Just two months after a strict smoking ban came into effect in pubs and restaurants around the Czech Republic smokers are getting acquainted with a novel product on the market –heat-not-burn tobacco products which are said to be less detrimental to health and which might allow them to “smoke” in public places once again. The Czech authorities have yet to set the norms for these products which are something between a classic and electronic cigarette.
The Czech Republic could become the dustbin of Europe with regard to sub-quality foodstuffs brought into the country without the help of the European Union, the Czech Secretary of State for European Affairs, Aleš Chmelař, commented on Friday. Chmelař added that only the EU could take a position on whether cross border discrimination existed or not. The issue of lower quality foodstuffs being sold in Central Europe was taken up by the V4 grouping of countries last week at a meeting in Budapest. Chmelař said that Visegrad leaders would address the issue again in September and hoped to see progress being made.
A team Prague’s Czech Technical University have beaten 54 teams from around the world to win a Microsoft sponsored competition aimed at encouraging teamwork and technology. The winning Czech entry focused on a mobile phone application which allows children with diabetes to easily check their blood insulin levels so that they avoid the risk of seizures. The winning team in the Imagine Cup wins 250,000 US dollars.
Double standards in food products, sold by multinational companies across the EU, have long been a sticking point not only for the Czech Republic but also other countries in the Visegrad 4. Over the years, studies found that products sold by multinationals under identical brand names differed considerably, which Czechs and others say is unethical. Now, the ground has begun to shift.
A test of 21 products sold in different European states conducted by scientists in Prague has found that despite all having similar packaging only three had the same composition. The research comes against a backdrop of widespread perceptions that multinational companies deliver inferior products, in particular foods, to consumers in the former Eastern Bloc.
A survey of food samples in five countries, including the Czech Republic, have shown wide differences in the same products sold by manufacturers. Out of 21 products tested in Austria, Germany, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Hungary, only three were the same. In 13 cases there were wide differences in the same product sold in the different countries and in five cases minor differences. In one case the fish content of fish fingers was 63.8 percent in Germany and Austria but just 50.2 percent in the Czech Republic. The active ingredients of washing power sold in Germany and Austria was much higher than other countries. The Czech minister of agriculture has said the problem of different quality foods sold as the same needs to be tackled at a European level.
Czech breweries are no longer doing good business just exporting the country’s famous golden brew –they are exporting Czech beer culture and tank pubs are becoming a hit across Europe. The news site idnes.cz created a map of emerging Czech style tank pubs and Great Britain definitely comes out top of the pile.
Farmers are warning that an ongoing drought in the Czech Republic could be the worst in the last three years. In spite of occasional storms, the ground is not absorbing rainwater. This has led to South Moravia and large parts of Bohemia looking as parched as the Mediterranean. The government is considering mapping drainage systems across the country with the idea of converting them so that they can retain water locally when needed.
A team at the Brno-based Global Change Research Institute is offering daily updates on the drought situation in the Czech Republic online. The institute specialising in climate change, part of the Czech Academy of Sciences, has established a seven scale drought ranking with detailed maps offering a picture of the situation nationwide as well as in individual districts. The map is likely to be crucial for farmers. Last week large parts of South Bohemia and South Moravia were described as having extreme or exceptional drought conditions.
U dvou Koček, At the two Cats, is bang in the middle of Prague’s Old Town not far from Wenceslas Square. That’s been a boon in some senses but also a problem as the traditional brewery and restaurant try to juggle keeping locals and thirsty and hungry tourists with many Czechs moving out of the centre and into the suburbs. Manager Roman Pohanka explained some of the history of the that has been put together of the pub although many gaps in the chronology still remain.
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