Frogs face hazardous mating trek
Almost 500 frogs in search of their "places of love" have been smashed by moving vehicles on a 5-kilometre stretch of road between Stare Hory and the valley of Velky Sturec in the mountainous Low Fatra region, said Miroslav Saniga of the local research station for the Slovak Academy of Science Forest Ecology Institute.
According to Saniga, masses of frogs embark on the mating exodus every spring, leaving their winter homes in search of prime mating locations such as streams or rivers. The problem, he said, was that these waterways often run alongside paved roads, resulting in the high rate of amphibian mortality.
The mating period of frogs usually lasts around one month and occurs in still water. Saniga explained that the female releases her eggs directly into the water "in the form of frog spawn" which become tadpoles within three to four weeks.
Most frogs in Slovakia have been classified as endangered species, Saniga said, adding that drivers in the region should pay special attention to road frog-populations during the night-time hours when the frog's love march is at its peak intensity.
Truck driver given second chance
A Belarus truck-driver hauling a load of three tractors to Budapest crashed on I/59 outside of Banska Bystrica on the Donovaly Mountain pass when the 34-year-old driver underestimated the pitch of the descent. Although the driver had navigated the pass twice before, he failed to heed the posted traffic signs and overheated his brakes - a common occurrence among drivers on that particular stretch of road.
According to the District Traffic Inspector from Banska Bystrica, the driver lost control of his truck and jumped out of the cabin, narrowly avoiding one of the tractors in his cargo which fell off the rig and landed near the lucky survivor. The Traffic Inspector said that the man had been so lucky to survive with his life, he was sure the driver had been "born for the second time."
The Belarus driver sustained only minor injuries, although the cargo suffered 750,000 Sk worth of damage. The load, it was reported, will have to return to Belarus.
Businessman shoots Bulgarian
A 55-year-old businessman from Ruzomberok (Zilina Region) faces criminal prosecution after he took the law into his own hands and shot a 29-year-old Bulgarian man who had tried to sucker him out of more than 150,000 Sk.
On Monday morning, the businessman was approached by four Bulgarian males, who asked to exchange their 6,700 DEM for 152,000 Sk. After the envelopes containing the banknotes were exchanged, the Bulgarians got into a Ford Escort and drove off in the direction of Liptovsky Mikulas. The businessman, meanwhile, got into his Mercedes and discovered that his envelope only contained 200 DEM.
Brandishing a legally-possessed hand-gun, the businessman began chasing the Bulgarians, unloading five shots in the direction of the car. The chase ended in Liptovsky Mikulas on Okolicianska Street, where the Bulgarians fled their car and attempted to escape in the town center.
Police eventually apprehended all involved and brought them to jail, except for the 29-year-old Bulgarian who had been shot in the stomach and was hospitalised; he will require three weeks of recovery. The Bulgarians face charges of theft while the Slovak businessman faces charges of causing dangerous bodily harm.
Home-made liquor extravaganza
Colour, strength and flavour are said to be the decisive criteria at the fifth "Kostovka", an annual competition of home-made spirits. The competition, which will take place on Saturday, April 17 in Stara Myava, showcases over 256 half-litre samples of home-made liquors.
Alcohol distilled from plums, cherries, pears, apples, apricot and rye compete for "prestigious ranks in various categories". The best concoction will be sold at the end of the festivities. Kopaniciarska Slivovica, a local product, annually dominates the field.
Emil Janovic of Lubina has donated a historical bottle of Slivovica (from 1940) for this year's festival from his "personal liquid archive". Various samples were also provided from makers in Bratislava, Nitra, Spisska Nova Ves, and other regions.
The festivities will culminate with the midnight auction of the tastiest sample, deemed as the best home-made liquor at the festival. Last year, the winning bottle fetched 4,200 Sk.
Compiled by Chris Togneri
19. Apr 1999 at 0:00