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Czech Republic Alcohol Ban: PM Wants Sales Of Spirits Resumed

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PRAGUE — The Czech prime minister says any new hard liquor produced in the country needs to have a detailed certificate of origin – a move that comes after at least 23 people who drank bootleg booze tainted with methanol died.

In response to the deaths, the government banned the sale of spirits with more than 20 percent alcohol content. But that ban has been criticized by many, including President Vaclav Klaus.

Prime Minister Petr Necas said Wednesday the new measure will help liquor sales resume. Under his proposal, the new liquor would have a certificate showing its origin, production and distribution details. Liquors would also have new stamps and the sales would be licensed.

In neighboring Poland, inspectors have seized 120,000 bottles of imported Czech alcohol and have submitted samples for laboratory tests, according to Jan Bodnar, a sanitary inspection spokesman.

Sales of Czech alcohol, except wine and beer, have been suspended in all of Poland after two people died and two went blind after drinking tainted alcohol from an unlicensed source.

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