News Briefs

Police arrest two male suspects in Balážová murder
Referendum on early elections gaining support
Three Slovak parties invited to observe Yugoslav elections
Norway reports another influx of Slovak Roma

Police arrest two male suspects in Balážová murder

Slovak police have made two arrests in the murder case of Roma Anastázia Balážová, the mother of eight who was murdered last month while attempting to protect her two youngest children from masked attackers in her house. Police spokesperson Magda Krasulová said the police had established that the murder was racially motivated.
The police arrested Marian M. (23) of northern Slovakia's Žilina and Peter Ch. (19) of nearby Rajec on September 22. Two more suspects are being sought by police: a third attacker who entered the building and the driver of the car which sped the culprits away from the scene of the murder. If found guilty, Marian M. and Peter Ch. could face 10 years in prison.

Referendum on early elections gaining support

A new poll conducted by the Statistics Office's Institute for Public Opinion Research (ÚVVM) indicates that popular support for the November 11 referendum on early elections is gaining support. According to the results, 34% of those polled plan on participating in the referendum, up 5% from a previous poll conducted by the same group. In order to be valid, 50% of all eligible voters must participate in the referendum.
The poll was conducted in early September after non-parliamentary Smer party boss Róbert Fico announced his support for the referendum. Members of the coalition said that support had also increased because President Rudolf Schuster's spokesperson announced that the president would also participate.

Three Slovak parties invited to observe Yugoslav elections

Three Slovak political parties, all either opposition or non-parliamentary, were invited to observe the recent Yugoslav presidential elections by President Slobodan Milosevic: the Slovak National Party (SNS), the Slovak Communist Party (KSS), and the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS).
The KSS and SNS accepted the invitations, but the HZDS declined. HZDS spokesman Marian Kardoš explained that the party turned down the invitation because the party considered the elections in Yugoslavia an internal affair of the country, because Slovakia's parliament was still in session, and because the HZDS was busy preparing for the November 11 referendum on early elections.

Norway reports another influx of Slovak Roma

Norway reported that 58 Slovak Roma had arrived in Oslo and applied for asylum on September 21. Slovak Foreign Ministry spokesman Boris Gandel said that the Norwegian government, which last month cancelled visa requirements for Slovaks, would meet October 2 to discuss whether to re-introduce the visas.
Norway had cancelled its visa requirement for Slovak citizens on August 16 in recognition of the country's efforts to improve the living conditions for its Roma community. To discourage more Slovak Roma from seeking political asylum, Norway has accelerated the process of reviewing applications to quicken the return of rejected asylum seekers.

Compiled by Chris Togneri from SITA and TASR

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