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Explosion kills two, injures a journalist
Olympic airplane christened
Marijuana farmer busted
Salmonella infects almost 300

ŽILINA
Explosion kills two, injures a journalist

A bomb explosion killed two people and injured three others on July 9 at a downtown parking lot in this northern Slovak town of 87,000. A 47-year-old journalist from Kysucké Nové Mesto was taken to hospital in critical condition, while his wife, an elementary school teacher, was in serious condition. A third victim, a man who was tossed by the shock wave stemming from the blast and smashed against a parked car, was also treated for injuries. The public phone next to an art school, where the explosive was planted, was thrown about 100 meters. All around the crime scene lay a total of 40,000 crowns in banknotes, which bystanders started grabbing. According to police, the perpretrator's motive ramians unknown.


POPRAD
Olympic airplane christened

The first Olympic airplane was christened on July 2 in this northern Slovak town of 55,000, which is bidding to organize the Winter Olympic Games in 2006. Ján Smerek, the Chairman of the Candidature Committee of Poprad-Tatras, baptized it "Gerlach," which is the highest peak in the High Tatras mountain range. The Russian-made aircraft will connect Poprad with Bratislava and Moscow. "There will be a regular domestic flight from Poprad to Bratislava," said Viliam Veteška, General Director of Slovak Airlines that owns the plane. "Gerlach will also connect Poprad with Moscow starting this winter during the tourist season." Gerlach bears a 2006 Winter Olympics logo and, according to the contract between Slovak Airlines and the Candidature Committee, if the Poprad-Tatras bid succeeds, Gerlach will become the Games' official aircraft.


ŽILINA
Marijuana farmer busted

On June 29, police discovered a bag of marijuana while doing a routine check on a 31-year-old drug addict who police would identify only as Miroslav Š. Based on Miroslav Š's testimony, officers consequently found a 700-meter long, 10-12-meter wide hemp field near Dolný Hričov, a village located about 500 meters from the airport serving this northern Slovak city of 87,000. About 500 plants were found on the field, abutted by corn and poppy fields, with heights ranging from 40 centimeters to two meters.
The leaves of one American hemp plant usually yield about 20 marijuana cigarettes that sell on the black market for prices starting at 50 Sk, while the considerably more potent buds fetch a higher price. Assuming this, the farmer lost a minimum of half a million crowns. Evidence suggests that the field has been there for the past several years, police added.


POPRAD
Salmonella infects almost 300

A total of 278 people were infected by salmonella in a Slovak company's restaurant, said Jozef Krak, Director of the State Health Local Authority. All patients were employees of Tatravagónka, a local train carriage producer. On June 30, ten patients were taken to the local hospital with salmonella symptoms. Another 50 were admitted the next night, out of whom 18 needed treatment. By July 3, the situation had stabilized. "All the people were infected in the Tatravagónka company restaurant," Krak said. "On [June 29], all of those infected had lunch there. We took samples of meals and after the tests are completed we will know more." The restaurant is closed for the time being.


Compiled by Ľudmila Herdová from press reports.

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