Around Slovakia

Police round up masterminds behind illegal betting scheme

POLICE encircled the main grandstand of the Bratislava racecourse on June 24 as part of Operation Derby, which was set up to root out illegal betting. More than 30 police officers, including a riot unit, ordered around a hundred visitors to surrender. In the end, 18 suspects were arrested.
Tatiana Kurucová from the Bratislava regional police told SITA that of the 18, three face charges of operating an illegal betting scheme.
Betting at the Bratislava racecourse may only be conducted through a subsidiary of the Tipos Tipkurz lottery company.

High Tatras
Falling rocks injure six tourists

FALLING ROCKS in the High Tatras hit a family of Czech tourists that had been climbing between the Malá and Veľká Studená valleys via the Priečne pass on June 24, seriously injuring some of them.
Rescuers received notice of the incident at 12:53, the SITA news wire wrote. Air Transport Europe of Poprad dispatched a doctor immediately, but soon after his arrival another rockslide occurred, destroying all the medical equipment.
Fortunately, the doctor still managed to rescue the most seriously injured member of the party, 68-year-old Jaroslav, who was unconscious after having suffered numerous injuries to the head and limbs. He was immediately taken to a hospital in Poprad, as were his wife and their two children, who sustained minor injuries.
Two other tourists were also slightly injured by the rocks, which fell over an area 100 metres long and 50 metres wide.

Recovered eagle set free

NATURE preservationists released a four-year-old female eagle in Lehnice on June 20. The eagle had been brought in three weeks before, suffering from five bullet wounds.
After undergoing surgery at the veterinary clinic in Trnava, the eagle was sent to a rehabilitation centre run by the Protection of Birds of Prey in Slovakia in Zázrivá. Once it had recovered completely, Ján Orlovský from the regional energy distributor Západoslovenská Energetika, which supports the Protection Birds of Prey in Slovakia, led a short ceremony during which they set the bird free.
"The imperial eagle is one of the most endangered birds of prey in Europe," Jozef Chavko from the Protection of Birds of Prey in Slovakia said. "About 40 pairs of this species nest in Slovakia; we monitor almost all of them intensively. Upon looking at the injured bird's identification ring, I realized I had first come across it in 2003, in Považský Inovec."
Slovakia and Hungary are the only countries in Europe to contain sizeable imperial eagle populations.
The person who shot the eagle did so in violation of several laws, and has already been charged.
"Hunters do not like eagles because, as birds of prey, they have an effect on the amount of hunting animals," said Chavko. But these birds also serve an important role as scavengers, cleansing nature, he added.
The value of an eagle has been calculated at Sk120,000 (€3,500).
"This eagle was lucky, but 10 others who were found over the last two months were shot dead in their nests," Chavko said.

Farmers show off their skill with a scythe

Past winner Lukáš Jánuška tried hard to win the top prize in the Over 50 category of this year's grass cutting championship in Terchová, but went home with second place instead.
photo: TASR

NEARLY 30 Moravian and Slovak farmers met in the picturesque village of Terchová on June 23 to take part in the eighth annual Slovak and World Grass Cutting Championship, in which contestants compete to see who can cut the most grass with a scythe.
Though cutting grass with a scythe is traditionally men's work in Slovakia, the contest had both male and female participants, as it is becoming more common in some regions to see women mowing.
"The female contestants do this chore at home," the competition's director, František Kadaš, told SITA. "so this isn't the first time they've held a scythe."
This year was the first time women were counted as official contestants. "Up to now, they've only competed for fun, but this year it was an official part of the competition," Kadaš said.
Mária Rádzová from Hruštín was one of the four female competitors. She trains with the scythe regularly because she cuts grass to feed her goat.
Rádzová said that men's reaction to her participation has not been entirely negative. "Women cut grass in our region, so it is no disaster," she said.
In the contest, men had to mow a 50 square-metre field, women, a 25 square metre one, and teams had to mow 100 square metres.
Ján Mešťan from Heľpa won in the Under 50 category with a time of two minutes and 10 seconds. Ľubomír Košút from Klín was the best in the Over 50 category, finishing in one minute and 47 seconds. Local Emília Podhorská was named the fastest in the Women category, cutting all the grass in her field in 1 minute and 22 seconds. Local team Terchovskí Jánošíci won in the Team category.

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