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Slovakia
Residency a pre-condition for Slovak driving license

FOREIGN citizens who want to get a Slovak driving license must have resided in the country for at least 185 days within a given year, Andrea Poláčiková from the Interior Ministry's press department informed TASR.
Foreigners can apply for a Slovak driving license at a local police authority office and can obtain the license in exchange for their current document or by filling out an application for an initial driving license. This is standard procedure in Slovak driving schools, Poláčiková said.
According to recent reports, Czech citizens are increasingly applying for Slovak driving licenses. The "points system" that has been introduced in the Czech Republic empowers police to take off points for each driving offence, and when these points reach a certain level the driving license can be invalidated.


Slovakia
Beautiful countryside not enough for tourists

Many tourists coming to the Tatras like to take their pets with them for hiking trips. Environmentalists warn that pets should be kept on a leash, so they don't disturb or scare away the chamoix or marmots. This picture shows Czech tourists and their dog on top of the Predné Solisko peak, which is 2,119 metres above sea level.
photo: TASR

MANY of the most scenic and beautiful areas in Slovakia still lack the amenities that tourists require. Some attractive areas do not even have such basic services as restaurants and hotels, the SME daily wrote.
According to the daily, many underdeveloped areas fail to take advantage of tourist opportunities.
In many areas in the Low Tatras, for example, there are no guest houses or restaurants. Ján Šulej, the mayor of the village of Pohorelá in central Slovakia points out that local people do not have enough capital to set up businesses. At the same time, they do not like the idea of having strangers stay in their houses, even though many of them have plenty of room to spare.
"[changing this concept] requires a new generation", said Šulej.
Travel agency owner Tomáš Hasala is more optimistic. "Investors will come. Many domestic firms that have earned money in other sectors are now investing in tourism as an area with good prospects," says Hasala, who is convinced that in ten years even the most underdeveloped parts of the country will be bustling with tourists.


Bratislava
Internet kiosks to provide info on Bratislava region

FIFTEEN Internet kiosks have been installed in the Bratislava region to provide tourists and others with free information.
"The kiosks will provide fast information on leisure events and accommodation across the region," said Rudolf Kurth from civic association OZ Medikum Polis.
The association is working on the project with the Bratislava district of Rusovce.
Also providing free information on healthcare and local authorities, the kiosks, which are scheduled to go into operation in August, will be located in the Bratislava boroughs of Rusovce, Jarovce, Čunovo and Ružinov, as well as in the Bratislava region towns of Veľký Meder and Malacky. In addition, one kiosk will be set up in the Austrian border town of Hainburg.
Bankrolled by the European Union Phare CBC programme, the project will cost €344,000, TASR wrote.


Bratislava
More top hotels needed in the capital

BRATISLAVA is finally ready to offer more comfort to discerning tourists. The Kempinski luxury-hotel chain plans to open the first five-star hotel in the capital. The hotel is expected to be completed within two years, the business daily Hospodárske noviny wrote.
According to the daily, other international hotel chains such as Sheraton and Hilton are also considering building new hotels in Bratislava on both banks of the Danube River.
The current level of tourist accommodation in Bratislava is very low in comparison to what Prague, for instance, has to offer.
While in Prague tourists can choose from among 483 accommodation facilities, Bratislava can offer only 71 hotels, guest houses and hostels.
Meanwhile, the number of tourists choosing to visit the Slovak capital is rising every year. "Sometimes, at the peak of the tourist season, hotels in Bratislava are almost fully booked," said City Hall spokesman Milan Vajda.


Bratislava/Prague
Writer Vojtech Zamarovský dies

VOJTECH Zamarovský, one of Slovakia's best-known non-fiction writers, died in Prague on July 26 at the age of 86.
According to Július Bruna from the Club of Friends of Vojtech Zamarovský, the writer was suffering from Parkinson's disease, and had been in a coma for two months before he died, TASR wrote.
Zamarovský made his literary debut with a historical book of travels on Mesopotamia, Egypt and Greece published in 1960. The book, entitled Towards The Seven Wonders of The World, began a long run of scintillating and original non-fiction titles.
The first work was followed by: Discovering The Land of Troy, Towards The Secrets of The Hittite Empire, At The Dawn, There Was Summer, Gods and Heroes of The Ancient Myths, History as Written by Rome, The Greek Miracle, and Their Majesties - The Pyramids - all of which related to ancient history in a new and original way, and were extremely popular.
Zamarovský also showcased his wide-ranging knowledge of history in TV and film documentaries.
Significantly enough, his book Gods and Heroes of the Ancient Myths" was published in Greece itself, as it was highly regarded by the country's academics.
In all, Zamarovský published more than 250 books which have been translated into 15 languages, with his first one, Towards the Seven Wonders of the World being the best seller. Around two million copies of his books were printed worldwide.
Zamarovský also translated both fiction and non-fiction from Latin, English, French and German into Slovak. His literary activities brought him significant awards both in Slovakia and abroad.


Žilina
Polish tourist hit by lightning

A POLISH tourist was struck and killed instantly by lightning in the Malá Fatra mountains on July 22.
The 36-year-old woman was hiking with her 50-year-old husband on a path between the Malý Rozsutec and Veľký Rozsutec peaks when the lightning struck.
The husband, who suffered shock and burns, was treated in a hospital in Žilina and released the following day, TASR wrote.
The accident was reported to mountain rescuers by a Slovak hiker.
Immediately after the accident, other hikers tried unsuccessfully to resuscitate the woman. When paramedics arrived, another attempt to save her using a defibrillator also failed.
According to the head of Žilina hospital Daniela Bekeová, the husband will have to pay Sk20,580 (€515) for his treatment because he did not have a European Health Insurance Card.
Unless he has proper insurance, the man will also have to pay for the mountain rescue service that transported him to the hospital via helicopter.


Prievidza
Polish national robs electronic goods shop

POLICE have reported the arrest of a 20-year-old man who broke into an electronic goods shop in Prievidza recently, causing damage worth Sk350,000 (€9,100).
Early on the morning July 20, the Polish national used a rock and an axe to smash in the entrance door of the shop on Nedozerská Street. He then grabbed a large number of electronic goods.
Police caught the man later the same day and are holding him in custody on charges of theft and damage to property.


High Tatras
Fires alarm the Tatras

A FIRE broke out in a sensitive forested area of the High Tatras mountains on the morning of July 21 alarming the local authorities.
The Poprad fire brigade was called out shortly before 10:30 a.m. to an nearly inaccessible area between Gerlachovský and Slavkovský peaks.
Initial information suggested that an area of only 25 square metres was on fire, but when the flames spread, an Air Transport Europe helicopter with two fire-fighters on board was called to put out the fire, TASR wrote.
This was the second recent fire in this area of the High Tatras. A blaze broke out on July 19 near Tatranská Polianka, a mountain village.

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