News of Radio Prague

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Gripen fighter jets get green light as lower house passes key bill

The lower house has passed a key government proposal outlining the financing for the purchase of 24 Gripen fighter jets for the Czech Air Force: the cost, expected to reach almost 2 billion US dollars, will be covered by profits from the privatisation of remaining state industries. The bill still remains to be passed by the Czech senate and must also signed by President Vaclav Havel. If ratified the plan will see the first Gripen fighter jets, manufactured by the British-Swedish consortium BAS systems-SAAB, delivered in October 2004.

Final group of medical personnel has arrived in Kabul, Afghanistan

A final Czech army plane carrying members of the Czech 6th field hospital has landed in Kabul, Afghanistan, to complete a 200 member contingent there. The contingent will be serving a six month mission, during which Czech Army medical personnel will provide medical care to members of international military units in the region, as well as to local Afghan citizens. In all, thirteen flights were required to complete the transfer of crew members and almost a thousand tons of material for building the hospital and providing medicine - the six month mission is expected to cost the Czech Republic 600 million crowns.

First Lady Laura Bush to visit Czech Republic

The U.S. First Lady Laura Bush is expected to visit Prague as part of her 10-day visit to Europe this month, which will include stops in France and Hungary. It will be the first independent European state visit by the First Lady. While in Prague Mrs Bush will speak on the subject of renewal in Afghanistan, and will visit the site of Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, where she is expected to broadcast a short message on Radio Free Afghanistan in both the Pasto and Dari languages.

Pair of teachers fined for tying up children in pre-school

A pair of teachers in the Tachov region of the Czech Republic have been fined by their employer for tying two children in their pre-school to chairs and putting tape over their mouths for apparent misbehaviour. The incident, which took place in February, was investigated by police, who found no evidence of child abuse; the teachers stood by their actions, arguing the questionable form of punishment had been meant only as a game, and not as a serious threat.

Czech mezzo soprano Magdalena Kozena rated highly by French music magazine

The French magazine Le Monde de la Musique has praised well-known Czech mezzo soprano Magdalena Kozena in its latest issue, showing the Czech opera singer on its cover next to a headline reading "Listen to this voice". The magazine reviews Kozena's latest CD release, which features arias from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Christoph Willibald Gluck, and Josef Myslivecek, and praises the recording highly.

Borussia Dortmund striker Tomas Rosicky nominated for Czech Under-21 team

The Czech star footballer for Borussia Dortmund Tomas Rosicky has been nominated to the Czech Under-21 team set to take part at the Under-21 UEFA tournament set to kick-off in Switzerland on May 16th. Rosicky and six other nominated Czech players already have caps playing for the regular national side. The Czech under-21 team is setting high hopes for the upcoming tournament, and believes it has a chance at making it to the final.

Weather

Thursday evening will see slightly cloudy skies with a possibility of clearing - temperatures at night are expected to drop to a mild 14 degrees Celsius. Expect Friday to be cloudy with some rainy periods. Temperatures during the day will reach highs between 20 and 24 degrees Celsius.