The Czech explosives manufacturer Explosia has decided not to sue Madonna for breach of its Semtex trademark. The company had considered taking the pop star to court after she began using the name Semtex Girls Ltd in the UK without asking its permission. The plastic explosive gained notoriety for its frequent use by terror groups such as the IRA.
A Budapest-based NGO is planning a court challenge to the use of caged beds in mental hospitals and other institutions in the Czech Republic, the internet news site Aktualne.cz reported. A spokesperson for the Mental Disability Advocacy Centre said it was looking into specific cases to be used as the basis for legal action against the Czech state. Aktualne says hundreds of patients are restrained in caged beds in the Czech Republic.
Plans to remove a pig farm from the site of a world war two concentration camp for Romanies have ground to a halt, Lidove noviny reported on Tuesday. Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek had pledged to provide money to buy out the pig farm at Lety in south Bohemia, but talks between the government and its owners have collapsed. Mr Paroubek now says it will be an issue for the next government, the paper said. A spokesperson for a Romany group said the stalemate proved the government's promises had been intended for an overseas audience.
The owners of apartment buildings can sue the state over losses they have suffered because rents are regulated, under a ruling by the Constitutional Court on Tuesday. Judge Ivana Janu said the state was responsible for the losses because parliament had failed to act on the issue for several years. Owners argue rents are so low they can neither maintain their buildings nor make a profit. Paradoxically, deregulation was approved last month, with rents set to rise 14 percent a year between 2007 and 2010.
The education and foreign ministries have proposed that the Czech Republic become a member of the European Southern Observatory (ESO) by next year. In plans presented to the government, the Foreign Ministry states it has managed to collect six of the around 8 million euros needed to become a member of this prestigious intergovernmental organisation for astronomical research. The ESO which has its headquarters in Germany's Garching and operates observatories in Chile, currently has eleven member countries.
The Czech financial daily Hospodarske Noviny has reported that in 2005 Czech companies acquired a record number of foreign firms outside the Czech Republic - a total of twenty-five - up from eight the previous year. The news is based on a new study by PricewaterhouseCoopers consulting. The largest Czech firm to acquire control in foreign companies last year was the energy giant CEZ, investing largely in the Balkans, followed by Zentiva pharmaceuticals, and Agrofert chemical group. The largest number of acquisitions came in neighbouring Slovakia. In total, Czech firms spent 700 million US dollars to buy into the foreign companies.
Agriculture Minister Jan Mladek says plans are underway to limit imports of chicken from EU countries with confirmed cases of bird flu. Speaking to journalists on Monday, Mr Mladek said the Czech Republic expects to receive permission from the European Commission within the next month. The consumption of chicken has not dropped in the Czech Republic, despite several confirmed cases of bird flu. Suppliers of chicken meat in some EU countries, which are witnessing a decrease in consumption, have been selling their products in the Czech Republic at dumping prices. By limiting imports from abroad Mr Mladek hopes to aid local producers, who say their profits have suffered from the foreign competition's low prices.
President Vaclav Klaus has signed a law on construction that will help facilitate and speed up numerous building projects in the Czech Republic. Current law requires that a building permit is obtained before a garage is built, a flat is renovated, or a family house (that does not exceed 150 square metres and three floors) is put up. As of January 1 2007, those planning to undertake such types of construction work will only have to put forward a notice.
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