50 illegal immigrants found in Petržalka flat
Police captured 50 illegal immigrants hiding in the fifth floor of a Petržalka flat on January 29 after a neighbour called the police to report that a man had made a rope of trousers, shirts and sweaters in order to climb to the bottom floor from the fifth floor window. As the man descended to the third floor, the rope broke and the man crashed to the ground, breaking both his legs.
Investigating police officers later entered the flat and discovered the immigrants, none of whom had legal travel or identity documents. To complicate matters, none of the immigrants spoke an international language and the interpreter at the flat refused to stay after a doctor called to the site discovered that one of the men was suffering from an unknown skin disease. All the fugitives were later brought to hospital as the police began an investigation.
Bratislavans support SNP Square revitalisation
According to a poll conducted by Eva Hanulákova of the Old Town Council, Bratislavans "positively view" plans to renovate SNP Square to make the city-centre more attractive and put it on the same level as other major European cities. The poll was conducted between November 25 and December 1 in Bratislava on locals, city workers and tourists.
Hanulákova said that 45% of the respondents were unaware of the proposed renovations, compared to 37% who knew about it and 18% who were "not certain" if they knew about the plans. Nearly 60% did not know that renovation costs would be financed by private companies rather than the city. Over 80% would welcome the new SNP Square's being designated as a pedestrian-only zone.
Snowed-in pupils freed from hotel
After an unexpected week-long stay at the Kráľova Studňa mountain hotel in the Veľká Fatra mountains, 72 pupils from Nitra returned safely home after rescue workers and snow plows finally managed to clear the 4-metre snow drifts blocking the one road leading to the hotel.
Heavy snowstorms during the January 22-23 weekend caught the group off-guard in the mountains where they had traveled for a ski trip. Taking refuge in Kráľova Studňa, the students and their guides reportedly had plenty of food, water, heat and electricity. None of the students or adults on the trip were reported sick or injured.
The road to Kráľova Studňa had been impassable for over a week. On January 24, a rescue team of 18 skied to the hotel with food and drink while oil and more food were brought in January 21 by a military helicopter. An originally planned transport of the students for January 23 was abandoned when the weather worsened and several parents refused to grant permission.
Two buses of Slovak Roma refused at German border
German border police prevented two Czech Eurolines buses from entering the country January 29 after it was discovered that more than 100 Slovak Romany were attempting to make their way to the Netherlands through Germany, reported the Czech private TV Prima.
According to the TV report, the passengers refused to leave the buses, resulting in the driver's being told to return to Prague where the trip began. German officials said they prevented the buses from entering because of the "untrustworthiness" of the Roma who had neither money nor return tickets.
Presperín attacker charged in scrap
Banská Bystrica police arrested businessman Peter K. on January 30 for attacking the Slovak Parliament's Deputy Speaker Igor Presperín after a minor car accident on January 28. Police officials said that Peter K. (31) punched Presperín (48) in the face after the fender-bender, then fled the scene of the accident.
When questioned by the police, Peter K. said he had not known who Presperín was. Doctors at the Trauma and Neurology Department of Roosevelt Hospital in Banská Bystrica said Presperín will require one or two weeks of recovery.
Crude oil leak in Transpetrol-operated line
An oil leak from a Transpetrol-operated pipeline transporting crude oil from Russia near the village of Čana (near Košice) on January 26 contaminated an area of about 40 metres by 80 metres, said Technopetrol director Martin Zlocha.
The leak occured on the DN 700 section of the pipeline - a section that was supposed to have undergone reconstruction this year. Because of the oil leak, the oil flow through the section has been shut off.
Snow covering the frozen soil is complicating cleanup efforts. A commission has been established, led by Transpetrol operating director Jaroslav Linkes, to determine the causes of the leak, clean up the contaminated territory, and restart the pipeline.
Compiled by Chris Togneri from SITA and TASR
7. Feb 2000 at 0:00