Around Slovakia

Used books store

Tibor Ďurák also sells accordions in his antiquarian bookstore.
photo: Pavol Funtál

THE ANTIQUARIAN book-store in Leopoldov is one of the biggest of its kind in Europe. Based in a former community house and furnished with pieces dating back to the 1930s, around 65,000 old books are on offer.
"My antiquarian book store was once called a cultural oddity," the shop owner, 67-year-old Tibor Ďurák told SME daily.
He loved books all of his life and when he retired, he decided to focus on this passion.
He says that during the 13 years that he has run this shop books by Russian author Fiodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevski have been the most popular among his customers. He also says that nonfiction books about castles, dogs, and cats are in demand.
Ďurák complained, however, that although March is traditionally a month of books, his sales in the shop remain unaffected.
"It's just like the other months. I closed last year with a loss of Sk 145,000 (€3,918). I am on the edge of survival, I live in debt and don't see any better times coming," said Ďurák.
Apart from books the shop also offers old paintings and other small antique objects such as irons, chandeliers, old postcards, handbags, and coffee or teacups from the old times.

Trucks may be forbidden to overtake

SMER MP Robert Kaliňák is proposing that lorries should not be allowed to overtake on highways and fast two-lane roads, and should stay in the slow lane, SME daily wrote.
MPs from other parties - Tomáš Galbavý of the ruling Slovak Democratic and Christian Union, Gyula Bárdos of the Hungarian Coalition Party, and Movement for a Democratic Slovakia's deputy chairman Milan Urbáni say that Kaliňák's proposal makes sense.
The MPs said that they have all had similar experiences when driving in the fast lane at a speed of 130 km per hour, which is Slovakia's highway speed limit.
A lorry on the road ahead tried to overtake another lorry, blocking the fast lane. Apart from having to slam on the brakes, they had to wait a long time for the overtaking lorry to complete its maneuver and return to the slow lane.
However, MPs are not sure whether the proposal has a chance of being approved in Parliament. There is not much time before the general election (June 17), and Parliament will approve only the most urgent legislation.

Call on Roma settlements: Don't eat dead birds.

PEOPLE from Roma settlements are among those most at risk of catching the dangerous bird-flu virus, Pravda daily wrote, following confirmation that the deadly H5N1 strain of the virus has been discovered in Slovakia.
Many of Slovakia's Roma live in the countryside, and often come into contact with dead animals. Although they need to take more care, no one is going to their settlements to warn them of the danger, claim experts.
According to Roma issues expert Rastislav Pivoň, the poorest and most backward settlements are at greatest risk.
"The people there don't have much choice but to cook and eat meat from diseased and even dead animals," he said, adding that many Roma settlements are located near water where wild birds spend the winter.
Pivoň is convinced that even people living in the most backward settlements will listen if the risk of infection is explained properly to them.
Some action is being taken, however. The Public Health Office in co-operation with the Office of the Proxy for Roma Communities has decided to distribute 50,000 leaflets written in both the Slovak and Roma languages.
These contain basic information about bird flu and how it can be caught. "Don't go near dead birds. You can catch bird flu even by breathing in dust from the feathers," the leaflet warns.
However, Pivoň 's fears that the Roma could eat dead birds have been questioned. Eva Masárová from the Roma communities office says that she has never heard of cases of Roma people eating this kind of meat, although she says that she is worried that Roma children could come into close contact with dead birds.

A flower shop teaser in Trenčianska Teplá reminds men of International Women's Day, a very popular and important holiday during Communism, which some still observe on March 8. Today's men celebrate it in a much more "sober" way than before, when, as drunk husbands, they used to bring home broken flowers to wives who had just spent the day revelling in official and public praise. Nevertheless, nostalgia for the holiday's symbolism remains quite strong. Shops flow over with flower offers and men often have to queue to get them.
photo: TASR

Ireland interested in Slovaks, 70,000 jobs for grabs

IRELAND wants more foreign employees, Vincent Callan from the Irish Allskills recruitment agency has told Hospodárske noviny daily. The country has 60,000-70,000 vacant jobs, and lacks people to fill them.
"Highly-skilled labor is especially in demand. At the same time, we've had good experience with Slovak workers," Callan told the daily.
The most sought-after employees - just as in other EU-member states - are IT engineers and construction specialists. But teachers and university professors are also in short supply in Ireland.
Slovaks who find work in Ireland have a good chance of earning a decent salary, with a minimum wage of €8 per hour, or Sk47,000 per month. Construction engineers, meanwhile, make €40,000-60,000 a year or Sk120,000-185,000 a month, while a university professor can earn at least €100,000 a year, which is the equivalent of more than Sk300,000 per month.

Trnava, Leopoldov, Piešťany
Railway track modernization restarts in March

RAILWAY network operator Železnice Slovenskej Republiky (ŽSR) resumed work on the modernization of several parts of railway tracks as of March 1, 2006.
"This year, completion of modernization works will be

Changes in the train schedule signal that the rail system is undergoing modernization.
photo: TASR

carried out on the track between Bratislava and Trnava from March to December works will move closer to Leopoldov and Piešťany," said ŽSR spokesperson Nela Blašková.
However, the most extensive work in the year 2006 will be carried out on the Leopoldov train station. Resuming construction work will be accompanied by changes in train schedule.
Changes in train scheduled will apply to selected trains of Železničná Spoločnosť Slovensko in sections Trnava - Leopoldov, Trnava - Leopoldov - Hlohovec - Lužianky and Leopoldov - Sereď. The change will concern two express trains and nine regional trains, which will be replaced by bus transport.
ŽSR launched modernization of the Slovak part of the fifth European Railway Corridor in 2000, however, intensive work only started last spring. Construction works were chiefly focused on Bratislava - Trnava railway track. According to the schedule of construction work, the railway section from Bratislava Rača to Trnava should be modernized in 2007, the section from Trnava to Nové Mesto nad Váhom one year later. The railway track between Nové Mesto nad Váhom and Púchov should be modernized in 2008-2012, as will the track between Púchov and Žilina.
The modernization's main goal is to increase permitted track speed to 160 km per hour and thus bring the transport system into conformity with EU rules. A 2,831-km corridor goes from Italy, Slovenia, Hungary, and Slovakia to Ukraine. The Slovak part of the corridor is 545 km long: about 19 percent of its total length. It goes from Bratislava via Žilina and Košice to Čierna nad Tisou and ends at the state border with Ukraine. ŽSR estimates total costs of the Slovak part of the modernization €2 billion.

Oravský Biely Potok
City opening tender for mining area

THE LOCAL mining authority in Banská Bystrica launched a tender to situate a mining area near the village of Oravský Biely Potok in the Tvrdošín district.
"It is a sandstone deposit on a 178,600 square metre area," office chairman Vladimír Bubelíny told SITA news agency on March 3.
Bids to mine the area should be sent to the Banská Bystrica area mining office by June 30 at the latest.
"At present I cannot say when the results of the tender will be known, everything depends on the number of bids," said Bubelíny. Winners of the tender will have three years to carry out their business.

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News digest: Health care staff still lacking, president asks for amends

Slovakia is preparing to launch the nationwide testing on Saturday morning, but the government admitted they still need hundreds of health care staff. Kotleba violates quarantine and hospitals in the north are full.

The Bratislava Self-Governing Region started testing its staff on October 30.

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Dolný Kubín