Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla has commented on President Vaclav Klaus' veto of a bill proposing an increase in value added tax, saying the step was an act of a party leader rather than one of the president. President Vaclav Klaus returned the VAT-hike bill to the lower house of parliament for further debate on Friday. The tax increase would see VAT on some services rise from 5 percent to 22 percent and is intended to bring an extra 11 billion crowns into the state coffers. Vaclav Klaus was elected President in February this year, having stepped down as head of the opposition right-of-centre Civic Democratic Party in October last year after twelve years in the post.
Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla has not yet disclosed the name of the person who is to replace the outgoing Justice Minister Pavel Rychetsky, although he originally promised to announce the name on Saturday. Speaking to journalists on board a plane flying from Texas to Florida on Saturday, Mr Spidla said that he could not reach the candidate over the phone to find out whether he will accept the post. Prime Minister Spidla' six-day trip to the United States ends on Sunday.
The Ceska sporitelna savings bank says there are still around 10 billion crowns deposited in the so-called "anonymous accounts". New legislation prohibits anonymous accounts - savings accounts that could be handled without providing personal data - as they could easily be misused for money-laundering purposes. On January 1, 2003, Ceska sporitelna froze the accounts but clients can still withdraw their savings or move them to other types of accounts. Before the change in legislation, the bank was administering some 6.5 million anonymous accounts worth 120 billion crowns.
Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda, who is accompanying Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla on his US trip, has said the draft of the Czech Republic's new security strategy, which will be discussed by the government on Monday, will insist less on the role of international organisations, including the United Nations, in the solution of international conflict. Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla voiced a similar view in his speech delivered at Rice University in Houston, Texas on Thursday. Mr Spidla said that when consensus on international problems was sought, NATO was much more flexible.
The world's largest brewer Anheuser-Busch is interested in buying the Czech beer maker Budejovicky Budvar, the German weekly Fokus wrote on Sunday giving no further details. The US giant and the Czech state-owned brewer have been engaged in a lengthy battle over the well-established trademark Budweiser. Budejovicky Budvar is exporting its premium lager to sixty countries around the world. In the United States and Canada, it is sold under the trademark Czechvar. The Czech Republic's Finance Ministry recently put Budvar on the list of companies to be privatised soon. The Agriculture Ministry and a number of regional politicians are against the move.
Monday is going to be another tropical day, with temperatures ranging from 30 to 34 degrees Celsius. In the mountains, daytime temperatures should reach 26 degrees Celsius.
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