Around Slovakia

Human skull found in forest
Explanation of "hairless Martians" offered
Bird hunting angers bird expert
Deadly gun play
Traditional Easter customs cherished by region
74-year-old woman catches fire

Human skull found in forest

A local hunter from Trenčianska Turej discovered a human skull in the hunting area nearby Trenčín last week. The man contacted the police, who returned later to unearth more skeletal parts as well as the clothing the person had worn when buried.
Police investigators said that the death of the unknown person had occurred four to five years ago and that the cause of death had not yet been determined. The case is currently under investigation.

Slovak astronaut Ivan Bella is the newest member of the KNP.

Explanation of "hairless Martians" offered

The Slovak Club of the Unjustly Bald (KNP) has evaluated a report from the first Slovak cosmonaut Ivan Bella and agreed that a long-term stay in outer space, when combined with the use of KNP-created "Vyplzol shampoo" can quicken the natural rate of hair loss by 43%.
"This experiment is the ultimate explanation of why all flying saucers are captained by the bald and why all Martians are hairless," said KNP chairman Roman Farkaš.
The KNP is an international, just-for-fun organisation based in Trenčín with membership that is reputed to include "politicians and scientific, cultural and sport celebrities". The most recent inductee was Ivan Bella, the first Slovak cosmonaut, who gained automatic acceptance under KNP regulations which state that all hopefuls must be at least fifty percent bald.
Other KNP activities include the Bald Beauty contest, Mr. Bald, as well as Bald Theatre, the annual Bald Dance Ball and a cartoon exhibition with baldness as the main motif. Furthermore, in preparation for the millennium, the KNP will honour the last baby born in 1999.
"Many prestigious companies have decided to present a special gift to the first new-born-baby of the third millennium," Farkaš explained. "On the contrary, the KNP has decided to celebrate the last unlucky Slovak born in the second millennium. For the special occasion, we have invented a baby shampoo called "Vyplzol Baby" that we want the last born baby of the twentieth century to endorse, and which will, under its auspices, quicken his entrance into the KNP."

Stare Hory
Bird hunting angers bird expert

The Slovak bird hunting season, which began on April 1, has raised the ire of the SAV Forestry Ecology Institute, an organisation which has called on the government to protect endangered birds and other bird species year round.
In recent press reports, Miroslav Šaniga, the self-styled "Bird Master" of the Institute, expressed outrage over the hunting of the woodcock (Scolopax Rusticola) and the capercaillie (Tetrao Urogallus) and recommended that Slovakia follow the lead of the Czech Republic, which has placed a ban on bird hunting. According to Šaniga, 190 bird species call Slovakia home and one-fifth of that number are on the endangered species list, including the capercaille. "It is incomprehensible and tragic that the hunting is allowed," he said.
Šaniga warned that unless steps were taken to protect the bird community of Slovakia, many other rare species would fall into a state of "irreversible extinction". Bustards (Otis Tarda), imperial eagles (Aquila Heliaca), falcons (Falco Peregrinus), golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetus), as well as the woodcock and capercaille all face the danger of being completely wiped out in Slovakia, he said.

Deadly gun play

A 16-year-old Žilina boy, identified as MK, shot and killed his 19-year-old friend on the evening of April 1 at a local railway station while playing with the older teen's gun.
The victim, whose name was given as L'S, had brought an 8 millimetre K-Italy pistol to the tracks to show to his eventual killer. A third boy joined them, and they all began playing with the pistol.
Not knowing it was loaded, MK pointed the gun at L'S's face. The gun fired and struck the older teen in his cheek, killing him. Despite the apparently accidental nature of the crime, police investigators said that prosecution for manslaughter had already begun.

Traditional Easter customs cherished by region

The historical region of Spiš celebrated Easter weekend by carrying on the preserved traditions of the land. According to the town folk, the area has been preserving the traditions for centuries, "passing them from one generation to another as a precious treasure".
On 'White Saturday' and Easter Monday, traditional church ceremonies are held in the town church. After the services, all the children run home as fast as they can- it is believed to keep them "swift and nippy," the town elders said.
After a ceremonial lunch on Monday, the girls are reported to "prepare themselves" for the ensuing annual traditions. The men and boys of the village then douse the women and girls with water and softly whip their bare legs. In return, the women offer the whippers and dousers money, chocolate, or a shot of alcohol.

74-year-old woman catches fire

An Easter Sunday fire in Zlaté Moravce claimed the life of the flat owner, a 74-year-old woman who caught fire and eventually died of smoke inhalation.
According to fire investigators, the woman's clothes caught on fire, possibly through the "careless use of matches" while she had been sitting on her living room sofa. The woman then attempted to put out the flames but was unsuccessful. Eventually she fell on her bed in the bedroom, which also began to burn.
Firemen found the woman on the bed covered in burnt clothes. Although no foul play was suspected, the fire department said that investigations would continue.

Compiled by Chris Togneri
from press reports

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