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Around Slovakia

Foreign investor jailed for damaged passport
Greenpeace hold German embassy balcony
Pub crawler drowns
Brutal murder shocks nation
Halušky champions crowned
Slovan wins Mars Superliga title

Bratislava
Foreign investor jailed for damaged passport

Vlastimil Valenta, director of the Czech company Svit Zlín, spent 35 hours in a Bratislava prison last week after transferring 30 million Slovak crowns to his company at a local Tatra Banka branch, Czech Television reported on May 24. According to Bratislava police, Valenta's passport had a damaged protective cover, thus calling for his imprisonment over two weeks after he had first entered the Slovak Republic. Valenta disagreed, saying that he was arrested "because of competition for the shares in one of the most lucrative Slovak companies" - he did not clarify which company - and that the alleged irregularities in his passport were "only a pretense" for his arrest.
Jaroslav Bašta, Czech Minister without portfolio, intervened on behalf of Valenta and eventually secured his release. Valenta has filed a complaint against the Bratislava Police Force and the Slovak Interior Ministry, and said that he was considering filing suit against Tatra Banka as well.


Bratislava
Greenpeace hold German embassy balcony

Greenpeace environmental activists occupied part of the German embassy in Bratislava on May 27 for four hours, demanding that German companies discontinue their support of Slovakia's civil nuclear power programme. Four German nationals, dressed in yellow overalls, scaled the embassy wall at 6.30 a.m. and took over the main balcony until they gave themselves up to police who promised that they would be quickly released. Seven Slovaks, who had staged a sit-in at the entrance to the embassy, were also dragged away by police..
The Slovak government recently went back on a 1994 pledge to close its ageing Jaslovske Bohunice nuclear power station by 2000, provoking outrage from environmental organisations who say the plant is unsafe. Germany's Siemens AG, among others, has been involved in supplying technology for Jaslovske Bohunice.
"We're certainly very happy that we got our point across, which is that Germany should be playing a much stronger role in efforts to get Bohunice closed down," Ben Pearson of the Greenpeace office in Amsterdam said. He added that Greenpeace wanted Germany to pursue a more actively anti-nuclear foreign policy.


Bratislava
Pub crawler drowns

The body of a 40 year-old man, the victim of a drunken drowning, was recovered from Bratislava's Lake Kuchajda on May 24, said Marta Bujňaková from Bratislava Police Headquarters. The unidentified man was last seen at 18:50 drinking in a nearby pub, she said. He apparently decided to go for a swim, and wound up having his body dragged form the water an hour later by rescue workers.


Trenčianske Teplice
Brutal murder shocks nation

Three attackers, who were lying in wait for 44 year-old businessman Jozef P. of Trenčianske Teplice outside his home on April 21, succeeded in beating their victim to death for his wallet and car keys.
The brutal murder shocked the nation, and was at first investigated by the police as a mafia killing. But when the private station TV Markíza broadcast footage of the body and the crime scene, eye-witnesses came forward and fingered 22 year-old Jozef P. of Trenčianske Teplice, 23 year-old Jaroslav B. and his 25 year-old brother in law, Peter M., both of Trenčín.
According to TV Markíza and police reports, two of the men had waylaid the victim and beaten him senseless with steel bars outside his home before stuffing him in the trunk of their car and driving him to a bridge over a desolate stretch of the Váh River. After stealing his wallet and the keys to his car and motorcycle, the thieves wound tape around the eyes, mouth, hands and legs of Jozef P., and fearing that he might later identify them, tied a heavy stone around his ankles and threw him into the river 10 meters below.
Jozef P., however, apparently managed to rid himself of the stone and swim to the bank of the river, where he crawled out and attempted to reach a nearby freeway to flag down a car. He died after having crawled within 50 meters of the road from injuries to his head.
The three attackers, now in police custody, face a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. They were known by their neighbours to be small-time thieves, and police suspect that robbery was also the motive behind their horrific crime.


Krompachy
Halušky champions crowned

The "Mako" team from Liptovský Mikuláš became the new Bryndzové Halušky masters on May 22 in Krompachy when they won the annual Slovak Open Championships created in honor of the national dish. The title was decided by a five-member jury which included a halušky expert from Africa as well as domestic judges.
The 14 four-member teams, including a Hungarian team from Bekescaba, were judged according to three criteria: the quality of product, the speed of its preparation and the speed of eating the finished product. They were also expected to cook the halušky in the traditional way, by cutting their own wood to feed wood-burning stoves, and peeling enough potatoes for three and a half kilograms of the traditional Slovak dish. A forestry company from Krompachy won the "fastest eating" award while another local company, SEZ, were the fastest cooks.
Profits from a raffle held at the contest went to the Humanity For Life Foundation which annually allocates funds to hospitals and children's homes throughout Slovakia. The contest was a "dress rehearsal" for the World Championship of Cooking and Eating Halušky, which will be staged in the Banská Bystrica district town of Turecká on June 11-13.


Prievidza
Slovan wins Mars Superliga title

Slovan Bratislava beat Baník Prievidza two to nil in the 29th round of the Slovak football Mars Superliga in Prievidza on May 22 to clinch its fourth national Slovak title since the 1993 split of the Czech and Slovak Republics. The win came on the heels of Slovan's May 8 Zlatý Bážant Cup victory over Dukla Banská Bystrica by a score of 3 to nil. Second place Superliga finisher Inter will represent Slovakia in the UEFA Cup along with Dukla. Champion Slovan will represent Slovakia in the preliminary round of the Champions League.


Compiled by Chris Togneri from TASR and press reports

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