Around Slovakia

Technical malfunction ruled out as cause of plane crash

THE CRASH that killed 42 Slovak soldiers aboard an AN-24 military plane en route to Košice on January 19 was not caused by technical malfunction, the Military Aviation Technical and Testing Institute in Košice reported.
A technical analysis of the aircraft debris "produced no evidence that the accident was caused by technical malfunction," Milan Vanga, spokesman for the Slovak Armed Forces, said on May 16 in Bratislava.
Instead, a biochemical cause and psychological analysis into human error is still being investigated, TASR wrote.
A professional inquiry commission is due to meet towards the end of May to review the conclusions of all three analyses. The body will then begin work on a final report.
The military plane went down earlier this year in Hungary while transporting 42 soldiers to Košice from Pristina, where they had been serving in a peacekeeping mission from August of last year. First Lieutenant Martin Farkaš was the only survivor.

Košice Aviation Museum is building a gallery special in design and covering.
photo: TASR

Airplanes on show in museum

A UNIQUE gallery of 17 donated planes and helicopters will open at the Aviation Museum in Košice by the end of June, TASR wrote.
The gallery will be special in Slovakia in terms of its architectural design and textiled covering, which evokes a circus tent, said Eduard Labanič, the director of the Slovak Technical Museum.
The project will require around Sk26 million (€693,000), all of which will be provided by the Culture Ministry.
The exhibits will include a Russian Polikarpov II, nicknamed the Kukuruznik (Russian for "maize"), which was used in the Second World War, a Chinese A5 fighter bomber and a UH 1 helicopter, which was used by the US in the Vietnam War.

ALMOST 30 American-made cars from the 1930s to 1970s took part in the 1st American Classic Rally Slovakia on May 20. Bratislava's America Oldtimers Car Club organised the competition that ran from Bratislava to Brno in the Czech Republic. According to many experts, the 1935 Packard Club Sedan was the Mona Lisa among the many Cadillacs, Fords, Chevrolets and Oldsmobile classic cars on display.
photo: TASR

Bratislava - Vienna
Cheaper travel in Vienna for Slovaks

SLOVAK and Austrian transport companies have annouced the launch of "Wien Ticket", a new service that will enable Slovaks carrying a return ticket to use the Austrian capital's public transport at reduced fares.
The new service will come into effect as of June 1, TASR wrote.
"We've spent the past several years preparing the service," Bratislava transport company Director General Ján Zachar said during the Wien Ticket presentation at Bratislava's Museum of Transport on May 15.
Rail company Železničná spoločnosť Slovensko and Austrian firms OEBB Personenverkehr and Wiener Linien are assisting in the launch.
The service is a reciprocal arrangement, as Austrians have been able to make use of similar discounts in Bratislava since last year.

Dunajská Streda
Slovak and Hungarian guards break up smuggling operation

CUSTOMS officers in Hungary and Slovakia have caught an organized gang illegally transporting goods worth Sk500 million (€13.4 million) from Asian countries to Hungary via Slovakia, Slovak Customs Office spokesperson Kristína Vavríková told journalists on May 21.
Police in both countries carried out 22 raids on May 9, six of which took place in the Slovak districts of Dunajská Streda and Nové Zámky in southwestern Slovakia. Sixteen people were arrested, including two Slovak citizens.
The smugglers had used false documents to declare goods at artificially low values. The whole operation is said to have been organized by Chinese citizens.
During the raids, 29 deliveries worth $290,000 destined for fictitious companies were seized, bringing the overall amount of Slovak customs duty fraud to Sk3 million. However, the Hungarian Customs Office estimates that gang's entire criminal operation at 5 billion Hungarian forints (€19.2 million).
According to Vavríková, the actual amount could be even higher, as the calculations were based on false documents.
The role of the two Slovaks, aged 50 and 23, was to receive the goods in Bratislava, where they would pay the undervalued customs duty before transfering the goods to Hungary. Both are charged with violating regulations on the movement of goods across international borders and with fraudulently reducing customs duties and insurance payments.

Zlaté Moravce
Mayor ends hunger strike

THE MAYOR of Zlaté Moravce, which lies close to Nitra, ended a four-day hunger strike outside the Government Office on May 16 after PM Mikuláš Dzurinda promised the construction of a road bypassing the town would start as early as possible.
"I received written confirmation that he has made this issue a priority ... and that construction could realistically start in 2007," Zlaté Moravce Mayor Serafína Ostrihoňová told TASR.
Ostrihoňová has been pressing for the swift construction of a motorway that would improve safety on the I/65 road linking Zlaté Moravce with Nitra and Tekovské Nemce, which has been bedeviled by scores of fatal motor accidents in recent years.
The mayor began her hunger strike on the afternoon of May 13, pitching a tent on the sidewalk across from the Government Office to promote what she says has called a long-stalled issue. On May 15, she met with Transport Minister Pavol Prokopovič and on May 16, PM Dzurinda.
Dzurinda told her personally that he was eminently interested in having the Selence-Beladice and Beladice-Tekovské Nemce stretch of the R1 started as early as possible.
"I only want to prevent the needless loss of human life on that road of death and at the same time further help the development of our region, which ranks among the most discriminated against in Slovakia," Ostrihoňová said.

Rail modernization under way

TRANSPORT Minister Pavol Prokopovič designated a new section of railway between Piešťany in the western Trnava region and Nové Mesto nad Váhom in the Trenčín region for modernization for high-speed trains on May 15.
The section will enable trains to travel up to 160 km/hour and is part of the Euro-corridor Bratislava - Žilina - Čierna nad Tisou, Prokopovič said at the foundation stone laying ceremony in Piešťany. Regular service will be uninterrupted during the construction.
The modernization is planned to finish by December 2008 and will require direct costs of Sk3.5 billion (€93.1 million), 66 percent of which will be covered by the European Union and the Cohesion Fund. The remaining 34 percent will be covered by the state budget.
"This only proves that we're trying to cover the costs of projects proportionally," said Prokopovič.
The length of the modernized section is 20 km and includes 11 platforms, reconstruction of two bridges, construction of six underpasses, two baggage tunnels, two railway bridges and six road bridges. Station buildings at both terminals (Piešťany and Nové Mesto nad Váhom) will also be restored.
The project will be carried out by the Združenie SK Nové Mesto association, which consists of Slovak companies Doprastav, Subterra, and Alpine Slovakia, as well as the Czech firm OHL ZB. The general project planner is Reming from Bratislava.

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