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Považská Bystrica
New traffic control system put into operation

Transport Minister Ľubomír Vážny visited the new control centre.
photo: TASR

A computerised traffic control system was launched in Považská Bystrica on March 9. It controls the busy crossroads in the town centre and will make traffic between Bratislava and Žilina as fluid as possible.
The system of sensors, cameras, traffic signs and software, which is able to assess the traffic situation on the roads and predict traffic jams, cost almost Sk100 million. Up to this point, policemen have done this work, manually controlling traffic signals.
Traffic expert Peter Bánovec, who participated on the development of the system, told the SITA news wire that the system works on two levels. Sensors on the crossroads measure traffic intensity and keep the lights green for a longer time when there is heavy traffic. Cameras and sensors also monitor traffic coming into and going out of town. If the crossroads are too crowded, electronic signs outside town recommend drivers to use bypasses and avoid the crossroads.
There is still a 10-kilometre stretch of freeway that is yet to be built above Považská Bystrica. It is already obvious that this freeway, which the former Mikuláš Dzurinda government promised the South Korean auto manufacturer Kia would be completed by the fall of 2006, will be complete in 2010 at the very earliest.
The new traffic system should help alleviate traffic and make the drive between Žilina and Bratislava a bit faster.

As many as 30 percent of Slovaks suffer from stress

AS MANY as 30 percent of adult Slovaks reported feeling stressed over the last six months while the other 70 percent said that they felt more or less alright, reported a survey that the ACRC polling agency conducted on a sample of 1,000 respondents.
The survey showed that people living in larger towns and cities, in particular Prešov and Banská Bystrica, felt more stressed than those living in villages.
Citizens of municipalities with a population of less than 5,000 had less stress, with only around 21 percent reporting feeling stressed, while the percentage of people living in large towns was reported being twice as high.
Private businessmen and employees felt the best, with 40 percent claiming that their lives are completely stress-free.
The main reason given for stress was work-related issues, and the second most common reason was financial problems.

Prisoners to make furniture for the Special Court

INMATES will manufacture furniture for the Special Court's refurbished building in Pezinok. This is part of the Justice Ministry's new project that sees prisoners making furniture for courts and the judiciary.
"The era of overpriced purchases and non-transparent public procurements in the Justice Ministry is over," Justice Minister Štefan Harabin told the TASR news wire.
An investigation demonstrated that the costs of furnishing houses for Special Court justices and prosecutors were Sk4 million higher than they could have been. The prosecution is also dealing with this case. A further reason for the Justice Ministry's project is to employ prisoners.
Harabin promised that overpriced purchases of furnishings, as happened in the case of the special justices' villas, will not be repeated while he is in office.
"With this new project we will increase the employment of prisoners and avoid any non-transparency during purchases. One should realize that a higher employment rate for prisoners is also very important for their re-educational process and their re-integration into society," added Harabin.

Castle hill is sliding down

THE CASTLE hill in Nitra is sliding down. Measurements taken by the town some years ago confirmed the movement. The hill is full of catacombs and its southern part sits on an unsteady layer of added clay. The recent clearing of trees, whose roots partly reinforced the slope, has contributed to the erosion. The town had to thin the forest because it was too dense.
Nitra started reinforcing the castle hill in 2003. It spent about Sk15 million on a supporting wall with steel railings and completely reconstructed the path and stairs leading from the castle to Podzámska Street. In 2005 the city started construction on the lower supporting wall along with Podzámska Street. The wall will measure four metres from its foundation to its top, and will be panelled with stone.
"We need to construct 55 metres. The city budget only allocated money for the project this year. Costs will come to Sk15 million. We would like to start work in April and finish in September," Vladimír Derka from Nitra town council told the SITA news wire.

Žilina district has the most intoxicated drivers

A CRACKDOWN on intoxicated drivers that took place in the Žilina region during the first week of March has proved that drunk driving checks are definitely needed.
During the project, police detained as many as 40 drivers who were under the influence of alcohol and confiscated their driving licences, the SITA news wire reported. This was seventeen more than the previous week. Two drivers refused a breathalyzer. In addition to losing their driving licence, the intoxicated drivers also received fines.
The police caught the highest number of drunk drivers, 11, in Žilina district. The town of Dolný Kubín reported only three confiscated licences, the lowest number found in any one town.
Drunk driving is considered an offence and can result in the driver's loss of their license. The driver will also lose their licence if they refuse a breathalyzer. The district transportation inspectorate can impose a fine of up to Sk15,000 and suspend a drunk driver's license for up to two years.

Operation on unborn child saved its life

Katarína Karaffová at a press conference reporting her daughter's successful operation.
photo: TASR

A UNIQUE operation undertaken on little Adela while she was still in her mother's womb has saved her life. Doctors discovered during her mother's 18th week of pregnancy that Adela was suffering from a very serious lack of development of the left pulmonary lobe as a consequence of a missing part of the diaphragm. The mother, 24-year-old Katarína Karaffová, underwent two operations at the neonatal centre in Leuven, Belgium. Only 80 such operations have been carried out on unborn children in Europe so far.
"The unborn child's chances without an operation were minimal. By putting a plug into baby's airways, the under-developed lobe expanded. After the birth, the missing diaphragm was replaced by a material similar to Gore-Tex, which will be replaced as the child grows," said Dr. Peter Krcho, Chief of the Clinic of Neonatology of the Faculty of Medicine and the Children's Faculty Hospital in Košice, at a press conference on March 5.
The girl was born on February 17 by c-section in the 34th week of pregnancy.
After her two pre-birth operations and one after she was born, little Adela is recovering well.
"It was a very difficult decision, but it was worth undergoing all the troubles and difficulties that came with it," said Karaffová. She is happy that little Adela is alive and has a hope of continued healthy development.

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