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Slovakia
Is your dog insured?

Insurance companies in Slovakia have launched products aimed at insuring dogs and other pets.
photo: Jana Liptáková

IN AN effort to sign up as many clients as possible, insurance companies in Slovakia have expanded their service portfolios to cover pets.
The Slovak branch of the Česká Pojišťovna insurance company, Česká Poisťovňa-Slovensko, launched its new special product, pet insurance, on June 4.
According to the Pravda daily, the insurance covers the cost of visits to the vet and damage by the pet to other persons or property, but not theft of the pet.
Česká Poisťovňa-Slovensko director Antonín Nekvinda estimates the number of dogs in Slovakia at around 1.6 million, and said he expects between 2,000 and 5,000 insurance policies to be signed this year.
The annual insurance premium starts at Sk2,115 and can rise up to Sk10,000.
The insurance policy is valid in all of Europe, except the provision about covering the cost of veterinary treatment, which is valid only in Slovakia.


Slovakia
Low birth rate paints bleak future for Slovaks

SLOVAKIA in its current form will disappear from the world map within 300 years, the Nový Čas daily cited experts as saying on June 8. In an article about the country's low birth rate, the daily quoted experts who warned that if Slovaks don't take an interest in their population's future, the entire could disappear by the beginning of the 24th century. The daily itself considers the scenario highly improbable, but used it to raise the issue of Slovakia's low birth rate.
The experts claim the consequences of a low birth rate have already had an effect over the last 13 years. As the population has shrunk, so has the group of potential parents. Then the population will grow older, which will lead to the last Slovak disappearing around the year 2300. "This is purely hypothetical, but it points out the seriousness of the situation," demographer Boris Vaňo of the Infostat Institute told Nový Čas.
Nevertheless, Vaňo believes Slovakia will never actually vanish completely. "This cannot happen. Society adapts its functions and responses to crisis situations."
Also, if not enough Slovaks are born, immigrants will fill the vacancies. "There won't be any vacant territory, just somebody else to fill it."
To make sure a population crisis doesn't occur, and that the country doesn't become dependent on immigrants, the state must change its attitude to young families. "As long as there is no package of services or measures that prevent parents from perceiving children as a burden, nothing will change," Vaňo told the daily.


Bratislava
Ecological three-wheelers cruise through capital

Tourists and Bratislavans alike can use Trixi vehicles for transport through the streets of the capital.
photo: TASR

FIVE three-wheelers were released onto city streets in Bratislava on June 11, making Slovakia the 18th country in the world in which such vehicles operate during the summer season, from April to October.
The three-wheelers, or so-called trixi mobiles, are an initiative of the Greenways programme (Ways for A Healthy Life) announced by the Ekopolis Foundation in 2004. The programme's mission is to support healthy living through the creation of paths for recreation, sports, and non-motorized transport.
Since 2004, the Greenways programme has supported adjustments to 175 km of paths. Last year, 115 kilometres of paths were improved between Bratislava and Moravský Svätý Ján, close to Turčianske Teplice, between Zvolen and Banská Bystrica and in Prešov.
Henrieta Hrinková from the Ekopolis Foundation told the TASR news wire that trixi vehicles are classified as bicycles. "They are equipped with an electric engine and their maximum speed is 25 km per hour," said Hrinková. The cabin is made of polyethylene, which can be re-cycled completely. The vehicle can take three people - one driver and two passengers.
The three-wheelers are three metres long and weigh 144 kg. They have been produced in Berlin since 1997. At the present time, they can be seen in almost every European capital.
Trixies will serve locals as well as tourists, who just need to flag down the driver. They have stands at Mlynské Nivy bus station, SNP Square, Kamenné Square, Ľ. Štúr Square, in the passenger port at the Danube embankment and in Aupark.


Bratislava
Masturbating Englishman released from jail

YOUNG Briton Steven George Mallone, who spent two months in a Slovak jail for masturbating in a Bratislava fountain while drunk, has been sent home. The Regional Court in the Slovak capital released Mallone from prison on June 7 following his appeal, the Sme daily wrote. He must still wait for the final verdict, but can do so in his home country.
The court has yet to schedule a hearing to decide the young man's sentence, but will do so in his absence, and have him serve it in Great Britain, his lawyer confirmed.
Mallone was detained after bathing and masturbating in the fountain in front of the historical Slovak National Theatre at Hviezdoslavovo Square on the evening of May 26. A breath test registered 0.63 mg/l of alcohol, which is 1.3 pro mille.
The Briton arrived in Bratislava for his stag party, and is returning in time for his wedding, which is planned for June 15. The question is whether his fiance still wants to marry him, the Nový Čas daily wrote.


Tatranská Lomnica
Stork family nests below High Tatras

A pair of storks is building their nest in Tatranská Lomnica at the altitude of 850m.
photo: SITA

THE warm weather and the view of the beautiful surroundings are probably the reasons why a pair of storks has chosen to nest in a chimney of the Lomnica Hotel in Tatranská Lomnica, a town in the High Tatras.
"I observed the storks flying above Tatranská Lomnica for several days," Marián Macurák from the state forest company Štátne Lesy TANAP told the SITA news wire. "At first, I thought they were looking for food, but one morning I heard them clattering during a walk."
The storks have breathed new life into the hotel, which has been abandoned for years.
Storks have been spotted flying above villages in the High Tatras in previous years, but it's rare for a pair to nestle in Tatranská Lomnica, in the foothills of the High Tatras. "It's uncommon for storks to nest at such an altitude," said zoologist Jozef Kováč of Štátne Lesy TANAP. The occurrence could be the result of the he windstorm that hit the area in November 2004, resulting in the kind of large open spaces storks prefer. "Moreover, they have enough food here."
Only time will tell whether the storks will chose to hatch their young in Tatranská Lomnica. This depends on the weather, as well as the amount of food. It remains possible that they will leave after a new forest grows there.


Komárno
Jewish community mourns deportations

The Komárno Jewish community recently marked the 63rd anniversary of the first deportation of local Jews.
photo: TASR

THE JEWISH community in Komárno led the town in commemorating the 63rd anniversary of the deportation of its Jews at the local Jewish cemetery on June 10, the TASR news wire wrote.
In his speech, Chief Rabbi Péter Kardos from Budapest marked the first transport of Jews from Komárno in 1944 and stressed the importance of never forgetting the event.
Ladislav Urban, a Holocaust survivor sent to the Bergen-Belsen camp in Germany when he was 10 years old, recalled that 2,170 people were deported from Komárno and its surroundings, which at that time had 3,500 Jews and two synagogues.
It now has around 60 members, most of whom are elderly. The Jewish community in Komárno is one of the last 12 communities in Slovakia.
During the Second World War, about 70,000 of Slovakia's 90,000 Jews were deported. Only a fraction of them survived and returned.

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