Around Slovakia

Danish tourists escape brush with death
Economic solutions shown at Revitex '96
Nitra theater festival stages top troupes
Archa Club looks to be the cat's meow
Polish Tourist fourth victim this year

Danish tourists escape brush with death

A group of Danish tourists on their way to Poland narrowly escaped from a tight jam on September 21 after their bus almost slipped off a road near Donovaly, a village in the Low Tatras region of central Slovakia. While contending with the twisting, turning road, the bus's driver steered too close to the road's edge, causing a part of the bus to slip off the pavement and hang suspended above an eight-meter chasm. The frightened passengers had to move to the left side to keep the bus balanced while waiting three hours for the Slovak road rescue and fire team to arrive. Deftly inserting inflatable air bags under the bus and on its sides to keep it balanced, rescue workers used a special crane to move the vehicle back onto the road. "It wasn't that hard, but emotionally it was hard for us because of the people on that bus," relayed Ján Čurek, a lieutenant at the Banská Bystrica fire department that assisted in the rescue.
TASR and Andrea Lörinczová

Economic solutions shown at Revitex '96

A flight plan for restructuring and revitalizing the Slovak economy swooped to center stage at the second annual Revitex '96 held in Prešov September 25-27.
Staged at hastily changed locations, which fouled up logisitcal arrangements, what the conference lacked in form it more than made up for in content, as some of the heaviest hitters in the financial and economic community (public and private sectors) buckled down and searched how to resuscitate Slovakia's ailing economy.
Undercapitalization, a lack of foreign investment and the widening trade deficit (already in excess of 35 billion Sk this year) currently plague the Slovak economy, conference participants said. Two schools of economic thought offered solutions - one embodied in Peter Stanek, the economic advisor to Prime Minister Vladimír Mečiar (who was scheduled to speak but didn't) and characterized by government-led proposals, while the other emphasized market-forces.
Officials from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the European Commission were among the foreign speakers urging the government to open the door wider to foreign capital and investment. Slovakia has attracted $880 million to date, well behind other countries in the region on a per capita basis.
But the most telling speech, according to Derek Chambers, economic advisor at the Ministry of Economy, belonged to Jozef Mudrík, vice-governor of the National Bank of Slovakia. Mudrík said there is about 30 billion Sk of "uncovered" debt in the banking system and suggested "immediate action in dealing with bankruptcies."
Terry Moran

Nitra theater festival stages top troupes

The fifth International Theater Festival, tagged "Divadelná Nitra '96," was held in the west Slovak city of Nitra September 20-25. The event, held in front of the Andrej Bagar Theater, showcased theater groups from both Slovakia and abroad.
"The festival aimed to emphasize the significance of the arts for the spiritual life of a human being and society, which mainly nowadays can be distinguished by a breathtaking regrouping of values," said Darina Karová, the festival's director.
It also served as a venue to present top works of Slovak theater within an international context. Judging by the awards given out at the event, the home country's acting corps fared quite well.
The Slovak National Theater's drama ensemble won best stage production for the play "As You Like It," directed by Eniko Eszenyi. Eszenyi also took prizes for best directing in "As You Like It," and the actress Diana Morová garnered honors as best performing actress for her portrayal of the character Rosalinda in the play. Milan Mikulčík, a performing arts student at the VSMU Theater Faculty in Bratislava, was voted the "Discovery of the Season."
Casting a shadow over the festivities was the fact that the event may not take place next year due to a lack of money. But Karová held her head high. "A lot of interest was shown by the organizers, participants, and audience throughout the festival," Karová said. "So everyone wants the festival to continue and that even includes the participants from eastern and western Europe."
Klein E. Ileleji and Braňo Páleník

Archa Club looks to be the cat's meow

A new nightclub recently opened in a brick-lined cellar in the courtyard on Hlavná ulica 17 in Trnava. Klub Archa, the joint's name, is "an ark of salvation for anyone who wants to do something," said its owner, Andrea Grujbárová. The club hosts concerts, public talks, theater performances, and discos and plans on staging poetry readings, discussion groups, exhibitions, and other ideas, Grujbárová added.
Once inside the club, the unmistakable theme is feline. Cats can be found on the walls, on stationery, on T-shirts, and hanging above the bar, dubbed "By the Dead Cat." That's because, Grujbárová related, she and her mostly student friends found a dead cat there when they began the nine-month task of transforming the cellar into a club.
Grujbárová says that Archa wants to draw university students and older people, and refuses entry to known drug users and dealers. However, she acknowledges that stemming the flow of drugs into the club may be an elusive goal. Another club in the courtyard, the K-Club, which opened in 1991, is not thrilled that the new competition is oriented towards the same crowd and musical style as the "Káčko," said its owner, Dagmar Keppertová.
Eva Torn

Polish Tourist fourth victim this year

A 47-year-old Polish tourist died when she slipped from Pachola peak (2,166 meters above sea level) in the West Tatras last month, the Slovak rescue service's regional branch reported. Her husband survived when he was picked up by a Tatras Mountain Rescue Service helicopter from Poprad. She was the fourth tourist to die this year in this mountain range, according to said Ján Zloška, the head of the rescue service Horská služba in the West Tatras.
The woman and her husband, despite critical weather conditions, took the trail from Zverovka to Baškovské Sedlo. "The Polish tourists were like any other tourist,"Zloška said. "Tourists are very ignorant about the weather, the difficulty of the mountains, and they think that nothing is going to happen to them. The Polish tourist and her husband did not have the equipment to be climbing in the mountains, and their shoes were only good maybe for walking in the valley. Unfortunately, this was a tragedy."
In September, two Czech tourists died near the place where the last federal environment minister Josef Vavroušek and his daughter died last year when they overestimated their own strength and underestimated the dangers posed by the weather, Zloška said. A Hungarian tourist perished in Fenruary because he and his group ignored avalanche warnings. Zloška said all hikers should take heed from these fatalities, which he contended could have been averted if the hikers asked about the weather. "It could save their lives."

TASR and Andrea Lörinczová

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