Around Slovakia

Land prices continue upward trend

LAND prices in Slovakia have been rising due to increased demand and, according to real estate agents, this trend is set to continue, the SME daily wrote.
Not only land zoned for construction, but also for agriculture has become more expensive. Shortly after Slovakia became a member of the EU, farmer subsidies, which are paid per hectare, rose tenfold.
The most expensive land for construction is found in the attractive parts of Bratislava, which costs as much as Sk14,000 (€373) per square metre, and in the villages surrounding the capital, which goes for around Sk2,000 per square metre.
The country's cheapest land can be found in its poorest regions, mostly in eastern Slovakia, where one square metre costs only a few hundred crowns.
The price of agricultural land is even lower, from as little as 50 hellers to Sk120 per square metre.

Elections will occupy at least 1,300 people

APPROXIMATELY 1,300 people will work on 700 computers to process the results of the parliamentary elections scheduled for June 17, Slovak Statistics Office spokeswoman Eva Kelemenová informed the press on March 21.
This is only a preliminary figure, she cautioned, since the actual number of candidates running for parliamentary seats has only been known since midnight on March 19.
Twenty-one political parties delivered their candidate lists for the 150-seat Slovak parliament by the March 19 deadline.
The lists feature 2,353 candidates, of which 529 are women. The Central Election Commission (ÚVK) will verify the candidate lists until March 29. The registration deadline was set for April 8.
Any party whose registration is rejected will have the right to appeal to the Supreme Court, which will have three days to reach a decision.
Kelemenová also announced the Statistics Office would conduct three tests prior to the elections.

More tourists stayed overnight in Slovakia in 2005

THE NUMBER of tourists who stayed overnight in Slovakia last year reached 3.428 million, which was an annual growth of 5.7 percent, the SITA news agency wrote.
Of this number, foreign tourists accounted for 1.515 million, up by 8.1 percent year-on-year, while overnight visits by local visitors exceeded 1.913 million, an

A FIRST-GRADE student at the elementary school on Trebišovská 10 in Košice hands a flower to his teacher. Students across the country celebrated National Teachers' Day on March 28. On the occasion, Education Minister Lászlo Szigeti awarded St Gorazd honours to 48 teachers from elementary and secondary schools and universities at Trnava's Ján Palárik Theatre. The Teachers' Day tradition was observed under the previous regime and was reinstated in 1999 by then-Education Minister Milan Ftáčnik. While UNESCO holds International Teachers' Day on October 5, Slovakia pays tribute to teachers on March 28 in honour of the birthday of the great scholar and teacher Jan Amos Comenius (1592-1670).
photo: TASR

increase of 3.8 percent since 2004.
Tourists thus spent a total of 10.733 million nights in accommodation facilities in Slovakia last year, which is a 0.1 percent decrease from 2004, according to data published by the Economy Ministry's tourism section.
On average, a tourist spent 3.1 nights in Slovakia last year compared to 3.3 nights in 2004.
According to preliminary data, the share of the gross domestic product (GDP) made up by active tourism rose 0.4 percentage points to 2.6 percent.
In the monitored period, 2,466 facilities provided accommodation in Slovakia, which was 2.9 percent decrease year-on-year. In total, they operated 47,666 rooms with 122,612 beds.
The amount of business travelers grew 2.1 percent to 20,254 last year. The biggest number of foreign tourists, 424,900, came from the Czech Republic, which saw an increase of 1.3 percent. The number of Polish visitors went up by 10.8 percent to 198,500 and the number of German tourists rose 3.2 percent to 194,200.
Preliminary data from the National Bank of Slovakia shows that the country earned Sk37.5 billion in foreign exchange (FOREX) revenues from tourism in 2005, which is up 29.1 percent. The FOREX expenses of Slovak citizens traveling abroad increased by 9.2 percent to Sk26.2 billion.
The aggregate surplus increased 124.2 percent year-on-year to Sk11.3 billion. Last year, 29.4 million people visited Slovakia, which is 11.3 percent more than in 2004. In 2005, 22.4 million people traveled abroad from Slovakia, up 9.9 percent year-on-year.

Cabinet finds money for unforeseen UN expenses

THE SLOVAK government released Sk35.9 million (€950,000) from its budget reserve on March 22 to cover unforseen expenses related to Slovakia's non-permanent membership on the UN Security Council.
The money should be used to cover increased personnel, material and financial expenses at the Slovak Mission to the UN in New York and other relevant budgetary needs. Because the expenses were unexpected, they were not accounted for in the 2006 state budget.
The Cabinet also allocated Sk3 million for the National Convent on the European Union and a further Sk4 million to finance this year's action plan against discrimination and intolerance.

Car show at Incheba centre

President Ivan Gašparovič tests a new car at the Autosalon 2006.
photo: TASR

THE INTERNATIONAL "Autosalon" motor show at the Incheba centre in Bratislava opened its doors to the press and experts on March 21.
The general public was admitted from March 22-26.
The motor show, as well as parallel exhibitions called "Autoservis" and "Motocykel", featured displays by around 200 domestic and foreign exhibitors that covered an area of more than 40,000 square metres.
Visitors could view over 65 new models, including the Audi Q7 and the Peugeot 207, the latter of which will be produced at the new PSA Peugeot Citroen car plant in Trnava as of May 2006.
Other car-manufacturers taking advantage of the event included Mercedes Benz, BMW, Porsche, Škoda, Fiat, Toyota, Lexus, and Hyundai/Kia.
The "Motocykel" event displayed motorcycles by Honda, Yamaha and BMW, and was supported by presentations of spare parts, motor oils, clothing and motorcycle accessories.
In addition, visitors could also view a section displaying 20 different models of caravans and camper vans.

First woman joins Supreme Court

FOR THE FIRST time in its 35-year history, a woman has been appointed to the 66-member Supreme Court, the Pravda daily reported.
Iveta Marušáková, the former head of Bratislava Regional Court, was recently approved by the Judicial Council, making her the first to break the unwritten rule that the Supreme Court's doors are closed to women.
This rule stood despite the fact that women such as she had been in charge of regional courts for several decades and presided over major murder, drug abuse and organized crime cases.
Among Marušáková's duties will be to rule on appeals brought against the Special Court, as she has been granted clearance by the National Security Office and will sit on the court's special appeals panel.

Diplomats play tennis

THE SEVENTH annual Ambassadors Tennis Tournament, organized by Slovak Foreign Affairs Minister Eduard Kukan, took place at the National Tennis Centre (NTC) in Bratislava on March18.
As many as 28 ambassadors and honorary consuls took part in the tournament, which included an exhibition match between Kukan and the President of the Slovak Olympic Committee, František Chmelár.
The tournament has become an important sporting and cultural event and an informal setting for meetings between diplomats and politicians.

Babies adopted abroad

A TOTAL of 16 children were adopted from the orphanage in Mlynky - Biele Vody in eastern Slovakia from 2003. The smallest babies, 18-month-old twins, were taken in by a family from Canada, the SME daily wrote.
The others were adopted by new parents from France, the Netherlands and Sweden, with the most children, eight, being adopted by Italians.
At the moment, three babies are still waiting to be united with their future Italian parents.
According to Oľga Melišková, who works for the orphanage, any children not adopted by Slovak families, which is often the case with Roma babies, are put up for international adoptions.

Nové Zámky
Grenade attack in disco

SOMEONE threw a tear gas grenade into a Clubbing Complex disco club packed with around 1,000 people on March 25.
The club was immediately evacuated and firefighters were called to exhaust the gas. Nonetheless, three people had to be taken to hospital, the SME daily wrote.
Club owner Roman Haulík could not explain how a person armed with the grenade could have passed through security.
"All visitors go through a metal detector. We now have to wait for a police analysis to see if the gas may have been in a plastic container," he said.

Danihel: promote Bojnice Castle abroad

MIMI Danihel, widow of the late Leo Danihel, the former president of the Slovak World Congress, thinks that Bojnice Castle is one of the most beautiful historical sights in Slovakia, and that such treasures should be promoted in the US more actively.
Danihel visited the castle on March 17, accompanied by Slovak first lady Silvia Gašparovičová, the TASR news agency wrote.
Danihel also used the occasion to donate Sk6 million (€160,858) to the first lady's foundation, which will be earmarked to purchase technology for the cryo-destruction of hepatic tumors.

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