Around Slovakia

WW2 ammo found at construction site

CONSTRUCTION workers found more than 200 pieces of WW2 ammunition from the Second World War when they were digging in the village of Ubľa in eastern Slovakia in mid-November, the Korzár regional daily wrote.
The ammunition included various kinds of grenades and mines. The workers called police explosives experts, who took the live ammunition to be detonated.
Experts said this amount of ammunition was "an extraordinary finding".
It is not unusual to find ammunition in this region, in the Snina District. One hundred pieces of ammunition from the Second World War were recently discovered and destroyed near the nearby village of Stakčín, explosives expert Vladimír Kost told Korzár.
But they have never seen such a large finding in a village, he said. He thinks soldiers were stationed there during the war.
"When the front line moved on, they just covered it with soil," he said.
Ubľa Mayor Nadežda Sirková agrees.
"There are people living in the village who remember heavy fighting when the front line was going through the village," she said.
It is possible that soldiers were defending the road to Brezovec at this strategic point, she said.

Miner gets his hand back

Peter Bečkei's hand was successfly reattached after being severed in an accident.
photo: SITA

DOCTORS have successfully reattached the hand that miner Peter Bečkei lost when he was fixing a chain conveyer earlier this month.
Bečkei, from Veľký Krtíš, lost his whole right hand, the SITA newswire wrote on November 14.
"My colleagues took me out of the mine without the severed hand," Bečkei told the media.
But they returned to the spot and found the missing appendage.
"That let doctors try to sew it back on and make my arm partly functional," Bečkei said. "I'm very grateful to them for what they did for me."
The 37-year old father of three worked as a fitter in a mine for 15 years.
The chain conveyer cut Bečkei's hand off at the wrist. The hand itself was also seriously damaged.
"The operating team managed to rescue it by reconnecting all the vital structures - bones, tendons, nerves and veins," Jaroslava Oravcová, the spokeswoman of the Clinic of Accidental Surgery of the L. Pasteur Teaching Hospital in Košice told SITA. Doctors had to graft some veins from the miner's leg, as the ones in his hand were too damaged.
"The reattachment operation lasted roughly 10 hours and it was successful," said surgeon Rastislav Burda, who operated on Bečkei. "The patient's condition is stabilised and the hand is healing. We are already trying to move his fingers, but the patient is not able to do this on his own yet.
"His rehabilitation will last several months. Because the injury was so damaging, it is possible that the functioning of the hand will be partly limited even after physiotherapy," Burda said.
The operation took place more than six hours after the hand was severed - which is normally the critical time limit for reattachment surgeries.
"We decided to take a risk because Bečkei is a young patient and this was a right hand," Burda said. "The surgery was also demanding because the hand was very damaged at the place where it was amputated."
The Košice hospital has a lot of experience with limb reconnections. It performs up to 10 of these operations each year.

Young Slovak violinist wins in Germany

FOURTEEN-year-old Slovak violinist Karol Daniš has won the prestigious Luis Spohr international competition

The 17th International Women's Club of Bratislava Christmas Bazaar attracted hundreds of people to the Old Market Hall at SNP Square on November 18. It raised a record Sk1.5 million that will be donated to orphanages and associations that assist the mentally and physically handicapped and other marginalised groups.
photo: SITA

for young violinists in Weimar.
Apart from the first prize in the top category, Daniš received a special award for his interpretation of the composition by Henryk Wieniansky, Katarína Krapková of the Bratislava Region office told the SITA newswire on November 14.
"Even though I have received more prizes so far, this one is the most important for me," Daniš told the Plus Jeden Deň daily.
"A total of 42 young artists from 29 countries attended the competition," said Jozef Kopelman from the Academy of Music and Performing Arts (VŠMU), which has closely observed Daniš's development.
Daniš is a special student at the Conservatory in Bratislava. He has been attending the school since he was five, Krapková said.
He does not have a lot of time for school.
"The violin is my life," he told the daily. "I do not want to do anything else in my life. Sometimes I practise up to five hours a day."
Daniš plays with a borrowed instrument. He longs for his own violin from Italy, but that could cost up to Sk1 million (€30,200).
Daniš and his brother Norbert, a talented pianist, receive support from the Wild Poppies (Divé Maky) project, which supports talented children from low-income Roma families. The Music Centre in Sereď also provides support.

High Tatras
Schengen lets hikers cross borders in High Tatras

SLOVAKIA'S impending membership in the Schengen zone will not only loosen restrictions at border crossings. It will also make it easier to cross between the Polish and Slovak sides of the High Tatras mountain range, the SITA newswire wrote.
After Slovakia joins the Schengen zone, expected to happen on December 21, hikers will be able to freely cross the borders where Polish and Slovak marked paths meet in the High Tatras National Park (TANAP). Until now, hikers have only been allowed to cross Slovak-Polish borders in the national park at one place - the Rysy peak.
While hikers can now cross borders, they will still have to follow the rules on the seasonal closure of hiking paths, said Marián Šturcel, spokesman of the High Tatra's state forest company, Štátne Lesy of TANAP.
"Even the Schengen treaty does not cancel national laws related to the protection of nature," he told the media on November 14.
So the borders in Tatras will only fall completely when the hiking paths re-open after the winter season, on June 15.

Unique archaeological finding still waits for money

TWO YEARS after the discovery of the chamber grave of a Germanic leader in Poprad-Matejovce, archaeologists are still waiting for money for its conservation.
"So far we do not have one crown to research the grave and process the results," Karol Pieta from the Archaeological Institute of the Slovak Academy of Science told the SITA newswire.
The archaeologists just have a promise of funding from Prime Minister Robert Fico, he said.
Archaeologists from all over Europe are interested in finishing the conservation of the chamber grave, dating from the late-fourth to early-fifth century, according to Pieta. Museums and archaeologists from abroad want the chamber grave preserved where it was discovered, as well as a travelling exhibition to display it in other European countries.
The conservation process is demanding in terms of both time and money, because about 11 tonnes of wood needs to be treated. The whole chamber grave was transported to the Archaeological Museum in Schleswing in Germany to undergo all the necessary conservation.
Archaeologist Marián Soják says the value of the Poprad discovery, apart from the fact that it is extremely well-preserved, is that it gives a view on the social layers of society at the time. Findings discovered so far from that era document the life of common people instead.
The Podtatranské Múzeum in Poprad, which participated in uncovering the chamber grave, is working on the future presentation of the whole discovery. According to museum director Magdaléna Bekkesová, there have been a few proposals. A special pavilion might be built at the museum to display the entire finding close to its place of discovery. The findings could also be showcased in the existing museum building.
Construction workers found the wooden chamber grave when they were building an industrial park in October 2005. The first examinations suggested it might have been a bunker from the Second World War. But archaeological research confirmed that the grave belonged to a member of the social elite who lived in this area at the turn of the fourth and fifth centuries.
The significance and the well-preserved condition of the vault have led archaeologists to compare it with that of Ancient Egyptian ruler Tutankhamen. The whole outer and inner chambers of the vault have been preserved.
The grave was robbed shortly after the burial of the Germanic leader, a member of a northern Carpathian group, probably the Vandals. Archaeologists suggest thieves stole several precious items, including all the golden decorations of the vault and weapons. In spite of this, archaeologists found many other things in the vault, some of which belonged to the leader and some to the burglars, including organic materials.

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