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Around Slovakia

Nitra
Customs officers find 1,971 ecstasy tablets in car

CUSTOMS officers busted an illegal drug ring on August 14, customs spokesperson Kristína Vavríkova revealed last week.
Officers in Nitra stopped a Volkswagen Golf in a parking lot near a Tesco store containing 1,971 tablets of ecstasy with a street value of Sk600,000 (€16,035). The driver, a 22-year-old man identified as Stanislav S, had borrowed the car to carry the drugs, Vavríkova said.
The car was searched, and two sealed plastic bags were found under the dashboard. The bags contained tablets with a Puma logo and weighed 412 grams. A single ecstasy tablet costs about Sk300 in Slovakia, the TASR news agency wrote.
The drugs were probably transported to Slovakia from the Netherlands via Germany and the Czech Republic. The Netherlands is considered the largest producer of ecstasy in Europe.
The case was passed to an investigator with the Nitra Regional Police, who charged the man with the unauthorised production, possession and sale of narcotics and hallucinogenic substances. The crime carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison without parole.


Bešeňová
Army day

OVER 4,000 people attended an event called "A Day with the Slovak Armed Forces" that took place at the local

WWII veterans looking at old photos during celebrations on the 62nd anniversary of the Slovak National Uprising in Banská Bystrica on August 29.
photo: ČTK - Samuel Kubáni

spa in the village of Bešeňová near the town of Ružomberok in northern Slovakia on August 19.
Visitors had a chance to see army equipment and learn about various self-defence techniques, dog training and a number of military-police activities.
"We also told visitors about the military university in Liptovský Mikuláš," army spokesman Milan Vanga told the TASR news agency.
The event was organized by the General Staff of the Slovak Armed Forces in co-operation with the communications department of the Defence Ministry and the Eurocom Investment company, which owns the spa in Bešeňová.


Turzovka
New record for eating Horalka biscuits

SOME 900 people in the village of Turzovka in northern Slovakia's Žilina region set a new Slovak record for eating Horalka biscuits, which are popular in both the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
The participants in the "Horalka-eating relay race" ate the chocolate biscuits in pairs for a total of 12 hours on August 19.
According to Igor Svítok, commissioner of the Slovak Book of Records, if the biscuits eaten by the participants had been placed end to end, they would have formed a line 108.9 metres in length. Stacked up, they would have formed a tower 18.81 metres high.
Among those taking part in the event was Slovak President Ivan Gašparovič, who ate one biscuit as a token of support.


Humenné
Ex-presidents receive honorary citizenships from town

THE TOWN of Humenné in eastern Slovakia's Prešov region bestowed honorary citizenships on current Slovak President Ivan Gašparovič and former presidents Rudolf Schuster and Michal Kováč in mid-August.
Certificates of citizenship are to be presented to the recipients on September 14 at a ceremonial meeting of the town council.
According to council member Ivan Hopta, a former member of the parliamentary Slovak Communist Party, Gašparovič received the most votes, with Schuster receiving two fewer votes, and Kováč getting only two votes more than the number required, even though he comes from the nearby village of Lubiša.
The idea of giving the presidents the honour was hatched by Mayor Vladimír Kostilník. The award is given to Slovak citizens or foreigners who have made a significant contribution to the town's development, protected its interests, given it a good name abroad, or enriched people's lives via exceptionally creative activities.


Bratislava
Japanese tourists flown into capital

OVER 300 Japanese tourists arrived on the first charter flight from Japan to Bratislava for an eight-day stay in

A series of Around Slovakia 2006 races started on August 30 in Stropkov. The tour ends on September 3 in Skalica.
photo: TASR

Slovakia on August 18.
According to Agnesa Klímová from the Slovak Tourist Board (SACR), the event was a pilot project to boost the annual number of Japanese visitors to Slovakia.
The Japanese tourists, who were flown in by Japan Airlines, visited various Slovak towns and cities including Košice, Banská Bystrica and Prešov, as well as national landmarks such as Spiš Castle and the Dobšiná Ice Cave, and traditional villages such as Vlkolínec and Čičmany.
SACR, Klímová said, is working on another project scheduled for the end of September: A visit to the tourist fair in the Japanese capital, Tokyo.
"We expect that a total of 20 exhibitors from the Visegrad Four countries will participate in a joint booth," she told the TASR news agency.


Bratislava
Where's the millionaire?

SLOVAKIA is looking for its latest multi-millionaire. The person who picked all six jackpot numbers and won nearly Sk30 million in a recent Tipos lottery draw never showed up to collect his winnings.
All that is known of the winner is that the person bought the ticket on July 17 in Bratislava's Karlova Ves district, the Hospodárske noviny paper wrote.
The company set a deadline of 16:00 on August 23 for the winner to collect the cash, but nobody showed up.
The case is unique in Slovakia's lottery history.
"In the course of the year, a large number of winnings fall through [are uncollected], but usually these are smaller sums of Sk50 to Sk100. It's incredible that no-one picked up these winnings, however," said Tipos' lottery and trade section director, Milan Homoľa.
It is suspected that the person lost the winning ticket.
The highest sums that have gone uncollected so far in Slovakia are around Sk100,000. Tipos uses such money to pay out new winnings.


Bratislava-Petržalka
Mayoral election results invalid

T HE ELECTIONS that took place on May 13 in the Bratislava suburb of Petržalka for the post of mayor were invalid, a plenary meeting of the Constitutional Court decided in Košice on August 23.
The court thus ruled in favour of the four unsuccessful candidates in the May vote, who had petitioned the court over irregularities during the election, which was won by Peter Matuška.
It was revealed that Matuška's supporters, who stood outside the polling stations on May 13, had given voters free clothing irons and had urged them to vote for their candidate. In addition, Matuška was accused of violating the election moratorium, under which no campaigning is allowed within 48 hours of an election. A banner promoting Matuška's nomination was towed by a plane over Petržalka on the very day of the election.
Matuška rejected the ruling and said he was prepared to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
The other candidates, including Ladislav Snopko, Ján Kotuľa, and Milan Ftáčnik, welcomed the decision of the Constitutional Court.
Ftáčnik, who came second in the election, losing by a mere 128 votes to Matuška, said that a respected court authority had justly declared the election a fraud.
"The court clearly showed that winning a public vote by fraud doesn't pay in the end," the former education minister (1998-2002) said.
Petržalka is now being run by Deputy Mayor Viera Kimerlingová, who also welcomed the court's verdict. She will likely stay in her post until new regular municipal elections are held around Slovakia on December 2, 2006.


Červený Kláštor
Footbridge opened on Slovak-Polish border

A NEW footbridge linking the village of Červený Kláštor in Eastern Slovakia's Prešov region and Poland's Sromowce Nizne over the Dunajec River was opened by Červený Kláštor Mayor Štefan Dzurný on August 12.
The idea of spanning the Dunajec was first conceived back in 1914.
Construction of the 150m-long, 2.5m-wide bridge began in May this year and cost a total of Sk28 million (€748,000), half of which was furnished by the European Union and the remainder by the regions concerned.
"The footbridge will help boost tourism, accommodation and catering possibilities, and help the communities on both sides of the border. We have clearly bet on tourism," Dzurný told TASR.
A ceremony staged on the Polish side of the border was attended mainly by Červený Kláštor residents, who had been anxiously awaiting the footbridge.

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