Parliament slams door on mob boss Černák
While recovering in Košice from his series of operations, Slovak President Rudolf Schuster on November 7 signed a revision to the Penal Code which parliament adopted in shortened legislative proceedings to prolong possible pre-trial custody in serious cases from a maximum of three to five years.
Legislators were reported to have hurried with the law in an attempt to keep Banská Bystrica underworld boss Mikuláš Černák in custody during his Supreme Court appeal. Had the court not ruled on his case by December 19, Černák would have gone free as he would have been in custody for three years without a final ruling. The opposition was critical of the proposed law because they said it had been motivated by a single case.
New Bratislava TV station runs out of money
Slovakia's licensing authority RVR (Broadcasting and Retransmission Board) withdrew the broadcast license from the company Telepon Plus on November 7 after the firm announced that it lacked the necessary funds to begin broadcasting within the legal deadline. Telepon Plus had hoped to launch a station called Slavín which would cover only Bratislava.
The RVR must now decide whether it will free the frequency of the television station and announce a new license proceeding or use it for experimental digital broadcasting, said RVR office head Jarmila Grujbárová.
Telepon Plus was granted the license a year ago. Slavín had planned to broadcast 10 hours daily, from 15:00 to 1:00. The focus was to be put on political reporting and cultural events.
Schmögnerová wants to run for SDĽ chair
Finance Minister Brigita Schmögnerová said during a November 5 television debate on TV Markíza that she planned on eventually running for the head post of her Party of the Democratic Left (SDĽ).
She would not run for the post, currently held by Speaker of Parliament Jozef Migaš, until her tenure as Finance Minister expired, she said. She also excluded the possibility of her ever leaving the SDĽ.
Eighteen cars per day disappear in Slovakia
During the first nine months of the year, 4,551 cars were stolen on Slovak soil (18.6 per day), according to a Slovak police statistics report released November 5. Only 827 cars (18.2%) were recovered by the police.
The most cars, 1,994, were stolen from Bratislava with only 71 (3.6%) recovered. The most targeted autos were the Volkswagen Golf and Passat, the Škoda Felicia and Octavia, and the Audi A6. The least popular brands among thieves were Hyundai, Daewoo and Mitsubishi. Over 56,000 cars have been stolen in Slovakia since 1993. In 1989, just 1,800 cars were stolen, but 1,337 (80.2%) were recovered by police.
Slovak consulate buried by Ukraine visa requests
The Slovak general consulate in the Czech city of Brno said that they had received 1,808 visa requests to Slovakia, over 80% of which came from Ukrainian nationals, since Slovakia imposed visa restrictions on Ukrainians this summer.
The consul's Katarína Smekalová said that the most requests had been filed in July (550) and August (430). She said that the consul expected another influx around the Christmas holidays as nationals currently living in Slovakia would seek to assure their return after the new year.
Smekalová added that consul staff expected their workload to increase even further when Slovakia imposes visa restrictions on travelling Russian and Belorussian citizens on January 1, 2001.
Compiled by Chris Togneri
From SITA and TASR