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Gangster trial witness gunned down
Kukan fails to meet beer criteria

Banská Bystrica
Gangster trial witness gunned down

Marian Karcel, a witness and plaintiff in the 1999 trial of Slovak underworld boss Mikuláš Černák, was machine gunned to death outside his house on June 26. He died en route to hospital.
Police said that four masked men had ambushed him in an Alfa Romeo car and had shot him at least five times using automatic weapons. The car was later found burned out in a nearby village.
At Černak's trial, Karcel testified that the mafia boss and two accomplices - Miloš K. and Ján K. - had blackmailed him into selling his Banská villa worth 3.7 million crowns to settle a debt to a third party. Although Černak had promised to pay 3.5 million, after being assaulted Karcel received only 1.5 million for the property.
Černak stood trial with eight of his associates on nine counts, including the murder of a Polish businessman. On January 28 this year, the Banská regional court gave Černák a 15 year prison term for the crimes. The others received terms of two to eight years.
Černák and three accomplices are in custody while the case is under appeal at the Supreme Court.

Kukan fails to meet beer criteria

Nearly 1,000 beer drinkers in Trenčín participated in the ninth annual Kukan's Tenner beer drinking march on June 10, during which participants are expected to drink 10 pints of beer in 10 different pubs along a designated route. At this year's beer march, organisers reported that over 5,000 litres were downed by the thirsty marchers.
Foreign Affairs Minister Eduard Kukan took part in the festivities with his son for the fourth time. However, local observers said that Kukan failed to quaff his expected 10 pints.
The event is named after a literary character - a former serviceman who was kicked out of the military for alcoholism - from a poem by the late Jozef Urban. Urban's character bears the festival's name because of the poet's habit of 'marching' from one Bratislava pub to another.

Compiled by Tom Nicholson from TASR

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