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News Briefs

Cow suspected of carrying BSE found clean
Journalists call for increased police protection
Indian refugees found drowned in Morava River
Presidential convoy crash leaves eight people injured
Mečiar: cooperation with SDKÚ in negotiations
Key witness in Mafia boss trial changes testimony

Cow suspected of carrying BSE found clean

A cow owned by the Žemberovce farmers cooperative, which was feared to be carrying bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, or Mad Cow Disease), passed Agriculture Ministry tests on June 18 which found the animal clean of the disease.
The cow, which was killed by Slovak authorities before testing, had been imported to Slovakia in 1996 from a Dutch farm where BSE has since been detected. So far, the ministry says, it is the only cow in Slovakia which was imported from a western farm now known to be afflicted with the disease.
Slovak Agriculture Minister Pavol Koncoš said that there were no other suspected cases of BSE in Slovakia.


Journalists call for increased police protection

A group of 11 journalists called on Interior Minister Ivan Šimko on June 18 to provide better police protection for the media during mass demonstrations. The request came after several journalists alleged that Slovak police had used tear gas on them while controlling anti-globalism protesters in Bratislava on June 9, and that the police refused to accept press cards from journalists seeking protection.
The media group asked Šimko to create a system allowing police to identify journalists during similar events.


Indian refugees found drowned in Morava River

Seven of the 20 Indian refugees who attempted to cross the Morava River into the Czech Republic have been found drowned, the police reported June 18. Four of the bodies were recovered in Slovakia while three were found in the Czech Republic.
Three refugees were rescued by police when the group, carrying large pieces of luggage, tried to cross the river after midnight on June 11. The remaining 10 are believed to have drowned after a rope they were using snapped.


Presidential convoy crash leaves eight people injured

Slovak President Rudolf Schuster's motorcade of six cars was involved in an accident June 15 while the president travelled to the western Slovak city of Modra. Eight people were injured in the wreck; the president's car managed to avoid the pile-up.
Seven employees of the President's Office suffered injuries, while the driver of the Škoda Felicia, which the motorcade crashed into, was seriously injured and hospitalised with severe wounds.


Mečiar: cooperation with SDKÚ in negotiations

Three-time former Prime Minister Vladimír Mečiar said that talks of cooperation between his Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) and Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda's Slovak Democratic Christian Union (SDKÚ) were taking place.
Although SDKÚ officials have ruled out any cooperation with the HZDS, Mečiar said that "politicians should rise above personal relations." In a poll published June 19 by the Institute for Public Opinion Research (ÚVVM), the HZDS scored 26.1% public support compared to the SDKÚ's 9.1%.


Key witness in Mafia boss trial changes testimony

Alexander Horváth, the key witness in the trial of Banská Bystrica mob boss Mikuláš Černák, changed his testimony in an appeals hearing June 19, saying that the deceased Štefan Fabián - not Černák - committed the murder of Polish businessman Grzegorz Szymanek.
Černák was sentenced to 15 years in prison in January 2000 for murder, extortion and kidnapping. But in an appeals case before the Supreme Court last February, the murder charges were returned to a regional court after Horváth changed his initial testimony implicating Černák.


Compiled by Chris Togneri
from SITA and TASR

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