Drug-smuggling prostitutes remain at large
Seven Slovak prostitutes who were smuggling heroin from Bratislava to Vienna and to countries neighbouring Austria are still at large. They are said to be in Slovakia, said the Chief of the Austrian Police Presidium Drug Office, Michael Braunspreger, on March 15.
Braunspreger denied earlier information from the Austrian press agency (APA) that Slovak members of this international drug gang had been arrested.
According to Braunspreger, their arrest depends on Slovak investigators, with whom the Austrian police are co-operating. The prostitutes are women between 20 and 30 - mostly from the Bratislava region. They were not plying their prostitution trade in Austria but in Slovakia.
"In recent years I have not seen such a large volume of drug smuggling in which so many Slovak prostitutes were involved," said the Austrian investigator.
He added that each of the Slovaks was given ATS20,000 ($1,400) for a cross-border journey by drug bosses. They travelled with the contraband, usually by bus, from Slovakia to Vienna, and then on to other neighbouring countries.
"If the Slovak police do arrest them, we will ask for their extradition. They will be accused of violating the Drug Act, and they can be imprisoned for up to 15 years," Braunspreger said.
Vienna police cracked the drug gang recently and seized 20 kilograms of pure heroin, according to APA. Gang members who smuggled narcotics to the European Union were traced down to Austria, Slovakia and Switzerland.
APA reported that the smugglers' headquarters was in Bratislava. The heroin came to western countries from Turkey via Skopje, the capital of the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia. Another transit point was Vienna.
One of the drug syndicates' bosses is 48-year old Flamur Ame of Macedonia, said to be the most important person in the European drug trade. An international search for him and his brother has been launched.
Grenade blast hurts taxi driver
A hand-grenade was thrown under a Mercedes taxi, where it exploded, by two persons on Americké námestie in Bratislava at 23:00 on March 13. The two fled the scene in a Škoda Favorit car. One of them, 21-year-old Miroslav K. has already been arrested for the crime, the Bratislava Regional Police Investigation Office said on March 14.
The taxi was owned by the Yellow Taxi company, and its 28-year-old driver, Ľuboš J., suffered only minor injuries. The motive for the crime is still unknown, although police suspect the grenade attack was aimed at the taxi driver's brother, who was uninjured in the incident. The two suspects could face charges of endangering public safety.
Wouldn't have missed Sting for the world
When legendary British singer Sting played the Slovak leg of his world tour 'Brand New Day' on March 12, his sold-out audience of 4,000 included over half of the members of the Slovak cabinet.
Sitting together high up in the Incheba congress hall were Deputy Prime Ministers Pavol Hamžík (European Integration) and Ivan Mikloš (Economy), and ministers Milan Kňažko (Culture), Milan Ftáčnik (Education), Peter Magvaši (Labour) and Pavol Kanis (Defence). All cabinet members wore jackets, white shirts and neckties, except for Kňažko who arrived in a sports jacket and black shirt. The politicians' wives also wore garments more suited to occasions other than the rock concert of the British megastar.
New Romanian spill dumps heavy metals in Tisa River
Levels of iron and manganese that were three times normal, as well as zinc at 2.5-times higher than normal, were found during analyses of water carried out from March 11-12 as part of the monitoring of heavy metals after the March 10 environmental accident in Romania on the Tisa River. The analyses were carried out by employees of Povodie Bodrogu a Hornádu (Bodrog and Hornad Rivers Catchment Area) in Košice.
The agency's water management chief Viliam Vološ, responding to the first results of the Tisa monitoring near Male Trakany (Trebišov District), said on March 13 that the impact of the accident on water quality is evident.
Since the river is currently overflowing its banks, Vološ does not discount additional effects being the focus of further research. In his opinion, citizens in this area do not face any immediate danger as wells here are monitored.
Vološ added that some heavy metals can be bound up in clay elements and the river, running five kilometres through Slovak territory, could wash them away. However, a part of them can remain in river sediments.
A special working group of the Košice Regional Office asked the agency's employees to monitor the levels of heavy metals in the river until an order to stop this activity is declared. The monitoring samples will be taken three times a day from the flooded area of the Tisa River near the village of Malé Trakany.
The Trebišov State Health Institute will monitor water quality, taking samples from individual water sources in the affected areas near Veľké and Malé Trakany twice a week.
The ecological accident happened in Romania on March 10 after heavy rains and snow resulted in the overflow of a sludge dam at a pit near the village of Borsa, about 150-180 kilometres from the Hungarian border. There was subsequent leakage of about 20,000 cubic metres of sewage water
(Ed note: this most recent environmental incident should not be confused with the cyanide spill originating in Romania last month).
Compiled by Tom Nicholson from TASR