Czech student gets life imprisonment for murder of compatriot

A 28-year old Czech national has been sentenced to life imprisonment by for the murder of a compatriot, a 24-year-old woman, in Uppsala, Sweden last year. The court in Uppsala found the accused guilty of murder with intent. Both the guilty party and the victim were students in Sweden on an exchange programme; the suspect was only picked up only later in the Netherlands, then extradited to Sweden last December. At the moment it is unclear whether the accused will appeal the decision; he has until later this month to do so.

Defence Minister "satisfied" with Gripen contracts to be presented to cabinet

The Czech Defence Minister Miroslav Kostelka has said he is satisfied with the details of two contracts outlining the terms for the Czech Republic's lease of 14 JAS-39 Gripen fighter jets from Sweden. The cabinet is due to get copies of the contract on Wednesday. The defence minister said that final debate on the contracts would round up by next week, making the documents' signing a matter of days. The defence minister told journalists on Tuesday the lease would cost the Czech Republic around one billion crowns less than originally proposed - some 19 billion in all. The first contract outlines specifics of the ten-year lease, while the second covers offset programmes.

Czech anti-trust body fines fuel distributors for price-fixing

The Czech anti-monopoly office has fined six fuel distributors a total of 313 million crowns (almost 10 million euro or just over 12 million dollars) for operating a petrol price cartel, its chairman Josef Bednar said on Tuesday. Agip, ConocoPhillips, Aral, OMV, Shell and Benzina were fined for agreeing to fix the price of the best-selling Natural 95, an unleaded 95 octane petrol, between May and November 2001. It is the highest fine issued by the office to date. According to Mr Bednar the estimated profit from the higher margin was worth several hundred million crowns.

The six companies, which account for almost one third of the country's petrol stations, have appealed the ruling and can now ask the regional court in Brno to review the case.

British firm Invensys to employ addtional 200 in Sternberk by Olomouc

The British electro-technical company Invensys has decided on a further investment of several hundred million crowns in its facility for producing parts for electric home appliances in Sternberk by Olomouc. The decision, according to the company, will lead to the creation of 200 new jobs. Currently the company already employs over 350 in the area, having already invested almost 500 million crowns.

Two sentenced for killing of homeless man

Two young Czech men, aged 20 and 18, have received sentences of six and three-and-a-half years respectively, for the brutal murder of a 55-year-old homeless man in Brno last year. The duo is said to have attacked the man as he lay sleeping at a bus stop, first beating him severely, and then setting his clothes alight. Both of the accused have appealed the verdicts.

National football side rounds up pre-Euro training camp

The Czech Republic's national football side wrapped-up its pre-European Championship training camp in Austria's Seefeld on Tuesday with a fully fit squad and some unease over a new ball to be used in the tournament. Coach Karel Bruckner told journalists the team had "taken relief" from the physical and psychological burden of the season, but expressed some worry over the tournament's official ball, the so-called "Roteiro"; the Czech coach said the ball was "almost impossible to play in passing behind the defence line".

The Czechs now face Bulgaria in a friendly on Wednesday, which will determine the final balance of the 23-man squad. The Czechs start in Euro 2004's Group D in fifteen days' time alongside Germany, the Netherlands and Latvia.

Olympic nominees

Seventy-three days ahead of Athens' summer Olympic Games some 103 Czech athletes are preparing to go. 59 have already been assured definite places in the Games, with the remainder to be decided by July 7th. Individual disciplines involving the most Czech athletes include athletics and basketball.


Wednesday is expected to see light drizzle with daytime temperatures between 14 and 18 degrees Celsius.