A court in Ostrava on Friday sentenced two men to eight years in prison for selling bootleg methanol laced liquor. The court said the men sold 80 litres of alcohol containing 50 percent of methanol on the black market; one person died and four others suffered serious injuries as a result. Another 32 people face trial for producing and selling methanol-laced alcohol; the trial with the heads of the bootlegging network should start in the coming months. More than 40 people have died of methanol poisoning in the Czech Republic since last September when the crisis started.
In Business News this week: viewers get a first glimpse of the redesigned Škoda YETI; the grain and rapeseed harvests this year are a success; the number of self-employed has moved closer to one million; tourist agencies are offering clients travelling to Egypt a chance to switch destinations at the last minute; the Czech Republic is out of recession.
The first public trial connected to the methanol poisoning tragedy last year began in Ostrava on Tuesday. The defendants, Petr Hlava and Marek Ženíšek, allegedly sold over 70 bottles of alcohol with false labels last October, most of which contained a lethal amount of methylalcohol. The police claim that the two men did so knowingly and could have caused hundreds of fatalities. In the end, one man died and six others were hospitalized and some will suffer long-term health problems as a result of ingesting the toxic drink. The man who died was the 31st victim of the so-called methanol affair, during which 47 people died as a result of drinking hard liqueur containing lethal amounts of methanol.
A new large farmers’ shop is to open in Prague’s Vodičkova street on Wednesday, according to David Kukla founder of the Association of Czech farmers’ shops. Mr. Kukla also unveiled plans to open the first two farmers’ supermarkets in the country next year. They should be located in Prague and Brno within selected shopping malls and be approximately 300-400 square meters in size. According to David Kukla open air farmers’ markets are over their zenith and only those with a good location and wide selection of goods will survive.
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.
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