News Briefs

Nationalist party boss wedded to Russian
Robert Fico tops popularity polls again
Friends of the Earth: shop bags should be sold
Japan to open an embassy in Bratislava

Nationalist party boss wedded to Russian

Anna Malíková, the head of the nationalist Slovak National Party (SNS), married Russian businessman Alexander Belousov April 17 in the Russian city of Ivanovo, 300 kilometers east of Moscow. The newly-wed Slovak said that the couple would also repeat their vows on Slovak soil within a month, and that they would communicate with each other in Slovak.
The pair's year-long relationship caused a stir in Slovak media when it was discovered at the beginning of the year that Belousov had been charged with fraud in Russia. The charges have since been dropped.
The wedding also came as a shock to many of Malíková's SNS colleagues, who refused comment. Béla Bugár, the head of the Hungarian Coalition Party, with whom the SNS has regularly been at loggerheads, offered his congratulations.

Robert Fico tops popularity polls again

According to a poll conducted by the MVK polling agency in early April, non-parliamentary Smer party boss Robert Fico remained the most trusted politician in Slovakia. When asked which politician they trusted the most, 27.9% of the 1,232 respondents said Fico.
Opposition Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) boss Vladimír Mečiar placed second with 20.2% support, followed by opposition Slovak National Party (SNS) leader Anna Malíková (16.8%), Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda (15.8%), and President Rudolf Schuster (13.9%). Eighteen percent of respondents said they did not trust any politicians. When asked who they distrusted the most, 44.6% said Dzurinda, while 37.6% said Mečiar.

Friends of the Earth: shop bags should be sold

Environmental group Friends of the Earth called on the government April 16 to add an amendment to the draft Waste Law forcing shops to charge customers for plastic bags. The average Slovak family goes through about 1,000 Slovak crowns (20$) of bags per year, throwing most of them away, the group said. Friends of the Earth rejected the alternative of using paper bags, as seven to ten hectares of trees would have to be cut down per year.

Japan to open an embassy in Bratislava

Japanese Ambassador to Slovakia Hiroto Ishida, who is based in Prague, told Slovak Foreign Affairs Minister Eduard Kukan on April 17 that Japan plans to open an embassy in Bratislava by the year 2002.
Ishida said the decision was an expression of Japan's growing interest in Slovakia. Kukan said economic cooperation between the countries would improve.

Compiled by Chris Togneri
from SITA and TASR

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