Speaking at a press conference on Friday Finance Minister Bohuslav Sobotka suggested that a recent agreement on the raising of regulated rents in the Czech Republic may still be subject to change. Recently all three government parties - the senior Social Democrats and junior partners the Christian Democrats, and the Freedom Union, agreed on a three-stage rent increase of up to 10 percent. That solution, supposedly acceptable till now - may now be in doubt thanks to other increases planned in the government's second wave of public finance reforms. Reforms include a rise in the VAT on some goods and services, as well as a rise in the water rate. Mr Sobotka said on Friday that previously the Finance Ministry and the Ministry for Regional Development had not signed a formal agreement - presumably leaving space for re-negotiations. Mr Sobotka did stress some kind of agreement had to be reached, suggesting the proposed three-stage rent rise might peak at something less than ten percent.
The Japanese Supreme Court has recognised Czech brewer Budejovicky Budvar's right to use the 'Budweiser' label in Japan, a trademark that had been disputed by U.S. brewing giant Anheuser-Busch. In the year 2000 the U.S. brewer - contesting Budejovicky Budvar's right to the Budweiser name - tried to prevent the sale of the original Czech lager on the Japanese market. But, three courts - now including Japan's Supreme Court - have ruled in the Czechs' favour. On Friday Budvar's chief executive Jiri Bocek explained that Anheuser-Busch could not appeal the verdict. Budejovicky Budvar and U.S. brewer Anheuser-Busch remain in dispute over the Budweiser name in more than 40 other cases. Last year saw courts in South Korea, Lithunia, and Finland, rule in the Czech brewery's favour.
A 25-year-old suspect charged with brutally attacking the editor of the Czech weekly Respekt, Tomas Nemecek, in January, has been released with trial pending, after a Prague court rejected the state attorney's request on Friday that the suspect be remanded in custody, for fear he might try and influence witnesses. Reacting to the court's decision one investigator on the case said the release could complicate the investigation, given one of the perpetrators in the attack remains at large. The 25-year-old suspect currently facing trial has denied any wrong-doing. The January assault left Respekt editor Tomas Nemecek with cuts, a mild concussion, and a week's stay in hospital.
Two extortionists, 24-year-old Jakub Ziguska and 24-year-old Pavel Steidl received six-year prison terms on Friday from a local court in Liberec, north of Prague. The two men had been found guilty of trying to extort 10 million crowns form police last June, warning if their demands weren't met they would poison local drinking water. Both men were captured by police when they tried to pick-up "packages" with money at a pre-arranged drop-off point. The judge presiding over the two men's cases said on Friday she had taken into consideration the seriousness of the men's threat but also their youth and certain naivite. The guilty duo could have received far stiffer sentences of up to 15 years.
A burst main on Friday left the two-thirds of the town of Hradec Kralove, including a local hospital, without drinking water on Friday. The incident took place in the morning with the effects felt for an hour before drinking water was restored. Hradec Kralove has a population of 100, 000. Escaped water in the incident flooded part of a street, over a 300 metre wide area.
The Czech Republic has taken a 1-0 lead over Spain in first round play at the Davis Cup, thanks to a win by Czech Jiri Novak over Rafael Nadal. Novak downed the Spaniard in three sets, two of which had to be decided by tie-breaks. The final score 7-6, 6-3, 7-6. Friday will also see a match-up between the Czechs' Radek Stepanek Vs. Tommy Robredo.
Saturday is expected to be sunny with daytime temperatures of 12 degrees Celsius.
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