Around Slovakia

Greenpeace organizes protest at UniBanka Headquarters

THE SLOVAK branch of Greenpeace organized a demonstration on October 13 in front of the Bratislava headquarters of Unibanka, a member of the international UniCredit group.
The demonstration was part of an international protest that was held simultaneously in 23 countries around the world against UniCredit's willingness to co-finance the construction of risky Russian nuclear reactors in Bulgaria.
"The biggest demonstration is taking place in Italy, UniCredit's home country. The main aim of the protest is to persuade UniCredit bosses to discuss the building of the reactors with Greenpeace representatives," Ján Baránek, the coordinator of the campaign, told TASR.
Demonstrations protesting UniCredit's plans to co-finance construction of a nuclear power plant in Belene, Bulgaria were held in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Italy, Lithuania, Hungary, Macedonia, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Austria, Romania, Russia, Greece, Slovakia, Slovenia, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine and the USA.

Drivers should expect changes on roads

SLOVAK drivers can expect amendments to the Road Code. The new law will introduce stricter penalties as well as a number of alternative punishments, the Sme daily reported on October 13.
The first new development in the Road Code bans trucks from overtaking on the Bratislava-Trnava highway. The ban came into effect on Sunday, October 22, and the fine has been set at
Sk2,000 (€54).
As of next year, the Interior Ministry is planning on making it compulsory to have headlights on at all times, as well as increasing fines for violations.
A new system of fines will be introduced that will charge the highest fines for offences that are statistically the main causes of traffic accidents.

Illegal work still flourishing

ILLEGAL labour is still flourishing in Slovakia. According to current estimates, there are as many as 60,000-120,000 illegal workers in the country, Hospodárske Noviny wrote.
Due to this phenomenon, it is predicted that Slovakia's state budget loses hundreds of millions of Slovak crowns annually.
In addition, the unreliability of the state-owned insurer Sociálna Poisťovňa's database systems also complicate efforts to uncover and punish illegal work.
When inspectors from the Labour Ministry find illegal workers, employers often claim that they just haven't managed to register them yet. All employees should be registered with Sociálna Poisťovňa within an eight-day registration period.

New logistics centre opened

THE LOGISTICS centre Westpoint D2 Distribution Park had its grand opening on October 12 near the western Slovak town of Lozorno.
In the first stage, the Czech company Pinnacle completed the construction of a production hall covering 24,000 square metres. By 2009, three additional halls should be completed. A total of 85,000 square metres will be available in the park. The investment in the distribution centre should come to a total of €37 million (Sk1.4 billion).
"At present we are negotiating the details of rental terms with logistics companies that offer services to companies coming from various sectors such as the automotive, electronics, and consumer goods industries.
Two of the companies that will probably make use of the park are producers of electrical components," said one of Pinnacle's co-owners, Roman Rehák, to the SITA news agency.
The main investor is the financial group Merrill Lynch. HVB Bank ensured the project's funding, and ZIPP Bratislava was in charge of construction.

Italian investor plans to building incinerator

AN ITALIAN company called Commi wants to build an incinerator for hospital and municipal waste near Žilina, the company's lawyer Francesco Pollino announced on October 17.
According to Pollino, Commi, based in the city of Ravena, has offered co-operation to several companies. A significant portion of the incinerator could be subsidised by the EU, Pollino says.
"It's too early to estimate the amount of the overall investment, as it depends on the price of land around Žilina. So far, we have presented the project and we are waiting to hear from our potential partners," said Pollino's assistant Beata Flimmelová.
The incinerator will also produce electricity. It could have its own sewage works and use up-to-date technology that would ensure the lowest possible exhaust emissions.
"It's important from the perspective of following the Kyoto Protocol, which was also been signed by Slovakia. The incinerator would help Žilina Hospital, which annually produces some 500 tons of municipal waste that is then transported to Kysucké Nové Mesto or Nitra.
However, non-governmental organizations argue against the economic efficacy of burning waste, adding that it burdens the environment with emissions of strongly toxic materials.
According to Ladislav Hegyi of Priatelia Zeme (Friends of the Earth), investors doing business in the field of incinerators have been consistently holding back [information on] several key problems. "Incinerators produce dangerous waste, which has sometimes been processed incorrectly. The incorrect processing includes inappropriate storage and handling during the burning of waste," said Hegyi, adding that the end result can be water contamination.

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