Chinese consumers have recently been enticed to purchase electric bicycles by the Czech President Václav Klaus, who appeared on billboards in the Chinese city of Ningbo. The ad, spotted by a Czech reader of the news website iDnes.cz, shows the Czech president happily riding an electric bicycle. The picture was apparently taken two years ago when President Klaus was given an electric bike by the Czech branch of the Chinese producer and decided to try it out. The Czech president had sent a signed photograph of the test run to the Chinese company, which it used for its latest ad campaign. The office of the president said on Tuesday that he knew nothing about the billboards and was not asked for consent to use his picture.
With the fall of communism, it was not long before foreign investors began taking an interest in Czechoslovakia. This ranged from huge industrial multinationals to young college graduates, who arrived in Prague with backpacks in the early 1990s, and happened to spot a business opportunity. Many burned their fingers; some made a quick buck and disappeared, and others settled down and stayed here for good. In 1991, Radio Prague interviewed a few of these pioneering investors.
Slovakia and Poland have lifted their ban on the import and sale of Czech spirits. Slovak Agriculture Minister Lubomír Jahnátek said on Tuesday that all Czech spirits imported to the country would have to have certificates of origin and a clearly marked date of production. He said Slovakia would recognize certificates issued in the Czech Republic. Special measures will apply to spirits produced between January and September this year which is considered high-risk. Poland is taking similar measures. Czech liquor producers recently protested against the ban arguing that their certified products were unquestionably safe.
In Business News this week: Czech energy giant ČEZ excludes Areva from Temelín tender; EU stress tests reveal potential safety risks at Czech nuclear plants; largest Czech forestry firm goes bankrupt; Czechs continue to spend less on consumer goods; and truck maker Avia plans to expand to US market.
Last weekend saw the third annual For Toys fair held at Prague’s Letňany featuring children’s products. One of the focuses was highlighting creative and safe toys, from simple building block systems for toddlers to more complex games for kids. Teens also were included with the very latest in electronic consoles and interactive games.
The prime minister has promised to introduce stricter control over methanol imports to the Czech Republic and has said the government would consider levying a higher tax on it. Methanol is not produced in the country and is only imported for industrial use. Prime Minister Necas said that moreover there was a suitable locally-made substitute for it. Investigators confirmed on Tuesday that the methanol which was mixed into bootleg liquor was imported.
Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek announced on Monday that the ministry is prepared to change or delay tax advances for alcohol producers who have been negatively affected by the ban on hard liquor. A ban on the sale of alcohol with 20 or more percent alcohol content was instituted on 14 September, and a ban on exports six days later. The government is currently preparing necessary measures to allow newly produced alcohol to enter onto the market again.
Russia on Friday became the third country – after Poland and Slovakia – which banned imports of Czech spirits. The move came a day after the Czech government halted all exports of Czech-made and Czech-bottled beverages with higher than 20 percent volume of alcohol. The Interfax news agency quoted Russia’s chief hygiene officer, Gennady Onischenko, as saying that in their experience, whenever goods are banned in Europe, they inevitably find their way to Russia.
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