Community Grapevine

Strengthening the Java-Blava connection

A delegation of businesspeople from Indonesia representing a dozen companies will visit Bratislava from September 30 to October 2 to talk trade with their Slovak counterparts. Examples of specific goods that will be the subject of trade discussions include textiles, clothes, coffee, tea, rattan furniture, cocoa, spices, and rubber goods, according to Herianda Latief, the third secretary at the Indonesian Embassy in Bratislava.

Congratulations to outgoing French Ambassador to Slovakia Michel Perrin, the first diplomat to receive the prestigious Order of the White Double Cross. Slovak President Michal Kováč can award the order to foreign citizens in recognition of their extraordinary contributions to Slovakia's development.

A few days after Ambassador Perrin accepted the white cross, Kováč also extended it to American philosopher Michael Novak and then to Sergei Yastrzhemski, the Russian ambassador to Slovakia who was recently named Boris Yeltsin's spokesman. Novak, born in Pennsylvania to second-generation Slovak-Americans, was in Bratislava for a series of lectures on democratic capitalism. He also presented his monograph "The Philosophy of Freedom," the first of his works to be released in Slovak.

While the Slovak President was giving out awards to foreigners in Slovakia, a group representing the Slovak community in the US met with American First Lady Hillary Clinton. The meeting was, according to one participant, the first time Slovak-Americans had an opportunity to visit the White House as an independent ethnic minority group. Almost 400 people attended the meeting - during which Clinton presented a slide show from her recent trip to Slovakia - including Slovak Ambassador to the US Branislav Lichardus.

Students interested in undergraduate study in the US may need to take the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) or the ACT. While the ACT will be held in Bratislava on October 26 (registration deadline Oct. 11), Educational Testing Service (ETS), the SAT's producers, have not yet determined a testing date. To request a test date in Slovakia (the test is held regularly in Vienna), test organizer Nadežda Rozholdová suggests writing a letter to ETS asking them to open the Bratislava test center (identified as #56830), explaining that a trip to Vienna would increase the cost of taking the test, and declaring that Rozholdová, as a test supervisor, agrees. For more information, contact her at 07/531- 1114.

Congratulations to the students who completed the 32nd annual Slovak summer course given by the Studia Academika Slovaka (SAS) in Bratislava. Almost 180 students from 34 different countries attended the three-week course, which included classes, lectures, and workshops on Slovak language, literature, and culture.

An internet note: Limba, the Slovak agency for rural tourism, can now be contacted on the World Wide Web. Their home page presents listing by region of over 150 houses offering accommodation, with pictures as well. It's in Slovak, English and German, and you can make reservations or special requests right over the internet. Look them up atŞlimba.

Limestone, not grime stone, will be produced at a new environmentally friendly kiln that opened at the Vapenka Tisovec limestone plant in August. USAID, through the Environmental Action Program Support Project, procured and installed over $195,000 worth of materials and equipment to convert the coke-fueled limestone kiln to natural gas. The conversion allows the kiln to reduce polluting emissions by 95 percent, and to produce higher quality limestone.

All - members and newcomers alike - are welcome at the International Women's Club of Bratislava's wine and cheese party on September 27. Beginning at 6 p.m., tasters may sample Slovak wines and cheeses at the Bratislava wine museum at the Old City Hall. Entrance costs 250 Sk.

On a less cultivated note, let's recognize the winners of the Topvar beer contest, held in Nitra during the agricultural fair Agrokomplex. Róbert Borian from Žarnovica took the speed record by slugging down a liter of beer in 3.268 seconds. For sheer bulk, the prize went to 22-year-old Andrej Kiss, who measured in at 179 cm (5 feet, 9 inches) around the waist. And Partizánske's František Gregor won the strangest contest of all -he managed to hold a full mug of beer in his outstretched hand for 3 minutes, 48 seconds. Not bad, but he fell way short of his personal best of 7.217 minutes. Na zdravie!

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