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Pandúr Slovak Word of the Week IN THE Hungarian Kingdom, a pandúr was an armed serf who carried out the wishes of his master. Today, the word is used to describe not only an armoured military transporter, but also a corruption scandal connected with the sale of the vehicle to the Czech defence department. 18 Sep 2014 The Slovak Spectator
Value judgement EDITORIAL THIS YEAR Slovakia marked the 75th anniversary of the darkest period in the country’s history – the founding of the wartime Slovak state, an entity which, among other crimes it committed on its own citizens, paid Nazi Germany to deport Slovak Jews to concentration camps. Much has been said and written about March 14, the day when the Nazi-puppet state emerged back in 1939, about learning the lessons of history so that they are not repeated and so forth – but apparently not enough. 15 Sep 2014 The Slovak Spectator
Penta Slovak Word of the Week THERE are a great number of Slovak proverbs that warn against premature joy. “Nechváľ rána pred večerom” (Do not praise the morning before the eve), “Nekrič hop, kým nepreskočíš” (Do not yell hop before you jump over), or “Po veľkom smiechu prichádza veľký plač” (After great laughter comes great grief). So even though rumours that the Petit Press publishing house, owner of both SME and this newspaper, will be taken over by the Penta investment group, seem to be unfounded, there is still reason for caution. Who knows what tomorrow may bring. 11 Sep 2014 The Slovak Spectator
The will of the people? EDITORIAL SLOVAKIA definitely has a troubled history of using the public plebiscite as a democratic tool. Of the seven referenda the country has held since its independence in 1993, only the one asking “do you agree that Slovakia should become an EU member country” has been valid. Moreover, there was no referendum held before the so-called velvet divorce of the Czechs and Slovaks within former Czechoslovakia, which gave birth to Slovakia. 8 Sep 2014 The Slovak Spectator
Festivaly Slovak Word of the Week WHAT better way to celebrate the 45th anniversary of Woodstock than by banning one music festival and almost cancelling another? The tales of Gothoom and Moldava Spolu differ only in the details. 4 Sep 2014 The Slovak Spectator
At NATO's Newport summit a return to deterrence AMBASSADORIAL COLUMN NATO came into being as a direct reaction to, inter alia, the Soviet Union sponsored overthrow of the democratic government of the Czechs and Slovaks in 1948. At the time, it became clear that Joseph Stalin had a vision of a hostile international environment leading to communism’s triumph. The democratic world was left with no viable alternative but to contain and deter.' 25 Aug 2014 The Slovak Spectator
Making history EDITORIAL MANY Slovaks will associate the celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the Slovak National Uprising (SNP) with the long weekend they get thanks to August 29 falling on a Friday. Those born before the 1980s might recall centrally organised celebrations of the SNP when as students they had to wear their pioneer uniform, the blue shirt with the red scarf around their neck designed for the Communist Party’s youth organisation, and march to the town square to listen to endless speeches about the leading role the communists had in everything good in their life. 25 Aug 2014 The Slovak Spectator
Separatista Slovak Word of the Week NORMALLY, you don’t see Slovaks travelling the world and blowing themselves up or beheading people. But allegations by Ukraine that a Slovak citizen was caught fighting for the pro-Russian separatists indicate that there are ideologies which inspire violence even in members of our “dove nation”. Sure, it’s hard to draw any serious conclusions from one case, and acts of war and terror are often the result of personal frustration rather than political conviction. 21 Aug 2014 The Slovak Spectator
Voice to the voiceless EDITORIAL ONE of the regulations issued by the wartime Slovak state defined the Roma as people “who avoid work”, while stripping them of a number of elementary human rights based on racist principles. The Roma were required to remove their dwellings from the proximity of public roads and were condemned to live in remote places out of sight. They were banned from public transportation and had access to some municipalities only during specific hours of the day. They could not even own a dog, as Arne Mann, an ethnographer from the Institute of Ethnology of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, who focuses on the Roma Holocaust, suggested in an interview with The Slovak Spectator. 11 Aug 2014 The Slovak Spectator
Pokakať sa Slovak Word of the Week “THOSE 17 or 18 percent are not gonna make me poop (pokakať sa),” Radoslav Procházka said a few days ago about the recent poll numbers for his Sieť party. Good thing he kept his digestion under check, as newer surveys show support for the self-appointed rancher of the opposition may now be down to as little as 10 percent. Even that figure makes Sieť the strongest right-wing party, but still, the explosion of support may well have stopped, if not reversed. 7 Aug 2014 The Slovak Spectator
Storm, mudslides wreak havoc in Terchová HEAVY storms on the evening of July 21 caused flooding which destroyed dozens of cars and the road leading from Terchová village to the Vrátna Dolina, a valley in the Malá Fatra mountains. The nearby city of Žilina had problems with torrential rain, reporting flooded cellars, roads and pavement. 28 Jul 2014 The Slovak Spectator
Keeping it in the kitchen EDITORIAL THOSE who thought Radoslav Procházka, the right-leaning political star with an inflated ego and lofty ambitions, would bring a new, distinctive political culture to Slovakia, were wrong. His brief performance as caretaker of the non-parliamentary party Sieť suggests that he too believes that whatever is cooking with financing political campaigns is best kept locked away in the kitchen. Voters don’t need to know how the sausage is made so long as they like the taste, the thinking goes.If there were ever a requirement for somebody espousing a new way of doing politics it would be to change this practice. The tradition of an open and transparent political sponsorship is almost non-existent and in Slovakia, the quagmire of campaign finance has dragged down even politicians who actually make contributions to the country’s progress through reforms. But they are always remembered for failing to keep the books of their parties clean and transparent. 28 Jul 2014 The Slovak Spectator
MH-17 Slovak Word of the Week THE TRAGEDY of flight MH-17 stirred several reactions in Slovakia. There was compassion. Among some, there was some disappointment with a government reluctant to take a firm stand, and willing to still consider Russian companies as suitable investors in such fields as energy. There was a bit of a surprise at the number of people ready to listen to and spread the arguments of Kremlin propaganda (although a recent poll showing that over 80 percent of Slovaks feel Ukrainians should decide about their own future without Russian meddling is somewhat comforting). 24 Jul 2014 The Slovak Spectator
Scratching the surface EDITORIAL GIVEN the state of the education sector in Slovakia and the challenges it faces, many would agree that Dušan Čaplovič deserved to be sacked as education minister. While Prime Minister Robert Fico offered no forthright explanation as to why Čaplovič was asked to quit and why Tomáš Malatinský will no longer serve as economy minister, it seems apparent that they were thrown overboard for the wrong reasons. 14 Jul 2014 The Slovak Spectator
Voda Slovak Word of the Week YOU would almost think Slovakia was a desert nation. Yet the only droughts the country is suffering from are intellectual. 10 Jul 2014 The Slovak Spectator
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Quote of the Week
“It is a portfolio that is very specific – it could be said that it covers the tram to the space rocket.” Maroš Šefčovič in response to receiving the post overseeing transport and the space agenda in the European Commission.