News Wednesday, OCTOBER 06th, 1999

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

Most doctors to support strike symbolically

The majority of Czech doctors say they will extend only symbolic support for the planned strike action on October 6th. The all day strike has been called by the Czech Doctors Association LOK in support of higher wages for doctors and nurses, specifically they are demanding three times the average wage for doctors that's 37 thousand Czech crowns and over 16,000 crowns for nurses. The financial aid package which the government is distributing among the country's ailing hospitals is intended to help settle their debts and health minister Ivan David has strictly rejected doctors demands saying there is no money for higher wages at this point. Doctors joining the strike action will be wearing blue ribbons on Wednesday.

Romanies prevent erection of wall

Fifty Romanies from the town of Usti nad Labem on Tuesday physically prevented construction workers from erecting a wall which was to have divided a largely Roma-inhabited housing estate from that of its neighbours. Work on the notorious Maticni Street wall was to have begun on Tuesday morning with the full backing of local authorities, but construction workers were called off after 50 Romanies stationed themselves along the length of the site physically preventing any construction activity and saying they were prepared to go to any length to protect their families from discrimination. They have vowed to be back the next day and the next for as long as necessary and it is not clear if and when workers may be recalled to undertake the job.

Slovak premier awaited in Prague

Slovak premier Michal Dzurinda is to pay a one day official visit to Prague this Thursday. The visit is aimed at improving bilateral relations and tying up the loose ends in the process of division of former federal property which the two sides have pledged to conclude before the year is out. Trade and security issues are also on the agenda of Thursday's talks with Czech top officials.

Austrian neurosurgeon gets Vision 97 award

Austrian neurosurgeon Karl Pribram has been awarded the first ever Vision 97 award set up by the Dagmar and Vaclav Havel Foundation Vision 97 . Among other breakthroughs in brain research , Pribram discovered the functions of the limbic system, the frontal lobes and inferotemporal cortex, and he established that the brain stores memory in holographic fashion. The award ceremony here in Prague was linked to a panel discussion on Knowledge and Wisdom.

Havel birthday

Finally, as an item of interest, President Havel turned 63 on Tuesday, October 5th . He and the first lady said they were planning a private gathering with close friends. "It is a day like any other President Havel told newsmen, I don't attach any special significance to it."

Holocaust conference at Prague Castle

A three day international conference on the Holocaust opens at Prague Castle later today . Held under the auspices of President Havel the event will bring together historians from around the world whose main focus of interest will be not only the plight of Jews and Romanies under Nazi oppression but also painful questions about possible collaboration by Czechs in the Holocaust.

A quick look at the weather:

Wednesday should be partly cloudy to overcast with occasional drizzle and day temps between 9 and 13 degs C. People heading for the mountains are warned that there may be sleet or snow showers in the higher altitudes. Nighttime lows between 3 and 7 degs.