Deputy receives unwanted shower
A well known opposition face was in the news again recently, but not for his political pronouncements. Former Interior Minister Ladislav Pittner of Slovak Democratic Coalition (SDK) was the victim of an attack that left him spluttering with rage. When leaving his office for parliament, two masked men sneaked up behind Pittner and splashed a bowl of animal urine over him as he was about to enter his car.
Mikuláš Dzurinda, SDK chairman, issued an official statement on July 16, which stated that the time and method of the attack proved the action was organized by those wanting to deepen tension in society and intimidate opposition politicians.
The SDK expects an immediate investigation of case, and assured the Slovak public that the party will not let itself be intimidated by anyone, whether they are carrying a bucket or not. "The SDK will not abate in its efforts to change the regime and political climate in Slovakia after the parliamentary elections and will introduce a rule of law and justice," read the statement.
Man with Radioactive Material Detained
On July 23 at 6 p.m., Bratislava police detained a 38-year-old suspect from Rimavská Sobota at M.R.Štefánik Airport. The man was charged under a law prohibiting illegal production and possession of nuclear materiel.
The offender, who could face a prison term of up to five years, was carrying a segment of a military device containing radioactive iridium and strontium in a plastic shopping bag. According to an expert report, the radiation exceeded the allowed norm by 900%. Fortunately, officials encountered no health risks when handling the dangerous container.
According to Alena Koišová, representative for the Interior Ministry Press Department, the police investigation into the case is continuing.
Minister gives vulgar gift
Gustáv Krajči, Slovak Interior Minister, was summoned to the July 21 parliamentary session, which had been called especially for him. Thirty opposition parliamentarians initiated the session, asking for a vote to dismiss Krajči from his post. But with only 48 of 150 deputies voting for Krajči's dismissal, the minister held on to his post.
"We propose to dismiss [Krajči] from the post of Interior Minister for his failure to fulfill his official duties," stated Ladislav Pittner, himself an ex-Minister of the Interior and now an opposition SDK deputy. Along with his party fellows, Pittner demanded Krajči's removal, claiming that the minister had failed to deal with organized crime and intimidation of the press.
Ján Čarnogurský, an SDK deputy, agreed with Pittner, alleging that Krajči was responsible for marring last year's referendum on direct presidential elections. "Krajči first was a big hero and claimed responsibility for the referendum, but when it came to bear consequences there were appeals to the prosecutor, and a new prosecutor was appointed to the case who stopped proceedings," said Čarnogurský.
Krajči struck back by naming the 30 deputies who called for the special session "instigators." After his final speech, Krajči approached Čarnogurský and presented him with a book entitled "Dost bylo kokotu" (No more pricks). Čarno-gurský refused the book.
When asked by a reporter from the Czech daily Lidové Noviny whether he would find himself in the book, Krajči responded, "We all are there, the whole society." To the question of what kind of (vulgar word omitted) he fancied himself, Krajči said "the kind that now occupies a high post."
Nudes fight prudes
An altercation broke out between a group of nudists and other costume-clad swimmers at Rusovce, one of Bratislava's recreation areas, on the weekend of August 1 to 2. The basking bare-skins had reserved a section on a small island for their naked frolicking, but were joined by a group of clothed bathers. Feathers were ruffled when the birthday suiters issued a demand to their more modest counterparts: either strip or leave.
The occasion was not the first time the nature worshippers had wilfully occupied the entire island and declared that no one wearing a swimming costume could approach the shore. Despite their warnings, only a few hand slaps and threats were reported from the scuffle with the dressed-up island intruders. One slightly damaged bicycle was also noted by police.
Air show at the July 18 HZDS nomination conference in Trnava.
Plus 7 Dní
Curiously, Ostrovné lúčky - Mokraď, as the resort is known, is a zone reserved as a drinking water source, and no one is allowed to trespass, whether sporting a bikini or not. The nudists, therefore, had no right to reserve any part of the area for practising their hobby, their clothed antagonists pointed out.
HZDS conference wows thousands
On July 18, ten specially-chartered trains pulled into Trnava main station carrying thousands of delegates and participants to a nomination conference called by the ruling HZDS party to decide on its election candidates. Over 18,000 people attended the fest, which kicked off at 17:00 in Trnava's main football stadium. Each seat in the stadium had a bag containing a meal ticket, a raincoat, a HZDS flag and a candidates list. Mineral water bottles and cups were adorned with the HZDS party emblem. According to the Czech daily Mladá fronta dnes, 20,000 participants were on hand to witness speeches, fanfares, hot air balloons with HZDS flags (see photo, this page), fireworks, bonfires and much, much more. According to "unofficial information" cited in the Czech daily, the spree cost 15-20 million crowns ($500,000), almost the entire amount that the opposition SDK plans to spend on its whole election campaign, but only a fraction of
the 500 million crowns ($1.4 million) the paper said the HZDS would spend on its own stump tour.
Compiled from press reports by Ivan Remiaš