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Around Slovakia

Bear litter sets Guinness record
Carpenter plays human statue
Chewing gum artist hangs from bridge
Going to the dogs
Fish, officer?
Guitar museum an educational hit
Pit bull attacks people, kills poodle
Pupils forced to buy saints' pictures
Alleged payback fight takes life

Košice
Bear litter sets Guinness record

BEAR cubs Chris, Cindy, Yogi, Bubu and Balu from a Slovak zoo have received a Guinness book of world records certificate for the largest litter recorded in captivity.
The baby bears, born on January 6 this year to a bear named Mata in eastern Slovakia's Košice zoo, have now been officially recognised as a unique phenomenon in the bear world. Usually one or two bears are born to a single mother.
"I'm as happy as a small boy," said Košice zoo head Karol Seman.
He added that the birth of the bear cubs had boosted zoo visitor numbers so much that the number of visitors this summer alone was larger than last year's total.


Bratislava
Carpenter plays human statue

A LEARNED carpenter has become the Slovak capital's first human statue.
Miroslav Polakovič, 29, wears a Death mask and stands during normal business hours under the Michalská Brána gate in the Bratislava Old Town. He says he had wandered the world for six years, and was inspired by the human statues he saw in various cities, particularly Barcelona.
The Spanish city boasts around 200 human statue artists, Polakovič claims.
Polakovič says it takes him around 40 minutes to dress up and don his Death makeup.
"I work as a human statue because I enjoy it and I make enough money to feed myself. In the future, however, I'd like to find a job, preferably in the culture field," he adds.


Bratislava
Chewing gum artist hangs from bridge


A SWISS artist intrigued pedestrians with his bubble gum display.
photo: TASR

SWISS artist Heinrich Lüber hung himself from a Bratislava's SNP bridge, fixed to what appeared to be a massive chewing gum bubble.
Cars passing over the bridge slowed down as they approached the spectacle, while pedestrians stopped to try and decipher the artist's message.
Later that day, Lüber stuck himself to a pole next to a bus station under the bridge and repeated his two-hour performance in front of bewildered crowds.
At the end of the show, lookers-on discovered the secret of his fixation - an iron tube going through the inside of the bubble and fixed to a ladder. The ladder was hidden from public eyes as Lüber stuck it through his trousers, allowing him to stand comfortably throughout the show despite appearing suspended.
Ľubica Hustá from the Swiss Pro Helvetia culture foundation said: "I asked him what thought about during the hours he spends with his head stuck to a chewing gum bubble. He said he thinks about life and so on."


Bratislava
Going to the dogs

THE BRATISLAVA suburb of Petržalka organised its first annual Run for Animal Rights with 28 competing pairs of pets and owners.
The pairs ran an 800-metre course at the Petržalka horse track. The event was won by a dog named Bradži, a mixed breed that had been adopted from a local animal shelter.
Brandži reportedly prepared for the race by eating considerable quantities of bacon.


Prievidza
Fish, officer?

THREE poachers were nabbed by police as they were making off with 430 trout they had caught in a privately-owned lake near west Slovakia's Prievidza.
The men, all in their forties, had taken over 150 kilograms of trout from a pond in the village of Temes, worth an estimated Sk15,000 ($350), during the wee hours of September 30.
A passing police patrol noticed the men and ordered them to return the fish to their natural habitat.


Sobrance
Guitar museum an educational hit

When Ján Ferko from Michalovce decided to open a guitar museum one year ago, he didn't imagine that it would soon become a Mecca for music teachers and their pupils.
Ferko opened his guitar museum in the eastern Slovak town of Sobrance after having gleaned the idea one from his daughter's music textbook.
"I was flipping through the textbook and I saw that the kids were learning about Big Beat and the Beatles, which were banned when I was a student," Ferko said.
"Now these pupils come here for lessons and are told the story of the whole period," Ferko said.
Although his museum only features guitars owned by local rock stars, such as Maťo Ďurinda from Tublatanka or Petr Janda from the Czech band Olympic, Ferko says his most precious piece is the first guitar he ever owned, which he decades ago sold to a friend for Sk25 (now $0.50) but later regained for free.


Trnava
Pit bull attacks people, kills poodle

AN UNMUZZLED pit bull killed a poodle and attacked two people at a gas station.
Police reported that the owner of the pit bull was letting his pet walk free at a Trnava filling station when the aggressive dog attacked a poodle. While the poodle's owner tried to save his dog, the pit bull also bit him and later severely wounded a woman who had to be taken to hospital.
The pit bull's owner, 51-year-old Jaroslav Z., faces assault charges.
Trnava police spokesman Daniel Hanák, said that one of the victims had suffered fractures to her ankle and knee.


Trebišov
Pupils forced to buy saints' pictures

PARENTS of pupils at a local elementary school have complained that their children were forced to buy religious picture from the school's religion teacher.
Although the school has backed the teacher who produces the pictures, stating that they were an educational tool, the parents said that pupils who refused to pay Sk20 ($0.45) for a set of 10 pictures by a certain date were told that a later purchase would cost them twice as much.
The school's principal, Viera Mokánová, admitted that the increased price was meant to serve as an incentive to children to buy the pictures as soon as possible. She also claimed that the sale had been approved by a church official based in Trebišov, and that the money from the sales had gone directly to the Catholic archbishop's office in Košice.
However, the archbishop's office has said it was unaware of the sales.


Ratková
Alleged payback fight takes life

A BRAWL among members of an ethnic minority from the central Slovak village of Ratková ended with one fatality and numerous injuries.
Banská Bystrica regional police spokeswoman Marta Mandáková said that on September 23 Ratková inhabitants had been attacked by 30 to 40 assailants, who used axes and iron bars to attack the inhabitants of a local dwelling.
While transporting one of the victims to a nearby hospital, a local driver hit two pedestrians but did not stop to investigate. One of the victims of the crash died a few hours later in a hospital.
According to an unconfirmed report by a local news wire, both the assailants and the victims were Roma. The alleged motive for the attack was revenge for the beating of the wife of one of the attackers, which had taken place a day before the brawl.


Compiled by Spectator Staff from press reports

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