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News Briefs

Slovakia may need to spend $4.4 billion on environment
Asylum-seekers in Slovakia are almost exclusively male
Slota supporters seek ouster of SNS boss Anna Malíková
Hamžík re-elected as Party of Civic Reconciliation head
Nitra Radio Station cuts transmission after bomb threat

Slovakia may need to spend $4.4 billion on environment

Environment Minister László Miklós said June 5 that Slovakia may need to invest up to 220 billion Slovak crowns ($4.4 billion) in order to comply with the European Union's environmental requirements.
The money would be invested gradually until the year 2035, he said, with the majority being spent over the next 10 years. A final proposition for the exact figures is expected to be submitted to the European Commission by the end of June.


Asylum-seekers in Slovakia are almost exclusively male

As of the first week of June, 580 people had applied for asylum in Slovakia, of which 90% were male. Most of the refugees came from Afghanistan (262) and India (205) while 30 came from Iraq and 26 from Bangladesh. According to the Interior Ministry's Migration Department, no refugee had yet been granted Slovak citizenship this year, while only one applicant (from Kosovo) was granted refugee status.
Last year, 1,556 people applied for asylum, 236 more than in 1999 and four times the amount from five years ago. Since the 1993 establishment of independent Slovakia, 5,430 people have applied for asylum; 500 have been granted refugee status and 41 have received Slovak citizenship.


Slota supporters seek ouster of SNS boss Anna Malíková

The branch of the Slovak National Party (SNS) in Žilina, where former SNS boss Ján Slota is mayor, proposed the cancellation of party membership for current head Anna Malíková on June 5. Ján Sitek, the former Slovak Defence Minister and a close ally of Slota, explained that Malíková had violated party statutes.
In mid-April, Malíková said that tensions within the party between herself and Slota supporters had been eased. Problems had originally arisen when the Slota faction demanded that Malíková distance herself from Russian Alexander Belousov, who Malíková has since married. Belousov is under investigation for having been in the country illegally, thus necessitating the separation, Sitek said.
Slota lost his post as SNS head after a series of public drunken appearances in the year 2000.


Hamžík re-elected as Party of Civic Reconciliation head

Incumbent party chairman Pavol Hamžík retained his post as the head of the Party of Civic Reconciliation after delegates at a congress in Košice re-elected him to his post June 2. Hamžík was fired from his job as Deputy Prime Minister for Integration the month before over a scandal concerning the alleged misuse of European Union funds by a member of his office.
Hamžík beat his main competitor, current Privatisation Minister Maria Machová, for the post.


Nitra Radio Station cuts transmission after bomb threat

After airing an interview with former Prime Minister Vladimír Mečiar during the daytime on June 4, Hviezda Radio in Nitra had to cut its transmission for some two hours after a female caller phoned in a bomb threat. A bomb disposal unit Called to the scene was unable to find any explosive devices.
Hviezda director Ján Kovarčík said that the interview had been positively received by listeners, adding that he did not want to speculate on whether the interview and the bomb threat had been related.


Compiled by Chris Togneri from SITA and press reports

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