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News Briefs

SkyEurope plans summer operational launch
Poll shows HZDS most popular party
Slovak alcohol consumption has dropped since 1990

SkyEurope plans summer operational launch

Having overcome problems related to tax and customs charges, SkyEurope airlines chairman of the board of directors, Christian Mandl, said March 16 that the company could begin operations as soon as this summer. Routes are planned to London, Brussels, Paris, Rome, Zurich and Amsterdam.
Mandl said the company would soon import its first Boeing 737-300, and that it would invest a total of $20 million in Slovakia over the next three years, creating 300 new jobs directly and a further 1,500 indirectly.
SkyEurope estimates that 300,000 Slovak passengers annually use Vienna airport. With the average ticket costing 9,000 Slovak crown ($185) to European destinations, this represents a loss of 2.7 billion crowns annually for the Slovak economy.
From next year, Sky plans flights from Bratislava to Košice for around 990 Slovak crowns ($20.62).

Poll shows HZDS most popular party

In its 1,211-person poll, the MVK polling agency reported March 19 that Vladimír Mečiar's Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) remained the strongest party in Slovakia with 25.7% voter support, down 2.9% from its February poll.
Robert Fico's Smer party placed second with 19.6% support, a drop of 2.1%, and Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda's Slovak Christian-Democratic Union (SDKU) was third with 11.7%, a climb of 0.9%.
The Hungarian Coalition Party came in at 11% support, followed by the Slovak National Party with 7.8%, the Christian-Democratic Movement with 6.3%, and the Party of the Democratic Left with 6.1%.
The ruling Party of Civic Understanding would not qualify for parliament as it recorded support of just 2.8%. A minimum of 5% is required for parliamentary representation.

Slovak alcohol consumption has dropped since 1990

Health Minister Roman Kováč announced at a March 19 press conference in Bratislava that the consumption of alcohol per person had dropped 2.5 litres annually (from 10.4 litres in 1990 to 7.9 in 1999). He said that the drop was likely a result of Slovakia's having prohibited advertisements promoting alcohol. In the Czech Republic, he said, such adverts are still allowed, which explained why over the same period alcohol consumption had increased from 9 to 9.9 litres per person.
Kováč said that 5% of the Slovak population abstained from alcohol, either by choice or as a result of having undergone treatment for alcoholism. Another 5% of the population are alcoholics. Some 60% of the population are "non-problematic consumers of alcohol", while 30% are hazardous drinkers who may become alcoholics, he said.
To reach a level of 0% mortality from alcohol, the minister added, Slovakia would have to drop its annual consumption of alcohol to two litres per person.

Compiled by Ed Holt and Chris Togneri from SITA and TASR

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