News of Radio Prague

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Five convicted for petrol bomb attack on Roma families

A court in the eastern city of Ostrava has handed down mostly suspended sentences to five youths convicted of two petrol bomb attacks on Roma families in the town of Krnov. The oldest defendant, Libor Kubela, was sent to prison for three years, while the remaining four - who were under 18 at the time of the attack - received suspended sentences. The attacks took place in February 1996, when the five youths threw petrol bombs through the windows of two houses known to belong to Roma families. One woman was left seriously injured in hospital. The court heard how the youths - one of whom admitted to being a member of a far-right skinhead group - deliberately sought out local Roma. The youths claimed they were merely testing the petrol bombs on vacant houses.

No memory of race attacks, claim Prague youths

And two youths on trial for attacking dark-skinned foreigners in the centre of Prague have told the court they were drunk at the time of the incident and have no memory of the attack. The two men - aged 23 and 26 - were arrested and charged with assault after attacks last year on two Algerians and a Taiwanese man. They also denied being members of far-right skinhead groups, as claimed by the police anti-extremism unit. One was carrying several CDs by neo-Nazi skinhead bands when he was found.

Freedom Union, Christian Democrats to fight June election together

The opposition Freedom Union has agreed to keep alive its alliance with the Christian Democrats, despite the collapse last week of their umbrella party - the Four-Party Coalition. The leadership of the Freedom Union voted in the early hours of Wednesday morning to maintain joint election tickets with the Christian Democrats in parliamentary elections to be held in just over four months' time. The Four-Party Coalition collapsed last week following the departure of the tiny Civic Democratic Alliance, which faces bankruptcy over two large debts. The Four-Party Coalition had enjoyed a considerable lead in the opinion polls.

Budejovicky Budvar wins more trademark battles

Courts in two Scandinavian countries have handed the Czech Republic's state- owned brewery Budejovicky Budvar victories in trademark battles against the world's largest beer maker, America's Anheuser-Busch. A Budvar spokesman the rulings in Denmark and Sweden had cleared the way for the Czech company to continue selling its Budweiser brand in the two countries. The U.S. and Czech brewers have been locked in a struggle over the brand name for several years, and dozens of legal cases world-wide remain unresolved. Last year Budvar won trademark battles in Germany, Portugal and Britain. In order to prevent more legal disputes in the US and Canada it has started selling its beer there under a new brand name.

"I thought he was a fox" claims hunter who shot man

A hunter from the West Bohemian town of Plzen has been charged with grievous bodily harm after accidentally shooting a man he mistook for a fox. The hunter was standing on a railway bridge at night when he saw movement underneath him, and opened fire, hitting the man in the chest and arm. The man is now recovering in hospital. There have been a number of accidental shootings by hunters in recent years, several of which have resulted in death. Some have called for heavy restrictions on hunting, but the sport is a popular pastime for many Czech men, including a number of senior politicians.

Weather

And finally a look at the weather forecast. Wednesday night will be damp and mild, with temperatures hovering around five degrees Celsius. Thursday will be another overcast day with rain in places. Temperatures in the daytime will range from four to eight degrees Celsius.