Around Slovakia

99-year-old dies before meeting Queen Mother
Spectator killed at car race
Müller fails to show up for court hearing
Greenpeace protests Nitsch exhibition at Austrian embassy

Nitrianské Pravno
99-year-old dies before meeting Queen Mother

A 99-year-old Slovak woman from the small village of Borík near Nitrianské Pravno died on May 29 just a few months before she was scheduled to meet the Queen Mother of England (Elizabeth Bowes-Lyons) in August to each celebrate their 100th birthdays at Westminster Palace.
Rozália Vrtáková, who like the Queen Mother was born on August 4, 1900, had been exchanging letters with Bowes-Lyons in preparation of their meeting.
Vrtáková lived most of her life in the village of Malinová in a small cottage, but 12 years ago she moved into a retirement home in Borík. She had two sons, one of whom died in World War II, and another who currently lives in Germany.
Those who knew her well said she was fond of singing, social events, and politics. She was full of optimism and vitality, they continued, and was hardly slowed two years ago when she fell and broke her hand.
On May 28, the evening nurse at the retirement home said that Vrtáková had told her how much she was looking forward to her meeting with the Queen Mother, but that she was worried about what to wear.

Spectator killed at car race

During the first stage of the 26th Košice rally, a male spectator was killed when one of the competing vehicles veered off the road and struck him towards the end of the time trial stage. Drivers Igor Susko and Emil Horniaček were driving their Toyota Corolla WRC when they skidded out of control and hit the man standing approximately six metres from the road. The victim received first aid treatment at the spot but was pronounced dead later in hospital.
Rally directors and commissioners are now discussing whether the races should continue.
The Košice Rally is part of the Slovak championship Boss Rally 2000 competition, the second most important European rally competition.

Müller fails to show up for court hearing

Slovak pop-star Richard Müller was a no-show at a May 25 court appearance in Bratislava where he was expected to answer charges of promoting the illegal use of drugs. Instead, Müller's lawyer submitted an appeal to the charges on behalf of his client.
The charges stem form a March 6 interview Müller gave to TV Markíza in which admitted that he was a regular smoker of marijuana and that he had also used hard drugs. He added that drugs served as a source of inspiration for his music and that they were not to be feared. If convicted, he could face between two and eight years in prison.

Greenpeace protests Nitsch exhibition at Austrian embassy

In an open letter to Austrian Ambassador to Slovakia Gabriele Matzner-Holzer, Greenpeace activists expressed their disappointment with the diplomat for allowing an art exhibition by the controversial Austrian artist Hermann Nitsch to be staged at the embassy in Bratislava. Greenpeace wrote that the exhibit promoted activities contrary to the ideals of humanism and love for life.
In Nitsch's "Disturbing Theatre of Orgy and Mysteries," live animals are killed, their blood and organs used to create paintings. Nitsch has been praised and criticised for his works, many of which evoke highly-charged emotional responses. Born in Vienna in 1938, he has served three prison sentences and faced several court charges.
Nitsch advocates experiencing the drama of killing and blood in controlled acts within his theatre, thereby revealing the predator in man. He has said that he fights against consumer society, longs for the authenticity of life, and that he would never harm anyone in real life.

Compiled by Chris Togneri from TASR and press reports.

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