The most expensiveChristmas tree
A LAWYER from Trnava wants the western Slovak city to pay him Sk500,000 ($12,000) for mistakenly cutting down a tree from his private garden to decorate the city centre during Christmas.
Jozef Jakubec, a spokesperson from the municipal office in Trnava, admitted that workers from the local firm Wofis had made an "incredible mistake" by cutting down the tree. The crew had been dispatched to cut down a tree that had been donated by its owner, but they went to the wrong property and cut down the wrong tree.
When the workers rang at the gate, no one opened the door, so they decided to jump over the fence and cut down the tree anyway.
The boss of Wofis is trying to reach an agreement with the angry owner of the fir tree. Lawyers said that according to expert estimates the tree itself is worth only about Sk24,000 ($570), but admit the owner is entitled to demand the half million crowns because the damages should reflect the unauthorised cutting down of the tree as well as other crimes associated with the action.
England terror as bad joke
AN UNEMPLOYED man from northern Slovakia faces up to three years in jail for reporting to Slovak Interpol that a Slovak man was about to leave for England with an unknown poisonous gas.
The 23-year-old man, who spoke to Interpol as an anonymous informer, said that he was also going to England because he did not want anything bad to happen.
The young man was charged after Interpol launched a large-scale investigation, eventually discovering that the information was untrue. The young informer had fabricated the allegations to play a joke on the other man.
PAČAN says a white lady from a dream gave him healing powers.
photo: Nový Čas: Iveta Komendová
Hands that drive out pain
WHEN Ján Pačan, a healer from the eastern Slovak village of Nový Salaš, puts his hands on an aching body part of a patient, the pain gradually goes away.
Pačan, 43, said he discovered his magic powers when he was 13 and since then he has helped such prominent patients as Ivana Christová, a former Miss Czechoslovakia, and Štefan Gavorník, a former head of the National Property Fund.
He described the day he discovered his powers when he and a few of his friends went to steal potatoes from a nearby field.
"I suddenly found myself in something like a dream. I saw a white lady in a forest whose inner voice told me that I was going to help people. She gave me a blessing and called a trolley for me on which I took home the stolen potatoes," Pačan said to Slovak daily Nový Čas.
"Although I drove out pain from patients with my hands during communism, doctors did not believe me. Then more people, acquaintances and complete strangers, came to me with their migraines, tumours or rheumatism and they felt considerably better after my sessions," he said.
He said he has many patients, including women who have not been able to conceive children for a long time and people suffering spinal pains. Pačan says he does not ask for money from the suffering, but that they usually give him Sk20 to Sk30 per session.
With so many patients, however, the healer says he is worn out.
"I am so tired, I can't handle all appointments," Pačan said.
Thief steals papers, sells them on the street
A DREADED newspaper-stand phantom broke into six newstands in the Slovak capital and stole newspapers, which he probably then sold on the streets himself.
Police spokeswoman Marta Bujňáková said that an unemployed man named Gustáv from the Czech town of Pardubice was earning his living in this unusual way.
"Because he did not have a job, he wanted to earn some money by breaking into newspaper stands. Unlike other thieves, however, he did not go after cigarettes or other more valuable items. He stole newspapers and magazines and then he probably sold them on the streets."
16. Dec 2002 at 0:00 | Compiled by Martina Pisárová from press reports