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Around Slovakia

Man killed at traditional pig slaughter
Czech tourist falls to her death in west Tatras
Another Czech tourist dies in mountains
Mobile phone thieves caught with ringing evidence
Skinhead festival guarded by police force of 300
Slovak tea banned by Czechs for fear of poisoning
Slovaks succumb to Russia in Davis Cup
VÚB branch robbed of 750,000 crowns in Petržalka
Kissing couples set new Guinness World Record

Zvolen
Man killed at traditional pig slaughter

Jozef Ď., a 36 year-old from Môťová, near Zvolen, was killed at a traditional local pig-killing February 11 when, according to police, a pistol belonging to his 31 year old brother Ľubomír accidently discharged a round.
Police said the gun fell out of Ľubomír's pocket as the two men entered a pig sty, and accidentally fired, hitting Jozef in the chest. He died en route to hospital. Police said Ľubomír would be charged with unlawful killing and illegal arms possession.


Zverovka
Czech tourist falls to her death in west Tatras

A 26 year-old Czech woman fell to her death on February 2 when she lost her footing on icy terrain and plummeted 250 metres down a cliff in the western High Tatras. The woman had been climbing Banikov Peak when she slipped, and failed to grab the safety chains on the trail.
Mountain rescuers began a search for the body that afternoon, but were hampered by high avalanche danger, strong winds and falling darkness. They resumed the search the next morning and recovered the body at 10:00. The Czech woman had been with five friends on a several-day hike along the western Tatras crest.


Vysoké Tatry
Another Czech tourist dies in mountains

While climbing Malý Kežmarský peak in the High Tatras, one of two Czech mountain climbers fell to his death from a cliff during the evening hours on February 6. Almost 20 rescuers from the Tatra Mountain Rescue Service immediately set out to aid the climber, who survived the intial fall.
The rescue team, however, was unable to sustain the man en route to hospital over the rough mountain terrain. The effort lasted all night.
The Czech man becomes the third victim of the mountains to fall to his or her death since the new year, said Tatra Rescue Service Chief Jozef Janiga.


Žilina
Mobile phone thieves caught with ringing evidence

A Žilina couple with a child were caught having stolen a mobile phone when, as they denied the theft to a policeman, the victim's phone began ringing.
The couple reportedly sat down next to a man on a trolley bus. When the man got off, he realised that his mobile phone was missing and ran after the culprits, who denied the theft. A policeman saw the argument and intervened. As the family denied being in possession of any mobiles, the stolen phone began ringing. The police returned the phone to its rightful owner and arrested the pair.


Spišský Hrušov
Skinhead festival guarded by police force of 300

An equal number of police officers guarded approximately 300 skinheads who arrived in Spišský Hrušov near Prešov for a weekend festival of international skinhead bands February 9 to February 11. Police said that skinheads from Poland, Russia, Ukraine, Hungary, Czech Republic and Britain attended the festival.
Police turned back an 86-strong group of Polish skinheads and 9 Germans at borders because "these young men simply refused to respect the laws of this country and were causing problems at the border check", an official said. No major violations of public order occurred during the concerts.


Bratislava
Slovak tea banned by Czechs for fear of poisoning

The state medicine inspection institute in Slovakia ordered the recall of fennel tea produced by the Slovak herbal tea company Herbex because the tea was found to have high levels of the poisonous ground thorn apple (known in North America as Jimson Weed). Fennel tea is consumed mainly by infants.
An inspection team from the Czech Agriculture and Foodstuff Chamber on February 4 banned the sale of the imported Slovak product after it discovered that the tea had levels of thorn apple at 3%. A single seed of thorn apple can cause serious health damage to adults and could be even more dangerous to infants. Higher dosages can result in death.
According to a Slovak Television report, the tea was sold in pharmacies across Slovakia on February 3.
Herbex Commercial Director Ivan Majercik refuted accusations that the tea had traces of thorn apple on February 5, suggesting that Czech officials had lied about the poison in an attempt to hurt the Slovak firm's increasing market share in the Czech Republic.
"We have a 48% share on the Slovak herbal tea market, and we have recently become successful on the Czech market as well," he said. "Maybe some people are not pleased with this [the firm's success]."
Majercik said that if thorn apple had been in the tea, it must have come from the company's fennel supplier and not from Herbex itself. He added that no one from his firm had yet seen the documented results of the Czech Agriculture and Foodstuff's Chamber laboratory tests.



Slovak tennis star Karol Kučera during his victory over world No. 1 Marat Safin. Slovakia, however, lost the Davis Cup tie.
photo: TASR

Bratislava
Slovaks succumb to Russia in Davis Cup

An exciting weekend for Slovak tennis fans ended in disappointment, as the home team lost to Russia in the first round of the Davis Cup 3:2. Sovakia had been trailing 1:2 as play started on the last day of the three day encounter, but in-form Dominik Hrbatý beat Russian world #1 Marat Safin to set up a decider between 26 year-old Slovak Karol Kučera and Russian former Olympic champion and grand-slam title winner Jevgenij Kafelnikov.
Although Kučera won the first two sets, Kafelnikov then turned the game completely in his favour and eventually beat his opponent, handing the win to the Russians.


Bratislava
VÚB branch robbed of 750,000 crowns in Petržalka

An armed, hooded man entered the Petržalka branch of Všeobecná úverová banka (VÚB) on February 7 at 8:30, and successfully made off with 750,000 Slovak crowns ($16,000). Few details were available on the armed heist, as police said they had just begun an investigation and were preparing to hunt down the culprit.


Bojnice
Kissing couples set new Guinness World Record

Couples from five countries set a kissing record February 11 in Bojnice when 736 couples kissed at the same location, establishing a new Guinness World Record. Each couple kissed under heart-shaped mistletoe before documenting the record of their kiss with a signature.
The mass kiss was held in celebration of Bojnice's third annual Valentine weekend which drew crowds of 2,300 people and kissing couples from Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Poland, Germany and Great Britain. Several of the married couples also renewed their wedding vows, including a 72 year-old man and his 62 year-old wife.

Compiled by Spectator Staff from SITA, TASR, and press reports

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