News of Radio Prague

Government approves purchase of 24 Gripen fighter planes

The government has approved a contract to buy 24 Gripen fighter planes from a consortium of BAE-Systems and Saab, Defence Minister Jaroslav Tvrdik said on Monday. The planes would be delivered in 2004 and replace the Czech airforce's aging fleet of Soviet-made MiG fighter jets. The planes are due to cost a total of 60 billion crowns, or 1.7 million US dollars. The contract includes an offset programme, under which the British-Swedish consortium would invest 150% of that amount in the Czech Republic. The government was meeting in the west Bohemian city of Plzen, one of a number of such meetings being held ahead of June's general elections.

Romanies confirm Slovak Romanies bought false passports in Ostrava

Romany leaders in the north Moravian city of Ostrava have confirmed that Slovak Romanies bought false Czech passports in the city. A Slovak daily reported on Monday that Slovak Romanies were using the false passports to get into the United Kingdom and Ireland. Unlike Czech citizens, Slovaks need a visa to enter the two countries. The chairman of the Democratic Centre of Romanies Josef Facuna said the Slovak Romanies had bought the fake Czech passports for between two and five hundred dollars.

Two get jail sentences for racist attack on Taiwanese student

Two men have been sent to prison for a racially-motivated attack on a student from Taiwan in the centre of Prague last May. Jan Mikulec, 23, received a three year sentence while his accomplice 24-year-old Pavel Hutnik got three and a half years. Earlier the same evening Hutnik had hit and racially abused two Algerians men. After Monday's judgement the Taiwanese victim of the attack filed a civil suit against his assailants - he is seeking 20,000 US dollars in damages.

Supreme state attorney files charges in Chvalovsky fraud case

The supreme state attorney filed charges with the Prague City Court against the former head of the Czech football association on Monday. Frantisek Chvalovsky is accused, along with five others, of credit fraud of one and a half billion crowns. Mr Chvalovsky was held in custody for almost 10 months last year before being released on bail of 15 million crowns at the end of December.

Thieves destroy rare copper dome in Znojmo church for scrap metal

A rare 18th century copper dome was destroyed during a robbery at a church in Znojmo, south Moravia at the weekend, a spokesman said on Monday. Police have arrested two men in their late 40s - they are accused of stealing the copper with the intention of selling it to a scrapyard.

Tuesday's weather

And finally a look at the weather forecast. Tuesday should be cloudy with rain in places. Temperatures are expected to range between 12 and 16 degrees Celsius.