Prague’s Municipal Court sentenced a 59-year-old man (charged with killing his ex-wife using methanol he poured into a bottle of vodka) to 11 years in prison on Friday. Although the couple were divorced, they lived in the same home. The suspect claimed he never intended to hurt anyone but had mixed in the methanol out of curiosity. The prosecution maintained he committed the murder, which took place in March, hoping it would be linked to methanol poisoning which claimed more than 40 lives in the Czech Republic last year. The suspect has appealed the decision.
The police in Zlín have concluded an investigation into a methanol poisoning case dating back to September 2012. Bootleg liquor containing the deadly chemical methanol claimed the lives of 47 people. Thirty-one suspects in the region have been charged, seven of whom face charges of having endangered the public, a crime which carries a 20-year sentence. The police believe three people were behind the production of bootleg liquor: a man who produced the deadly mix and his accomplice, both of whom were based in central Bohemia, and the main distributor who operated from Zlín. In total, more than 70 people are charged in the case.
According to the annual report by the Czech National Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, problems with alcohol abuse are growing among Czechs. Approximately one in twelve people have a problem with alcohol. Some 160 thousand adults have at least five glasses of alcohol a day. The monitoring center estimates that around 600,000 people in this country may be alcoholics. The use of illegal drugs last year was highest in the past decade, with three quarters of them using methamphetamines. Although cannabis remains the most commonly used illegal drug in the Czech Republic, the number of regular users is decreasing. The number of heroin users has decreased by more than half in the past ten years.
The first ever nationwide collection of food, held in 111 shops and supermarkets across the Czech Republic on Saturday, was a success, organizers said. In some stores, up to 700 kilos of durable foodstuffs were donated, according to Pavlína Kalousová from the group Business for Society which organized the collection. Shoppers were encouraged to donate some of the food they just bought; the donations will be handed to homeless shelters, retirement homes and families in financial crisis. The total amount of donated food will be released later on Sunday.
A nationwide collection of food for the poor started in 111 shops and supermarkets across the country at 8 AM on Saturday. In the first such event to be held in the Czech Republic, shoppers are encouraged to buy foodstuffs and donate them to a food bank which will hand the food out to homeless shelters, retirement homes and families in financial crisis, the organizers said. The collection will conclude at 8 PM. Around 10 percent of the Czech population is under the poverty line but another 1.7 million people are threatened by poverty.
On Saturday Czechs around the country will be encouraged to take part in the first-ever nation-wide collection of food for the poor. The event, co-organized by the Czech Federation of Food Banks and Business for Society, a platform that encourages cooperation between the corporate and non-profit sectors, comes in response to the growing number of people in need.
Thousands of people attended the launch of Saint Martin’s wine in Brno on Monday where the first wine of the season was blessed by a priest on the city’s central square. In a revived marketing campaign, Czech winemakers offer new wines on November 11, the day of Saint Martin. Events featuring Saint Martin’s wine take place across the Czech Republic on Monday; in Prague, festivities are held in Náměstí Jiřího z Poděbrad and other places. Last year, some 2.2 million bottles of the wine were sold.
Czech farmers this year harvested just over 637,000 tonnes of potatoes, the lowest yield since the 1920s, the Czech Association of Potato Growers said on Friday. In the 1990s, annual potato harvest exceeded two million tonnes. The historically lowest harvest is attributed to a long-term decrease in the cultivation area which diminished by nearly 11 percent between 2011 and 2012. Farmers now receive between six and seven crowns for one kilo of potatoes while their retail price is about double.
In Business News this week: Confidence in the economy is up, not least in manufacturing and the automotive industry; the online giant Amazon will open two major warehouses in the Czech Republic, bringing up to 10,000 new jobs; controls reveal problems with imported poultry; Czech engineers will build a new brewery in Ethiopia; internet sales up by 15 percent year-on-year.
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