Slovak disappears from Czech schools
According to participants in the summer School of Tolerance 1999 conference, which ended in Prague on August 29, the teaching and knowledge of Slovak language, litertaure and culture has almost completely disappeared from the Cyech educational system since the fall of communism in 1989. Approximately 100 Czech high school and university teachers, various educational experts and Czech Education Ministry officials participated in the three-day event.
Naďa Vokušová, chairwoman of the Slovak-Czech club, said that the Czech Education Ministry should re-introduce Slovak into the Czech school system. "Great damage would be done if the next generation of Czechs do not understand Slovak," she said.
One of the reasons why Slovak has disappeared from the Czech curriculum is that Czech teachers profess ignorance of their former national partners, said Slovak-Czech Club vice chairman Vladimír Skalský.
Bears enjoy plums
While bears are "renowned nibblers" of wild mountain berries such as rasberries, bilberries and strawberries, they are also fond of the now-ripening plums in the forested areas of the Veľká Fatra and Low Tatra mountain ranges, said Miroslav Saniga, a researcher for the Slovak Academy of Science's research centre in Staré Hory. Saniga said he gained a glimpse of the ursine plum-fanciers when he surprised a party of bears chomping on the purple fruit on a road between Banská Bytrica and Donovaly.
Prior to eating a plum, a bear will generally sit down and remove the stone pit, Saniga said. Small bears have also been known to climb trees in pursuit of the fruit, which Saniga said did no good to the often fragile plum tree.
Saniga said that bears living even in the most remote sections of forest are drawn to fruit trees, and regard plums as a major source of energy during the pre-hibernation months. He added a warning to hikers that although fruits and nuts are the mainstay of the bear's summer diet, they are still omnivorous animals which may not care to share their food with people they find picking their "bear necessities."
Kremnička was the host of an August 26 competition to determine the handsomest billy goat in Slovakia. Above, two likely-looking candidates approach the judges' desk..jpg
Mečiar named honorary citizen
Former Prime Minister and current HZDS party chairman Vladimír Mečiar was awarded an honourary citizenship by the eastern Slovak town of Svetlice on August 29. During a ceremony marking the special occasion, town representatives presented Mečiar with a key to the town as a symbol of their gratitude for "the improvement of the village's communal life."
Mečiar helped settle a religious dispute in the town directly after the fall of communism, said HZDS spokesman Marian Kardoš. The two dominant religious groups of the area, Greek Catholics and Orthodox Christians, had fought over ownership of the town church in 1989, he said. Thanks to Mečiar's largesse, however, the town now has two churches and no religious conflict.