Around Slovakia

Rescue service not required to swim

Rescuers only watched as a body floated by them at Kuchajda Lake in Bratislava.
photo: Jana Liptáková

A PASSING cyclist saw a body floating in Bratislava's Kuchajda Lake on April 7. He called the rescue service but was disappointed when the rescuers did not jump into the water to rescue the victim, but only watched from a pier as the body floated beneath them, the Nový Čas daily reported.
"After a while, rescue divers arrived with a boat and took her from the water," an eye-witness told the daily. According to another eye-witness, it took about 17 minutes before the woman was taken from the water.
"The woman was about 10 metres from the bank," said a rescue diver who was present. "When we pulled her into the boat, she opened eyes and tried to say something."
The medical rescuers resuscitated the 76-year-old Irena M. and took her to Ružinov Hospital. Renáta Andrejčáková, the doctor on duty at the hospital, told the daily on April 9 that the woman was in critical condition.
"Medical rescuers are not obliged to jump into the water to save a drowning person," Ján Kovalčík, a doctor at the Bratislava Rescue Service centre, told Nový Čas. "Moreover, not all of them have undergone special training for water rescues. And what's more, their ambulances are not equipped for rescuing people from the water."

Astorka celebrates 17th anniversary in Australia

THE BRATISLAVA-BASED Astorka Korzo '90 theatre has celebrated its 17th birthday. However, the party was held on the other side of the world.
Seven members of the theatre, including director Vlado Černý, went to Australia to perform Na Koho to Slovo Padne (On Whom the Lot Falls...) by Gábor Görgey for Slovak expats.
"The beginning of the trip was very difficult," said Černý at a press conference held after their return. "In the end we were able to set off thanks to Vlado Hatala and our other compatriots."
Actor Lukáš Latinák's breaking his leg before the trip complicated things but he was promptly replaced by co-actor Miro Noga. Visas, which were received only two days before departure, were another cause of tension.
All seven actors enjoyed their first visit to Australia very much. Even though their names were unknown to the local Czech and Slovak community, a lot of interest was shown and both shows in Sydney were sold out.
"Slovaks and Czechs understood us," said actor Marián Miezga. "Other nationalities got it as well because it is a communicative performance."
On April 17, the artists will perform Na Koho to Slovo Padne, which they first rehearsed as students in 1998, for the 150th time. The performance takes place at the Astorka, and is already sold out.

Červený Kameň
Falconry at Červený Kameň

The Astur Falconry group at Červený Kameň recently added...
photo: Jana Liptáková

VISITORS to Červený Kameň Castle, situated near Modra in western Slovakia, were able to enjoy shows put on by falconers from the local Astur group together with the Falconers of St. Bavon from Banská Štiavnica during the Days of Falconry held on April 7 and 8.
At the castle, the falconers showed visitors new birds that have come into their care, including a snowy owl and birds of prey from Mexico. The Astur group has the biggest collection of birds of prey in Slovakia.



...Hedviga, a snowy owl, to its collection of birds of prey.
photo: Jana Liptáková






Asian fish poses threat to locals

UNWELCOME GUESTS have invaded the rivers of eastern Slovakia. The Amur sleeper, or Perccottus glenii, has been found in the Tisa and Latorica Rivers. It reproduces quickly and squeezes out native species, the Aktuá news server wrote.
Mikuláš Oros, an expert from the Slovak Academy of Sciences, said it has also brought new kinds of tapeworms with it.
"Amur sleeper has been expanding through the rivers," said Oros. "It is a very resistant and adaptable species."
It is known to liquidate native species of fish, mainly by eating their young. However, it is not too picky about its diet and also enjoys frogs.
The Asian fish usually grows to between 12 and 16 centimetres. It is particularly dangerous because it could introduce the Asian tapeworm into the environment, which could have a negative impact on existing species. Experts have not yet found traces of new tapeworms in native fish species but also say they cannot exclude this possibility.
"We carry out a monthly inspection of the fish population, also checking for this tapeworm, of course," said Oros.
Vets are studying the new fish also.
"The fish probably got here on its own," said vet Peter Košuth from the University of Veterinary Medicine in Košice. "But global warming might also have contributed to it."
Košuth's team has received a grant from the EU to finance their study of the Amur sleeper.
The first known sighting in Slovakia happened in 1999.

Bratislava region most popular among tourists

THE NUMBER of tourists in Slovakia increased by 4.5 percent over 2005 to more than 3.5 million in 2006. The largest number of tourists, 840,800, stayed in the Bratislava Region, which is an increase of 6.9 percent year-on-

This picture from Selec, near Trenčín, shows Easter traditions are alive and well in villages despite fading in larger towns and cities.
photo: TASR

year. The number of foreign visitors to the Bratislava Region also rose, to 511,300, which is an increase of 8.2 percent year-on-year, the Economy Ministry's tourism policy department reported.
Prešov was the second most popular region, reporting over 647,000 tourists last year, followed by the Žilina Region with 652,800 visitors. The lowest number of tourists, namely 215,700, visited the Nitra Region. The Trnava Region was visited by 237,000 tourists and the Trenčín Region by 260,800. The Košice Region reported 306,000 tourists and the Banská Bystrica Region 423,700.
Tourist accommodation facilities in Slovakia reported sales of Sk7 billion (€209 million) last year. This is an increase of 10.6 percent in current prices as compared to 2005. From this amount, foreign tourists paid Sk4.3 billion (€128 million), which is 8 percent more than in 2005. Their share in total sales dropped by 1.4 percentage points to 62.2 percent, the Slovak Statistics Office reported. Hotels and boarding houses reported revenues of Sk5.8 billion (€128 million), 66.8 percent of which came from foreign tourists.
The average period of stay at an accommodation facility remained unchanged at 4.1 days. At the end of December 2006, 2,490 facilities provided accommodation services in Slovakia. In total they operated 48,200 rooms with 124,300 beds.

Young man survives fall from fourth floor

A 31-YEAR-OLD resident of northern Slovakia's Poprad got a second lease on life in mid March when he survived a fall from his fourth-floor apartment without any serious injuries.
Neighbours called the emergency services after they heard noises coming from a tree next to an eight-storey apartment block. They assumed that somebody had jumped from the window, the TASR news wire wrote.
"When we arrived on the spot, a police patrol was already there. A bare-foot young man in a sweater and jeans was standing between two policemen, looking a bit addled and clearly intoxicated," said Silvia Zemková, the head of the rescue team sent from the Poprad Emergency Medical Service.
The man did not complain about any pain. He told the police and the emergency workers that he had neither intended to jump from the window nor to harm himself.
In the apartment were found two children and a sleeping wife, who only woke up after the police arrived.
"The evergreen below the apartment window probably broke the man's fall," said Zemková. "He only had scratches on his back."

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