Around Slovakia

A Himalayan triolgy

PETER Hámor, a Slovak climber from the city of Poprad, plans to conquer three eight-thousand-meter Himalayan peaks - Cho Oju (8,201 meters), Annapurna (8,091 meters) and Broad Peak (8,047 meters) - this year. His travel companions will be Polish climbers Piotr Pustelnik and Piotr Moravski.
Hámor, who has labeled his trip a Himalayan trilogy and subtitled it Tros Pedros del Himalaya [The Three Peters of the Himalayas, as all three climbers are named Peter], wants to climb the peaks between March and August this year, SITA news agency wrote.
Annapurna and Broad Peak will be the focus of the expedition, as Piotr Pustelnik, who has climbed 14 eight-thousand-meter Himalayan peaks in his career, has yet to climb these two.
The Himalayan trilogy is divided into two parts - Himalayan and Pakistani. The three Peters will leave Slovakia for Cho Oju on March 20 and, upon completion, will move on to Annapurna, which they want to conquer by the end of May. They will then return home and fly to Pakistan in the middle of June to prepare for the Broad Peak climb.
"The Trilogy should be completed by August 8, but its result is still unclear," said Hámor.
If the expedition turns out well, Hámor will become the first Slovak climber ever to conquer Annapurna and Broad Peak.

High Tatras
Academy against unrestricted Tatra development

THE HIGH Tatras National Park (TANAP) has no relevant program for its development, the park's expansion is unrestricted, and the pressure from investors who want to execute their projects in the Tatras' top localities is enormous, SME daily reports, citing the results of a study carried out by the National Ecology Institute of the Slovak Academy of Sciences (SAV).
The main problems lie in the disputes between the state forests company and representatives of the State Nature Protection organization.
Other problems facing the region include undeveloped services for foreign tourists, especially currency exchange offices and language services, the daily wrote.

Zoos prepared for bird flu

ZOOS in Slovakia are prepared for a possible outbreak of bird flu in Slovakia, Bratislava Zoo Director Miloslava Šávelová said to TASR news agency on February 16.
Four veterinary surgeons representing Slovak zoos have created a joint task force to draw up prevention and infection control measures, should they be necessary.
"The group's role will be mainly to negotiate with state bodies and veterinary administration authorities in the field of prevention and anti-infection measures, so that the impact on zoos is as manageable and effective as possible," said Šávelová.
Taking advice from respective regional veterinary and food administrations, the group will also direct individual zoos in issuing the following measures, as well as those resulting from public alerts or warning annoucements.
If a case of bird flu is confirmed, all birds in captivity will have to be placed in enclosures.
"We have areas where the birds can be placed for a short period of time. If it becomes necessary to protect them over the long term, we will have to use nets," said Šávelová.

Plaque for murdered student unveiled

THE FATHER of Daniel Tupý, a student who was stabbed to death in Bratislava on November 4, 2005, allegedly by Neo-Nazis, unveiled a plaque commemorating his son in front of the Comenius University building in Bratislava on February 23.
Daniel Tupý, Sr. also used the occasion to cast doubt on the quality of the investigation into his son's murder. "Since the crime, the police have been amateurish and bungling," he told reporters.
Tupý said that he had written to the then Interior Minister, Vladimír Palko, in November, asking him to explain how the police were dealing with extremism, but that he had still not received a reply. The new Interior Minister, Martin Pado, has promised to answer the letter as soon as possible.
According to Police President Anton Kulich, a team of investigators and criminologists has been working round the clock to solve the case. Kulich claims the investigation is difficult given how random it was and that it was committed at night.
No one has been arrested to date. "The situation is not ideal," conceded Kulich, who added that he is confident the case would be solved soon.
Kulich also said that investigators had interviewed Tupý's friends, who were with him the night of the attack and have spent the last few months recovering from it, as well as his family. Police have questioned dozens of people - both witnesses and suspects - and seized forensic evidence, including weapons. Hundreds of known meeting points for people under police surveillance have been raided.

Slovak Jews in WWII

SLOVAKIA's National Memory Institute (ÚPN) and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum have agreed to cooperate on a project called "The Fate of Slovak Jews during World War II".
ÚPN chairman Ján Langoš and Radu Ioanid, the head of the Holocaust Museum's International Archive Programmes Division, signed the agreement on February 23, with American Ambassador to Slovakia Rodolphe Vallee in attendance, TASR news agency wrote.
The agreement will also provide for access to archives, enable the two organizations to copy and store each other's materials, and make these records available to the public.
The Fate of Slovak Jews project, which focuses on the 1942-1944 period in the wartime Slovak fascist state, is aimed at recording the names and fate of all the approximately 70,000 Slovak Jews who were murdered in Nazi concentration camps.
"None of the innocent victims should be forgotten," said Langoš. He is confident that the ÚPN will be able to obtain valuable records from archives in Slovakia, as well as in Poland and Hungary, that will help to enrich the American museum's collection.
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum was founded to document the history of the persecution and murder of six million Jews and millions of other victims of Nazi tyranny from 1933-1945. It ranks among the world's leading Holocaust research centers.

photo: TASR

Mills fall to developer's plans

A modern polyfunctional object is to replace the former mills and pastry factories in the centre of Nitra.
At the beginning of March, the owner of the property, the Miva company, began to demolish the buildings. The mills were closed down at the beginning of the 1990s and since then had been deteriorating.
The Monuments Board had requested that the original buildings be preserved and incorporated into the new project. However, they admitted the demand would be hard to meet, given the poor condition of the structures. The Arpád steam mill, founded in 1863, was the largest and oldest factory in Nitra in its time. Its seven buildings spread over 6,654 square metres of land and daily ground about 50,000 kilograms of wheat into flour. The mill burned down in 1922, but was rebuilt in the same year. It employed up to 100 workers and was the most modern steam mill on Slovak territory.

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