Dealers target children
AS MANY as 20 percent of Slovaks between 15 and 26 years of age have tried cannabis, ecstasy, methamphetamines or other illegal drugs, the Hospodárske noviny wrote on September 13.
First-time drug users are getting younger and younger. Although young people in Bratislava are the ones with the most experience with illegal drugs, drugs have also made their way into the countryside: nearly every village has a dealer.
Slovakia is no longer only a transit country for drugs.
The most widespread and yet tolerated drug remains alcohol. More than three quarters of young people have had experience with alcohol by the time they finish grammar school at the age of 15.
Slovaks travel for education
ALTHOUGH the number of those applying for scholarships could still be greater, the interest in going abroad to study is apparent in Slovakia.
An estimated 15,000 Slovaks do full-time study abroad and pay for it out of their own pockets, according to the Hospodárske noviny.
Other thousands of students do part of their studies abroad thanks to scholarships granted by various programmes. The scholarships are usually granted to students from the higher classes of universities who are given the opportunity to spend one or more terms at a foreign university.
A whole range of grants is provided to Ph.D. candidates. They receive funding from their own universities as well as from NGOs, various foundations, and other foreign organizations. Germany, France, Austria, and the Czech Republic are the most sought-after countries for doctorate candidates.
Catholic bishops: say no to Mormons
THE PERMANENT Council of the Conference of Slovak Bishops (KBS) is urging all Catholics not to sign the petition for the registration of Mormonism in Slovakia, according to the council's statement issued on September 11.
"These days in Slovakia, a concentrated petition campaign by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, i.e. Mormons, aimed at their registration in Slovakia, is taking place. In regards to this, the Permanent Council of KBS warns believers that by signing the petition they would be supporting the Mormon church and the activities of this religious group, whose doctrine is not in accordance with the doctrine of Catholic Church," reads the statement.
For a certain church to be registered, Slovakia's legislation requires that it have at least 20,000 believers before applying.
Representatives of the Mormon church, generally affiliated with the US state of Utah, appealed to possible signatories to sign the petition for the church's registration in the spirit of religious freedom.
KBS has called on all Catholics not to sign the petition in order not to betray the Catholic Church in which they were baptized, reads the statement.
Light rail connection unlikely for Bratislava
THE BUILDING of a light rail link between the Bratislava and Vienna airports would contribute to competition between the two airports, stated the TwoOne consortium, comprised of Vienna airport, the private equity group Penta, and Austrian Raiffeisen Zentralbank.
"It would halve the transfer time from the current 1.5 hours and thus increase competition between airline companies because it would be much easier for passengers to choose either airport based on the services and prices offered by an airline company at the given airport," explained Penta group partner Jozef Oravkin.
However, if the sale of a 66 percent stake in the Bratislava airport to
Bratislava's best-known used bookstore, Antikvariát, recently reopened a little further down on Ventúrska Street.
photo: Jana Liptáková
The TwoOne consortium wanted to expand the current light rail network (from the centre of Vienna to the Vienna airport) to the Bratislava airport, stated Penta investment director Marek Ondrejka. "Passengers from Bratislava could check in when getting on the train in Bratislava and passengers from Vienna could check in when getting on the train in the Vienna city centre and arrive at the Bratislava airport in approximately 45 minutes," said Oravkin. He believes that building a light rail network would attract a portion of Vienna's airline passengers thanks to the reduced transfer time. Oravkin said that the consortium planned to shift about 1 million passengers to the Bratislava airport.
"As things now stand, only the TwoOne consortium would be able to secure a light rail connection between the two airports. No other tender participant would be able to secure it," said Ondrejka. He concluded: "Since the government will probably be the new owner of the Bratislava airport, it will make its own policy for attracting the Vienna market to the Bratislava airport. I do not think it will be very successful."
Customs seizes 9 million cigarettes
CUSTOMS officers confiscated nearly 9 million smuggled cigarettes while checking trucks from China. This, the largest haul of illegal tobacco uncovered so far in the Bratislava region, would have caused some Sk26 million (€692,000) worth of damage to the state, the Nový Čas daily wrote.
Instead of the knitted socks declared in the customs papers, the customs officers discovered nearly 9 million cigarettes in unstamped packets. The contraband was heading for the town of Štúrovo in southern Slovakia, Tomáš Prochocký of the Bratislava Customs Authority informed the daily.
Police are investigating the case.
9/11 exhibition on display
US Ambassador to Slovakia Rodolphe Vallee marked the fifth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York by opening a photo exhibition that captures the events of 9/11 and the days after the tragedy.
For Vallee, the exhibition represents an important historical document. "We were pleasantly surprised and moved by the reactions from all around the world immediately after the tragedy. It is important to think of the consequences of terrorism; remember to keep such acts from repeating themselves," he said.
"The images put a face on the tragedy so that it may never be forgotten and challenge us to act in the interest of freedom, tolerance and respect for human life. Bali, Beslan, Madrid, Istanbul and London are reminders of how important it is to stand up against the common enemy. National governments must be much more efficient in fighting terrorism," he stressed.
He added that a few days after the attack, New York City Museum asked a noted photographer, Joel Meyerowitz, to document the destruction and reconstruction of the Ground Zero site where the twin towers sat.
Developed as a joint project between New York City Museum and Meyerowitz, the exhibition has travelled to 64 countries since 2002. Before arriving in Banská Bystrica, the exhibition had been in the town of Šahy in the western Slovak Nitra region and in the north-eastern Slovak town of Poprad.
"It is only when they see the horrors and consequences of the attacks on the Twin Towers that they will better understand what Americans were experiencing after these tragic events," he said.
Polish workers interested in Slovak jobs
WORKERS from Poland are not just interested in finding jobs in the United Kingdom and Ireland but also in Slovakia at automotive plants and their suppliers, the Hospodárske noviny reported on September 12.
The best option for Poles is South Korean Kia Motors' new plant in the town of Žilina, due to its convenient distance from Poland.
There are already as many as 300 Poles from the south-eastern town of Tarnow who are interested in working in Slovakia.
Polish Ambassador to Slovakia Zenon Kosiniak has confirmed for the daily that Volkswagen Bratislava is also looking for Polish workers.
By 2008 the number of employees working in the car industry in Slovakia should increase by 40,000. Out of that number, 16,000 people would be working directly for car producers, while the remaining 24,000 would be working for their suppliers and sub-suppliers.
More tourists visit Tatras this summer season
MORE THAN a 10 percent growth in the number of tourists has been recorded during the main summer season
THE VÝCHODOSLOVENSKÉ MUSEUM in Košice is exhibiting a unique collection of marionettes in the local Bašta Gallery. Hungarian marionette maker Korngot-Kemény (right) has over 100 displayed there.
Chudý added that the Tatras thus picked up on the successful winter season.
The number of accommodated guests has increased this summer as well as the number of so-
called one-day visitors, which is largely people who come from the local area.
"We recorded some 300,000 accommodated visitors per year in the High Tatras, more than half of whom came in the summer. We estimate the number of one-day visitors at 700,000-800,000," Chudý told TASR.
During the summer months, the number of English-speaking tourists in the Tatras also increased, according to Chudý. They came largely from the UK, US, Canada, as well as from Australia and New Zealand. Most of them are young people who come for hiking.