There has been a sharp increase in the number of counterfeit brand-name goods seized in the Czech Republic. In the first half of this year the Czech Business Inspectorate confiscated over 600,000 counterfeit items, around the same figure for the whole of 2005, the Pravo newspaper reported on Monday. The most common fake goods are clothing, footwear, cigarettes, alcohol, CDs and DVDs. Experts say that while in the past most counterfeit goods were imported from East Asia, production in illegal factories in the Czech Republic is now on the increase.
Pharmacists in the Czech Republic are busy re-labelling drugs as a new health ministry directive that changes the pricing system comes into effect on August 1. The new regulation affects some 10,000 products; of which 6,700 are partly covered by insurers. Under the directive, health insurers will have to cover a much smaller share of medicine prices. Health Minister David Rath hopes pharmaceutical companies will be forced to lower their prices. But, according to the Czech Chamber of Pharmacists, patients will be at a disadvantage as they will have to pay up to forty percent more for their medicine.
In related news, the Civic Democratic Party, which won the parliamentary election and is in the process of forming a new government, says it would be in favour of raising the number of points drivers have to collect before they lose their license. Under the current points system, a driver loses his license with 12 collected points. The Civic Democrats, who say the system is too strict and leaves too much room for corruption, would like to raise the limit to 18 points.
A Czech soldier, who was found dead in Kosovo, most probably committed suicide. The 34-year-old military policeman was serving with the international KFOR mission. His body was discovered by a colleague at the Sajkovac military base on Sunday morning. So far, the Czech Army's investigation into the cause of his death suggests the soldier had shot himself.
The number of road deaths has decreased by half compared to last year, preliminary figures for the month of July suggest. While 52 people died in road accidents in the first 26 days of the month, there were 104 road deaths in the same period in 2005. The sharp fall is attributed to the new points system for driving offences that was introduced on July 1. Police say the number of road accidents has also dropped by 30 percent.
Around 20,000 former members of agricultural co-operatives are still waiting to be paid for their shares, Czech Television reported on Saturday. They had been due to receive the money seven years ago and have called on the government to resolve the matter. Twenty are taking the issue to the European Court of Human Rights. There were around 1,200 agricultural co-operatives in the Czech Republic.
The leaders of the two biggest Czech parties have held their first
television debate since inconclusive elections two months ago. During
Sunday's debate Mirek Topolanek of the Civic Democrats (who came first in
June's elections) called on Jiri Paroubek of the Social Democrats (who
came second) to step down as prime minister. Mr Paroubek refused, saying
President Vaclav Klaus had already rejected one offer of resignation.
The Social Democrats chief said Mr Topolanek was anxious because the period the president had given him to try to form a government was almost up. He said only negotiations between himself, the president and Mr Topolanek could resolve the crisis.
The Civic Democrats chairman has tried to form an alliance with the Christian Democrats and the Greens, but this coalition is one vote short of a majority in the Chamber of Deputies.
Interior Minister Frantisek Bublan has praised the organisation of the
CzechTek free techno music festival, which this year is being held on
land rented from the Czech Army in north Bohemia. It is being attended
by around 40,000 people from the Czech Republic and elsewhere in
Last year Mr Bublan ordered around 1,000 riot police to break up the festival, following complaints from landowners. Critics described the intervention as heavy-handed though the minister said he had no choice but to uphold the law.