Polls, stats, trends

Slovakia should top auto charts

SLOVAKIA could manufacture 950,000 to 1.2 million cars in 2009, according to a VÚB bank analysis.

VÚB analyst Martin Lenko said that Slovakia would therefore be top of the world's per capita production chart.

"Apart from further development by VW Slovakia the sector will benefit from the arrival of new players Hyundai/KIA and PSA Peugeot Citroen, along with the relocation of other car component producers to our territory," Lenko said, according to SITA news agency.

Economic freedom improving

ECONOMIC freedom in Slovakia has been improving since 1999, according to a study published by the US Heritage Foundation.

Its latest results ranked Slovakia 34th out of 157 countries in an economic freedom index for 2006.

Slovakia's index rating improved from 2.43 points for 2005 to 2.35 points for 2006, the lower the score the better.

Minister: Fewer crimes in 2005

INTERIOR Minister Vladimír Palko said that police statistics for last year showed a drop in crimes committed and more cases solved.

Of 123,563 crimes recorded last year the police solved 60,093. In 2004, police registered 131,244 crimes.

In 2005 the police recorded 106 murders, attempted murders and conspiracies to murder, which is the lowest figure since the creation of independent Slovakia in 1993.

There were also fewer fatalities on Slovak roads last year: 560 people died and 1,962 people suffered serious injuries, which are the lowest figures since 1993.

Slovaks less worried about unemployment

THE SPECTER of unem-ployment haunts Europe, according to a Eurobarometer survey, and in Slovakia it is people's biggest fear, with 49 percent of those questioned in autumn 2005 choosing it as one of the top two worst problems in the country. However, this figure is 10 percent lower than in a similar poll carried out in the spring of 2005, the daily SME reported.

In August 2005, prior to the second poll, Slovakia's unemployment rate was 15.2 percent. However, this was significantly lower than a year previously.

Sociologist Olga Gyarfášová, from the Institute of Public Affairs (IVO), thinks that people pay more attention to trends and expectations than current reality. "Although the countries of Central Europe have higher unemployment rates than, say, Germany and Austria, people have the feeling that the worst is already behind them, and see the trend improving," she said.

The other top five problems chosen by respondents in Slovakia were: the economic situation - 36 percent, inflation - 31 percent, crime - 23 percent, and health care - 21 percent. No other problem was chosen by more than 10 percent of the respondents.

The survey showed that unemployment is feared most in Germany (74 percent), Poland (71 percent), and Portugal (63 percent). It is feared least in Ireland (8 percent), Great Britain (9 percent), and the Netherlands (15 percent). Slovakia was mid-way down the list. The figure for the Czech Republic was 40 percent.

Dog is Slovaks' best friend

FOR MORE than a quarter of Slovaks, a dog is the most popular household animal, a poll conducted by GfK Slovakia showed.

Domestically bred animals such as hens, rabbits and pigs closely follow the dog, according to the poll, which was carried out in December 2005 on a representative sample of 1,000 Slovaks aged between 15 and 79 years.

In the poll, 26 percent of respondents said they had a dog at home. Following the dog are animals that are traditionally bred in the Slovak countryside. Almost a quarter of Slovak households breed hens, rabbits are bred by 11.5 percent and pigs by 11.2 percent of Slovakia's inhabitants. These, however, are bred for eggs and meat and are not kept as pets.

Cats close the top five most popular animals among Slovaks, with 8.7 percent.

Men tend to prefer dogs, with cats more popular among women.

Most Slovaks can provide first aid

SIXTY-SIX percent of Slovaks are capable of administering first aid. Most of them learned to do so at school, a poll conducted by GfK Slovakia showed.

The survey was carried out in December 2005 on a representative sample of 1,000 Slovaks aged between 15 and 79 years.

As many men as women can provide first aid. Age does not play a significant role either. People from the Bratislava region seem to be the least adept at giving first aid; only 52.5 percent are capable of doing so, compared to 73 percent of people in the Nitra region. Some 34.4 percent of Slovaks cannot give first aid at all. Most of these are elderly.

Of those who declared they could give first aid, 57.6 percent said they had learned it at school, while around 22 percent of Slovaks learned it as part of on the job training or at driving school.

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