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The Best of Around Slovakia 2000

Bratislava
50 illegal immigrants found in Petržalka flat

Police captured 50 illegal Asian immigrants hiding in the fifth floor of a Petržalka flat on January 29 after a neighbour called the police to report that a man had made a rope of trousers, shirts and sweaters in order to climb to the bottom floor from the fifth floor window. As the man descended to the third floor, the rope broke and the man crashed to the ground, breaking both his legs.
Investigating police officers later entered the flat and discovered the immigrants, none of whom had legal travel or identity documents. To complicate matters, none of the immigrants spoke an international language and the interpreter at the flat refused to stay after a doctor called to the site discovered that one of the men was suffering from an unknown skin disease. All the fugitives were later brought to hospital as the police began an investigation.


Trnava
Wheel-chair beggar learns to walk

Police in Trnava discovered that a local wheel-chair beggar was a fake on February 8. The beggar, who asked for money in a wheelchair in front of the Jednota department store, was caught with mud on his shoes. Upon further investigation, police found that he had a forged medical certificate. He had managed to collect 4,000 Slovak crowns that day before noon.
On February 12, TV Markíza carried a report of another fake beggar in Banská Bystrica, this time a 20 year-old woman, who was also found by police to be misrepresenting her health. After becoming suspicious that the woman's legs looked too healthy to be crippled, police took her to a nearby hospital where an examination revealed that she in fact was suffering from no physical disability.
Police said the phenomenon of fake beggars was becoming increasingly common in Slovakia. "We've already had bogus wheelchair beggars, blind people, even a man with one hand [who was hiding his healthy limb inside his jacket sleeve]," said a police spokeswoman.


Nitrianske Pravno
99-year-old dies before meeting Queen Mother

A 99-year-old Slovak woman from the small village of Borík died on May 29 just a few months before she was scheduled to meet the Queen Mother of England (Elizabeth Bowes-Lyons) in August to each celebrate their 100th birthdays at Westminster Palace. Rozália Vrtáková, who like the Queen Mother was born on August 4, 1900, had been exchanging letters with Bowes-Lyons in preparation of their meeting.
Vrtáková lived most of her life in the village of Malinová in a small cottage, but 12 years ago moved into a retirement home in Borík. She had two sons, one of whom died in World War II, and another who currently lives in Germany.
On May 28, the evening nurse at the retirement home said that Vrtáková had told her how much she was looking forward to her meeting with the Queen Mother, but that she had been worried about what to wear.


Smolnická Huta
Local mayor beaten up in bar fight

Ján Grega, the mayor of the small town of Smolnická Huta in eastern Slovakia, was beaten by two local bar toughs after he attempted to break up a fight on May 18. Grega, who suffered several blows to his head, had been summoned to the pub by a waiter when Ján Horvát and his brother started a fight with two other patrons.
"When I arrived at the pub, these two drunks asked me why I'd come," said Grega (31). "I said that I'd come to restore order. One of them grabbed my shirt, but I shook free. Then, like a flash from the sky, he kicked and hit me. I lost my shoes in the scuffle."
When asked why he had attacked the mayor, Horvát said "I don't know. I don't remember, I was drunk. But they hit me too, and I lost a tooth. I would like to apologise to everyone, I don't know what came over me."


Nitra
New beer-drinking records set

A new record for beer drinking was set at the Agrokomplex 2000 agricultural fair in Nitra August 20 when a team of 100 people broke the record for drinking 100 half-litre glasses of beer consecutively. The new record stands at seven minutes and 47 seconds, slashing nine minutes off the previous best set by a team of Czech firemen at the fair four years ago.
The fair's record for drinking one litre of beer was also broken by a physical education teacher from Šurany. Marek Vittek downed the litre in 2.53 seconds.


Bánovce nad Bebravou
Gypsy teenagers killed in hit and run

Three 15-year old Romany teenagers were killed September 6 at dusk when a speeding car struck them as they were walking along a road in Bánovce nad Bebravou (Trenčín region). Local police apprehended a 28-year old man from Dolné Vestenice that day, who admitted to the killings.
Investigating police found the lower part of one of the victims' leg still stuck under the car's bumper. The three dead boys - Štefan C. from Veľké Kapušany, Martin T. and Ondrej B. from Snina - had run away that day from a local Youth Re-education Institute.
The driver had been using a borrowed Fiat Regatta. He said he had not seen the youths walking on the road when he hit them, and that he'd fled the scene for fear of being punished.


Trenčianske Teplice
Police arrest bride outside church

The wedding of 25-year old Mária H. and her 50-year old Dutch husband went smoothly until police arrested the bride outside the church in Trenčianske Teplice on September 11. Mária, who had been living abroad in the Netherlands to avoid arrest, was charged with several crimes, most recently for attacking a civil servant.
A police spokeswoman said that Mária had returned to Slovakia only briefly for the marriage. The reception took place as planned that afternoon, albeit without the bride who was released from custody after midnight.


Zemianske Sady
Referendum peculiarities reported

In Zemianske Sady, a village in western Slovakia, a middle-aged man, allegedly drunk, came to the local polling station Saturday November 11 to vote for a new Slovak president. When it was explained that he had come to a referendum on early elections and not a presidential election, he cast a vote anyway. Later in the day, the incident was repeated by a different man fitting the same drunken description.
Further voting peculiarities were reported in other Slovak cities. In Banská Bystrica, 78 year-old Vincent Glako arrived on crutches to his local polling station without his ID card. Although officials offered to follow him home with the ballot box and let him vote there, Glako said that he would return because he needed the exercise. When Glako showed up later with only a health card, officials made an exception and let him vote anyway.
Voting in Vyškovce nad Ipľom was administered without the 23-year old vice-chair of the local referendum committee, who showed up drunk to the polling station and was later taken into custody after harassing a local female cook.


Púchov
Drunk man unscathed after train hit

A man described as "totally drunk" was left unhurt after he was run over by a train coming from the western Slovak village of Malochov to Nosice as he was sleeping off a hangover on the train track. When the train driver noticed the sleeping figure, he immediately braked but ran over the man, travelling a further 200 metres before stopping.
The victim was transported to a Púchov hospital where doctors found he was unhurt. The accident delayed the train for more than one hour, and ŽSR (Slovak Railways) is demanding financial compensation for damages.


Compiled by Chris Togneri from SITA, TASR and Slovak daily papers

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