Around Slovakia

Police detain jewel robbery suspects

Police found jewels stolen in Košice two weeks ago hidden in a dog kennel.
photo: SITA

KOŠICE POLICE have solved a jewel robbery that happened on the night of March 24 in which the thieves got away with gold, jewels and diamonds worth Sk10 million (€300,000). The director of the Regional Police Directorate told the SITA news wire that suspects were detained on March 29 and that police found the jewels hidden in a dog kennel at the home of one of the suspects.
"We are convinced that we found all the stolen jewels. There are signs that the gold should have been delivered to another party so we cannot rule out the possibility that this was a contract theft," the investigation head reported.
One of the three suspects is Daniel J., 30, a former police officer, and the two others, Marek K., 28, and Marek L., 33, are repeat offenders.
The police were not the only ones interested in finding the goods. The criminal underground was also interested in getting their hands on the loot.
"The question was who would get to the jewellery first, the police or the underworld. We made a maximum effort and were faster," said Rudolf Pilarčík, the deputy of the Košice region's police director.
Two of the suspects were already known to the police, the Sme daily wrote on April 2. Marek L. made it onto front pages when the police caught him trying to cross from Hungary to Slovakia illegally carrying 9 kilograms of heroine worth about Sk90 million.
Daniel J. was sacked from the police corps in 2000 after four years of service. All three face up to 15 years in prison.

Thousands of visitors welcome seal twins

Twin seals Čuk and Gek, new arrivals to the Košice Zoo, delighted visitors on April 1.
photo: SITA

SUNNY WEATHER lured thousands of visitors to the Košice Zoo to welcome a set of twin seals - Čuk and Gek, to their new home on April 1.
The zoo has built a new 100-cubic-metre pool for the seals, financed by the city budget and an Sk1 million contribution from U.S. Steel Košice (USSK).
Košice mayor František Knapík attended the ceremony along with USSK president David Lohr and his wife, Zuzana. The Lohrs gave zoo director Štefan Kollár a cheque for Sk60,000, which will cover the twins' food for the whole year.
Čuk and Gek are the first seals in Slovakia and the Košice Zoo received them from Chomutov in the Czech Republic.
"Thanks to a suitable environment, clean water and enough herrings, Čuk and Gek are now well and successfully adapting to their new environment," Kollár told the TASR news wire.
The Košice Zoo is one of Slovakia's four zoos. Its 288 hectares makes it the biggest zoo in Slovakia and the third largest in Europe, the SITA news wire wrote.

Slovak is third best Sudoku solver in the world

PETER HUDÁK of Slovakia won the bronze at the second World Sudoku Championship, which ended in Prague on March 31. Hudák's success was not a fluke, as he was among the finalists at last year's competition as well.
Thomas Snyder of the US won the competition and Juhei Kusui of Japan came in second. In the team category, Japan came in first, the US second, and the Czech Republic third.
The competition was attended by 140 puzzle enthusiasts from 32 countries.

Playwright Roman Olekšák wins prize in Prague

SLOVAK FILM DIRECTOR and playwright Roman Olekšák won third prize in the 'Alfréd Radok Awards 2006' in the drama category for his play Mesto v Protismere.
The ceremony took place in Prague on March 31.
Czech playwright Kateřina Rudčenková won second in the same category with her play Niekur. A first prize in the drama category was not awarded this year.
The Alfréd Radok Awards are presented annually for achievements in the Czech theatre scene in several categories, including the Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Play, and Talent categories.
Winners are selected by theatre critics.

New season starts at Bratislava Zoo

The Bratislava Zoo started a new season on April 1.
"The zoo is prepared for the new season," zoo director Miloslava Šavelova told the SITA news wire.
However, there is still some work to be done.
"We plan to repair some fences, but we will not work during opening hours," she said.
The zoo is organising an open house on April 21 and 22, during which it plans to ceremonially welcome white tigers, the only ones in Slovakia. Other attractions and new exhibits at the zoo's Dinopark will be made available on May 1.
The Bratislava Zoo wants to start building a new pavilion for primates and launch a project for the African complex this year. Other priorities include building a new facility for bears and penguins.

Low Tatras host St. Bernard dog show

St. Bernards can weigh up to 100 kilograms, and are known as loyal, family dogs.
photo: ČTK

THE DONOVALY ski centre was turned into a fair grounds hosting the World Union of St. Bernard Clubs' annual exhibition on March 31.
Breeders from 17 countries came to show off their pets. A total of 143 St. Bernard dogs, ranging from puppies to adults weighing around 100 kilograms, were on display. Forty of the dogs came from Slovak breeders with the rest hailing from, among other countries, the Czech Republic, Estonia and Hungary. The fair had more than 5,000 visitors, the TASR news wire wrote.
The five-year-old, long-haired Felix von Kaiserturn of Italy was recognised as the most beautiful dog at the exhibition.
"The St. Bernard dog is an affectionate and loyal breed. They particularly love children," said the fair's organizer, Vladimír Kľačan.
However, they no longer come to the rescue of people caught in avalanches, with a wooden keg of brandy hanging from their neck.

Got a craving for crickets?

ŠTEFAN ŠNAJDER breeds millions of crickets at his home near Zvolen every year.
The insects, which can grow up to three centimetres long, then go into Slovak terrariums as fodder for birds, fish, tarantulas, chameleons and snakes.
"I got the idea to farm crickets from my friend, who had a chameleon but had nothing to feed him," Šnajder told the TASR news wire. He remodelled an old house near the city to accommodate his new pastime and since then his hobby has taken off.
"I can say that crickets now earn me a living," he said.
Šnajder sells crickets by the litre all across Slovakia. One litre is equal to around 1,000 crickets. It takes about six weeks for a cricket to grow to proper size, but Šnajder admits he also sells smaller ones that are only a few millimetres big.
Restaurant owners have recently started taking an interest in crickets as well, with some Czech restaurants offering these insects on their menu. However, Šnajder said he has yet to receive an order from them.

Pezinok hosts 4th annual kapustnica festival

A TEAM led by Europe's new indoor shot-put champion, Mikuláš Konopka from Želiezovce, won the 4th annual kapustnica cook-off in Pezinok on March 31.
Thirty-five teams from both Slovakia and the Czech Republic came to cook kapustnica, a traditional Slovak soup made from sour cabbage, sausages and other ingredients. The teams cooked their own versions of the soup on open fires in 50-litre pots. After the competition visitors were invited to join in the tasting.
Milan Belka of the winning team revealed their recipe when the competition was over. They used a goulash base and started by frying pieces of pork with onion and garlic in lard. Water, sour cabbage and spices were then added. The kapustnica was served with sour cream and meatballs cooked in cabbage.

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