News Monday, AUGUST 23rd, 1999

Those were the headlines and now the news in more detail :

Czech field hospital moved to Turkey

A Czech field hospital originally operating in Albania within AFOR has been moved to Turkey and is expected to be made operational within a few hours time. The Czech foreign ministry said that the staff were fully equipped to deal with the emergency and considered it no less than their duty under the tragic circumstances. The staff is equipped to perform emergency surgery and provide temporary hospital care. The Czech Republic has sent out rescue teams , firefighters and is preparing a large delivery of medicaments that are in short supply. Czech foreign minister Jan Kavan said on Sunday that with the Cabinet's approval his ministry wanted to use the entire 30 million crown fund reserved for natural disasters to aid Turkey.

Kosovo refugees end hunger strike

The brief hunger strike of twenty Kosovo refugees in the camp at Kasava, Moravia is over. The refugees went on a hunger strike on Friday in protest of plans to move them to a different camp after 50 of the 70 member group had returned to their homeland. Although the authorities explained that this particular camp was about to be closed the Kosovars feared to leave a place they had grown used to, made friends and even found the odd job. The foreign ministry sent out mediators who persuaded the 20 refugees to accept the planned move. On having reached agreement the ministry representatives and the refugees lunched together, the ctk newsagency reports.

Kavan criticizes slow pace in meeting EU legislation criteria

Czech foreign minister Jan Kavan has criticized the Czech Republic's slow pace in meeting EU legislation criteria. Kavan added his voice to that of vice-premier Pavel Rychetsky telling the media that several ministers had underestimated the task of amending legislation in their respective sphere to meet EU criteria. The ministries of finance and trade are said to be lagging seriously behind schedule and the interior, environment and culture ministers had also postponed scheduled amendments to the law, Kavan said. The Czech Republic has received several warnings from the EU in this respect and vice premier Pavel Rychetsky allegedly plans to challenge the respective ministers on their performance at an upcoming Cabinet session.

Christian Youth meeting at Svata Hora

An estimated 4,000 people attended the six day gathering of Christian Youth in Svata Hora, southern Bohemia which ended with a celebratory mass on Sunday. The highlight of the event was the reading out of a message from the Pope by Cardinal Miloslav Vlk. In it Pope John Paul II recalled his meeting with the Christian youth in this country in 1997, describing it as an unforgettable experience. The Cardinal's rendition ended on a storm of applause from the crowd. It was a letter straight from the heart. It was anything but official one of the young people told the ctk newsagency.

Trade unions demand wage increases

Czech trade union representatives are expected to meet later today with labour minister Vladimir Spidla to discuss wages in the state sector. They are reportedly disturbed by the news that in drafting next years state budget finance minister Pavel Mertlik is proposing a freeze on civil servants' wages. We want to push for a wage increase that will at least cover the expected inflation growth, one of the trade union representatives told the ctk newsagency.

First lady gets hemp

It has been noted that the first lady , Mrs. Dagmar Havel on Friday received a splendidly arranged bouquet of hemp. The president's office apparently unwittingly accepted the gift for the first lady from Jiri Dolezal who said he wanted to draw the presidential couple's attention to the fact that Czechs are not free to grow hemp and smoke marihuana.

And finally a look at the weather :

Monday is expected to be partly cloudy with day temps between 19 and 23degs. The weather should gradually improve into mid-week with Tuesday's temp forecast at between 21 and 25 degs, Wednesdays at between 23 and 27 degs C.