News Briefs

Nuclear Energy Research Institute director murdered
Parliament limits election campaign expenditures
Slovakia joins ban on British livestock, animal products
Avalanche danger increases in Slovak mountain ranges
Ex-Communist boss Vasil Biľak trial to begin March 28

Nuclear Energy Research Institute director murdered

Jan Korec, director of Slovakia's Nuclear Energy Research Institute (VÚJE) in Trnava was found on February 23 shot dead in the garden of his Piešťany house. On February 28, Chief Police Investigator Jaroslav Ivor announced that the suspected murderers had been apprehended by police.
Ivor said that 32 year-old Ivan G, and 33 year-olds Eduard D and Miroslav Z (all from Trnava) had been contracted to murder Korec by Trnava businessman Julius P, who had had a "business conflict" with the victim. Julius P allegedly tried to have Korec killed last year when he offered Miroslav Z 300,000 Slovak crowns ($6,400) for the murder. He later raised the offer to 500,000 crowns, which Ivor said Julius P had eventually paid to the Slovak Mafia.
According to data from the Corporate Registrar, Korec was involved in four companies dealing with nuclear energy or research. He was considered an influential personality for the Slovak nuclear lobby. His commercial activities allegedly involved nuclear fuel import to Slovakia.

Parliament limits election campaign expenditures

Slovak parliamentary deputies approved an amendment to the law on limiting political parties' pre-election campaign expenditures February 28. Of 84 present MPs, 75 voted in favour of the draft and three refrained.
The new law obliges political parties to submit to both the Finance Ministry and Parliament a report on expenditures of their pre-election campaigns within 30 days after the elections. If the political party oversteps the limit of 12 million Slovak crowns ($255,000) by more than 600,000 crowns, contributions that the party receives from the state for gained votes will be cut by a sum that is twice the amount exceeding the limit.
If a party fails to submit the expenditure report before the 30 day deadline, it can be fined 200,000 crowns. If the report is incorrect or does not include all required data, the Finance Ministry will fine the party up to 500,000 crowns. The 12 million crown limit also applies to coalitions. The law should come into effect on May 1.

Slovakia joins ban on British livestock, animal products

Slovakia banned imports of British livestock and animal products, as have several other European countries, on February 22. Officials said it was an effort to halt the spread of foot-and-mouth disease, which broke out in Great Britain last week.
The head of the State Veterinary Administration's office Martin Chudy said the decision also bans the transport of British meat and livestock through Slovakia to other final destinations. Dušan Magic, the head of the Slovak State Veterinary Administration, said that foot-and-mouth disease is harmless to humans, but fatal to livestock.

Avalanche danger increases in Slovak mountain ranges

Heavy snowfall in the mountainous regions of Slovakia over the February 24-25 weekend greatly increased the danger of avalanches, said the Slovak Mountain Rescue Service, which appealed to tourists to refrain from hiking in the High Tatras and other mountain ranges.
Up to 200 centimetres of new snow fell over the weekend, increasing the avalanche danger in most Slovak mountain ranges to a rating of three on a five point international scale. The rescue service said that marked ski runs were safe for use by tourists.

Ex-Communist boss Vasil Biľak trial to begin March 28

The trial of the former high-ranking Czechoslovak Communist leader Vasil Biľak will begin March 28, announced the Bratislava Regional Court. Biľak faces charges of treason for allegedly 'inviting' Warsaw Pact troops to invade Czechoslovakia in 1968 through a written letter.
If convicted, Biľak could face 15 years in jail.

Compiled by Chris Togneri
from SITA and TASR

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