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Around Slovakia

Pezinok
A finger a day

A 25 year-old Ukrainian was charged with taking a hostage after he entered the flat of another Ukrainian in Pezinok, near Bratislava, on December 10 and demanded that the victim pay back a debt of 5,000 crowns ($100). He threatened the man, saying that if he refused to pay the debt he would take his wife or his 10 year-old daughter as hostage. The father of the family offered himself up as hostage, and was accepted. On leaving the flat the hostage-taker said to the hostage's wife that he would wait for his money, and that for every day he did not receive payment, he would cut off one of her husband's fingers and send it to her as a warning.
The two men then got into the criminal's car, but after a few metres one of the car's tyres burst and neither man was able to fix it. The criminal then ordered his hostage to stay in the car while he poured gas on the vehicle and set it on fire. However, after a few moments he himself helped the hostage escape, told his unfortunate countryman to go home and within one day cough up 8,000 crowns ($160).
The victim reported the case to the police and the criminal was arrested that same day.


Púchov
Dope smoking computer thieves nabbed

Two suspect young men were arrested by the Train Police on December 12 at the Púchov train station early in the morning. They had got off a train and tried to cross the rails, which is forbidden. When asked by the police they refused to show their documents. They were then taken to a local police station, where the police discovered not only their identities, but also that 21 year-old Roman. M. and 22 year-old René V. were carrying a computer monitor, printer, keyboard and a disk unit wrapped up in scraps of old clothing.
The two admitted that they had stolen the computer and accessories, worth over 30,000 Slovak crowns ($600) on Sunday night from an elementary school in the nearby village of Beluša. On top of that, the police also found a plastic bag with three grams of Roman M.'s home-grown marihuana.


Bacúch
Drunk driver resists arrest

Just before midnight December 9, two policemen stopped a car near Bacúch, a small village in central Slovakia. The driver, who was apparently drunk, shouted vulgar words at the policemen, and later threatened to kill them.
When he got out of his car he violently pushed one of the policemen, then hit him with his bag, struck him with his fists and kicked him. When the other policemen tried to put handcuffs on the violent man, he was bitten on the left index finger. The driver has been charged with drunk driving and assaulting a public official.


Eastern Slovakia
Vole calamity strikes Slovakia again

Eastern Slovakia's lowlands are under siege by voles - small, burrowing, mouse-like rodents - whose numbers have rapidly grown thanks to the warm, dry autumn. The problem has become a "calamity" for local farmers, reported the daily paper Pravda December 14, as the tenacious rodents burrow multiple tunnels in the farmland and attack local crops, resulting in huge financial losses.
The vole problem has been especially acute in the districts of Trebišov , Michalovce, Vranov nad Topĺov, and Humenné. Marián Radosa of the Control and Testing Agricultural Institute in Košice said a decision had been reached to kill all voles, including those on land which belongs to the Slovak Road Administration (SSC), and Slovak Railways (ŽSR). Farmers have complained that once they kill the voles on their own property, more move in from the state land.
Vole calamities are not uncommon in Slovakia. Five years ago, voles destroyed crops worth some 100 million Slovak crowns ($2 million) and have already attacked 10,000 hectares of crops this year in Trebišov. Vole damages this year have amounted to 62 million crows, which have been partly offset by government compensation of 9.4 million crowns.



Blažena Martinková in Vienna last spring before life went awry.
photo: TASR

Vienna
Martinka asks Schuster for pardon

Karol Martinka, the former owner of Piešťany spas in western Slovakia, has asked Slovak President Rudolf Schuster for a pardon concerning his alleged fraud and mismanagement of the resort.
Martinka asked that the investigation against him "not continue", saying that he had lost confidence in the legality of the Slovak court system.
Martinka, who has been living in Vienna for over a year despite Slovak police attempts to have him extradited, said that he had already been punished enough. His wife, Blazena, on October 27 attempted to murder the couple's nine year-old son Filip by repeatedly stabbing him as he slept in his bed. She then stabbed herself in the chest several times before jumping out a second storey window.


Compiled by Martina Pisárová from SITA, TASR and press reports

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