman kills six patients in Ostrava hospital, two more fighting for their lives
HN: Developers aiming to sell co-living concept in Prague
Press: Era of 100-crown lunch special is over, as food prices rocket