08-03-2001

The lifting of price regulations makes the main headlines in all the newspapers today. LIDOVE NOVINY writes that at first sight it looks like a courageous, revolutionary step. However, on a second reading it reveals that nothing is really going to change because of the clause which stipulates that in case of disagreement between the tenant and landlord, a usual price will be used. And what are the usual prices? The current regulated ones, LIDOVE NOVINY points out.

The paper also explains that the much needed reform has ended up this way for purely political reasons. The Socialist government is well aware of the fact that a couple of months before the general election, it must not disturb the 30 percent of all citizens who still enjoy the privilege of regulated rent.

MLADA FRONTA DNES quotes a representative of the Union of Property Owners who complains that the government proposal in fact toughens the rent regulation and he warns that owners may soon have problems repairing their houses because the regulated rent is far from able to cover the costs.

The chairman of the Union of Tenants is not satisfied either. He sees the decision merely as a price increase. In his opinion, it has nothing to do with a liberalisation of the housing market. Put simply there are not enough flats available for a real market to exist.

MLADA FRONTA DNES concludes that the law is unlikely to be passed by parliament in its current state. All the opposition parties, whether left- or right-wing, have already expressed their discontent, seeing the reform either as too weak or too radical.

On a completely different note, the business daily HOSPODARSKE NOVINY reports that the famous Czech brewery Budweiser Budvar has been looking for ways to penetrate the American market. Budvar is banned from exporting its brand to America because of trademark disputes with the world's largest brewery, Anheuser-Busch. However, Budvar has now named its export beer Czechvar, which is not in conflict with the trade barrier.

And finally, today's PRAVO writes that the unique Czech-made radar Tamara will end up in the scrap yard. Tamara was once the pride of the Czech Army - capable of detecting all aircraft including those equipped with stealth technology, whilst remaining completely undetectable. However, its producer, HTT Tesla Pardubice, went bankrupt during the 1990s as the radar proved virtually impossible to sell on the world market following the Czech Republic's accession to NATO. The defence ministry has finally crossed it off its list of strategic military material.

08-03-2001