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Slovakia
Slovaks support smoking ban in public places

IN A RECENT survey by the Synovate polling agency, almost 80 percent of Slovaks, smokers and non-smokers, supported banning smoking in public places.
One-third of the respondents said they support the ban because they do not like smoky environments. Smokers who expressed their support said they would eat out more often and have more fun if a ban were in place.
On the other side were 39 percent of respondents, who said a ban would amount to discrimination against smokers. One-quarter of the respondents think the ban would be another example of government interference into people's private lives.
More than 60 percent of the respondents view a smoking ban as an appropriate way to help smokers who wish to quit, and 12 percent think people have the right to smoke anywhere, anytime.
As many as 78 percent of the respondents said that smoking in public is acceptable when there is good ventilation and the smoking section is separate from the non-smoking section. Women prefer non-smoking places.


Bratislava
Napoleon's invasion of Bratislava re-enacted

Military buffs re-enacted Napoelon's 1809 siege of Bratislava at Sad Janka Kráľa Park in Petržalka.
photo: TASR

DEAFENING cannon shots, the smell of gunpowder, heavy smoke and battle cries were the sights and sounds as Austrian soldiers battled the Napoleonic army, which attempted to conquer Bratislava from June 29 to July 1.
Fortunately, this was not a real battle, but a re-enactment of the siege of Bratislava in 1809 held in Sad Janka Kráľa Park on the Petržalka side of the Danube. Over the course of the weekend, over 200 military buffs re-enacted the battle dressed in period uniforms and using antique guns.
"We organised this to show that Bratislava has a significant place in military history, and is more than just a coronation capital," Petržalka Mayor Milan Ftáčnik told the TASR newswire on June 30. "We will leave the speculation on whether Napoleon was or was not personally in Petržalka to historians. What's certain is that his army was here. And in two years, we will mark the 200th anniversary of this with an even bigger event."
The siege of Bratislava was part of an extensive military operation in the Austro-French War of 1809. From May 21 to 22, 1809, Napoleon came close to reaching the left bank of the Danube during a battle near Astern, which is now part of Vienna. This was the first defeat of his career. On June 1, 22,000 men under Marshal Davout moved up the embankment toward Bratislava and were later followed by troops under Napoleon's stepson, Eugene Beauharnais.
Austrian imperial units built a fortified bridgehead on the right bank of the Danube (where Sad Janka Kráľa park is now) that Napoleon's army failed to take. Bratislava fell on July 14, after the Austrian army lost battles at Wagram and Znojmo.
The battles deeply scarred Bratislava. Petržalka was burned to the ground, and artillery attacks left 143 houses in rubble. Hundreds of people were killed.
Some of the buildings in the Old Town, for example the Old City Hall, still have cannon balls stuck in them, a constant reminder of the Napoleonic invasion.


Bratislava
New artificial beach opens in Petržalka

An artificial beach opened on the Petržalka side of the Danube on June 29, and quickly became popular.
photo: Jana Liptáková

PEOPLE played volleyball and sunbathed in deck chairs. Children built sandcastles. Thirsty beachgoers queued up at a wooden bar. This was not a picture from a coastline country, but from Bratislava, which on June 29 joined cities like Paris, London, Berlin and Prague in providing residents with the luxury of an artificial beach.
The beach on the Tyršovo Embankment of the Danube offers 100 deck chairs, 50 umbrellas, and six showers, all free of charge. It was crowded within 24 hours of opening.
"The beach will serve as an oasis for rest and relaxation close to the city centre," said Eva Chudinová, a spokesperson for the city . The beach fits about 750-800 people, and organizers expect approximately 2,000 visitors daily.
The beach has space for sunbathing, volleyball, football, and badminton. It also has many attractions for small children.
The only difference between it and a real beach is that swimming in the Danube is prohibited. Instead, visitors can cool down with showers and cold drinks.
The beach is open daily from 9:00 to 22:00 until September 2.
It is run by the Bratislava city council in cooperation with telecom company T-Com.


Bratislava
Capital marks 1,100th anniversary with postage stamp

The stamp depicts Bratislava Castle.

BRATISLAVA's celebrations marking the 1,100th anniversary of the first written reference to the city kicked off on June 27 with a commemorative postage stamp.
Created by artist Dušan Kállay, the stamp is patterned after a 14th-century Viennese pictorial chronicle, in which the defenders of Bratislava Castle are seen destroying the ships of the Holy Roman Emperor Henrich III in 1052.
The first reference to Bratislava dates back to July 4, 907 and tells of a decisive battle between old Bavarians and Hungarians below Bratislava Castle. In the description, Bratislava is mentioned as Braslavespurch (Brezalauspurc).
The Bratislava City Gallery has also marked this anniversary. On July 4, it opened the exhibition The City Named Brezalauspurc in the Pálffy Palace at Panská Street. The display brings to visitors 32 graphic works, two aquarelles, many documents and pictures documenting the city's growth from the 15th century to the early 20th century. The exhibits come from the gallery's collections. It is open daily except Mondays from 10:00 to 18:00, until September 2.


Bratislava
AmCham hosts US Independence Day celebration

The US ambassador and his wife celebrate Independence Day.
photo: TASR

AMERICANS and Slovaks took to Bratislava Castle on June 30 to celebrate July 4, America's Independence Day.
The event was started by the American Chamber of Commerce, which has been organising it for the past 13 years.
As part of the celebration, the castle garden was turned into a small American western town that offered various attractions and competitions for children and adults. American picnic food, such as hamburgers and hot dogs, was available, and dancers performed American line dancing. A parade of vintage Americans cars, including Slovak Finance Minister Ján Počiatek on a Harley Davidson, was also part of the celebration.
US Ambassador to Slovakia Rodolphe Vallee, who was accompanied by his wife, also demonstrated how to ride a mechanical bull.
"I think that there are still a lot of things that Slovaks should learn about America," the ambassador said. "But there are many more things Americans can learn about Slovakia."


Bojnice
Foreign students staying at Bojnice Castle

NINE university students from France, Canada, Italy, Scotland and Serbia are working and living at Bojnice Castle (Trenčín Region) for the summer, the TASR newswire wrote.
The students are there as part of the International Exchange Camp for Volunteers program organised by the INEX Slovakia civic association.
The Bojnice Castle Museum reports only positive experiences with the volunteers, a group of which has come to the castle every year since 1995.


A FLOATING ambulance with a functional siren was one of 16 peculiar ships that competed for the prize of a motorboat and Sk10,000 during Splanekor (The Voyage of Unusual Ships) on the Váh River in Trenčín on June 30. The contest's 5,000 spectators were also entertained by a ship in the shape of a baby stroller and one that looked like a crib filled with men in diapers. In the end, an ecological ship built completely from plastic
bottles was named winner.

photo: SITA


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