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Brutal murder of Romany woman
Hlinka mania
Foreigners arrested crossing frontier
Romany woman pickpockets Premier
Grannies duke it out for Ms. Lady title

HANDLOVÁ
Brutal murder of Romany woman

A 19-year old Romany woman was brutally murdered during the night on August 19-20 in the central Slovak town of Handlová.
The dead body was spotted by a local inhabitant near a former mining colony the following morning. The body was lying face down on the frame of what once had been a baby cariage. Police determined that the woman had died from several blows to the head by an unknown object. The coroner stated that the victim died between 1-3 am.
Police officers from Prievidza district as well as Trenčín region took part in the ensuing investigation, and their efforts were soon successful.
According to Jozef Bartolen, the head secretary of the district police, the victim was 19-year old Andrea L. from Handlová. Four hours after first being informed of the case, police detained the murderer, a 19-year old Romany named Vladimír C. He confessed to the brutal murder and, when confronted with the evidence police had amassed, also to a sexual backdrop to the tragedy.
Witnesses said the youths knew each other well and had been having fun with other friends until late that night. The motive for the killing is still unknown.
According to the murderer, he hit his victim several times with a stone, threw her on the frame of a baby carriage stolen from a yard and rolled her away from the scene of crime to the outskirts of the mining encampment.


RUŽOMBEROK
Hlinka mania

A two day national celebration of the 60th anniversary of the death of noted politician and preacher Andrej Hlinka culminated August 16 on Hlinka square in Ružomberok. More than a thousand people were on hand to see a Parliamentary delegation, led by a deputy from the ruling HZDS party, Augustín Marián Huska. After a festive Holy Mass, Húska and other dignitaries unveiled an Andrej Hlinka statue at the City Hall building.
After the ceremony, some of the visitors recalled Hlinka's work as a writer, translator, journalist and politician. The governing coalition member Slovak National Party (SNS) chairman Ján Slota, along with Ján Čarnogursky from the Christian Democratic Movement were on hand to praise Hlinka's contribution to Slovak autonomy and mutual tolerance.
Hlinka was born in Ružomberok (then Černová) on September 27, 1864, and led the Slovak autonomous movement within the Czechoslovak federation from 1918 to 1938 as a deputy to the Czechoslovak Parliament.


SKALICA
Foreigners arrested crossing frontier

60 people, including 9 from Yugoslavia's Kosovo province, 28 Afghanis, 16 Iraqis and 7 Chinese were arrested on August 17 at the Slovak border crossing at Skalica as they tried to cross into the Czech Republic . Among the detainess were 17 women, 23 men and 20 children, as well as a 20 year old Slovak guide.
According to the Trnava RegionalPolice, the Afghanis said they had given the equivalent of 10,000 Slovak crowns ($300) for the service. The travellers are now guests of the Slovak Republic, and will be sent back to their home countries at the expense of the Slovak government.
This makes 778 people that Trnava police have arrested in 68 such cases so far this year.


JAROVNICE
Romany woman pickpockets Premier

During the August 7 visit of Premier Vladimír Mečiar to the flood-devastated village of Jarovnice, an unidentified Romany woman approached the Slovak leader and embraced him as she poured out a tearful tale of suffering. The first hint that the embrace and tears might not be genuine came when the Premier's spokesman, Marián Kardoš, spotted a bony old hand creeping inside Mečiar's jacket pocket. Kardoš alerted Mečiar's bodyguards, who sprang forward and foiled the attempt to lighten the Premier of some of his burden.
Moments later, Mečiar donated 20,000 Slovak crowns ($600) to Anna Tobiašová, an octogenarian resident of the town who had lost everything, except for the gift rescued by the Premier's eagle-eyed security detail.


MARTIN
Grannies duke it out for Ms. Lady title

State-run STV held a riveting contest on August 8 to decide who would take the fiercely contested crown for the best granny in Slovakia. The show involved 10 finalists, whose only qualification was that they were grannies who knew how to sing and dance and put on a show.
And what a show it was. The 10 finalists pulled out all stops to win, dancing, somersaulting and strutting across the stage in front of a captive, and often stunned, studio audience.
One of the judged events was a cake icing contest. Each granny had a gingerbread heart wheeled out in front of her, and had five minutes in which to squeeze out a tube of icing into an attractive pattern. Several of the ladies set to work with gusto, producing curlicues and swirls that clearly had the cameraman riveted. But other contestants wielded their tools nervously, clearly as much at home with icing guns as with chainsaws.
Then it was time for the freestyle show, when the grannies could display their true talents. Some did gymnastics, somersaulting lumpishly across the stage. Others aerobicized in the company of their daughters and granddaughters, desperately hurling their limbs about in imitation of the more supple movements of their progeny. One even descended from the ceiling in a parachute, landing in a heap mid-stage when the chute failed to deploy fully in the still air of the studio.
Then there were questions from sponsors of the show. Sample: "Mrs So-and-so, how many issues does my company's X-magazine sell per month? 10,000, 20,000 or 140,000?" "Uhhh, 140,000?" "YOU'RE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT!" Turns to camera and fixes the viewing audience with an earnest grimace. " X-magazine is the most successful journal ever to have..."
The highlight of the night, for irreverent viewers at least, was a question asked by an STV Martin official of one of the contestants as to which STV program she would abolish if she could. "The news," she answered. She did not win.
The winner was, in fact, 49 year-old Elena Žigová from Šurany. The rest of the contestants, all 9 of them, placed second. As Žigová said afterwards, "this showed that in Slovakia we really have some brave grandmothers."


Compiled by Tom Nicholson from press reports

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