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Around Slovakia

Fire in explosives storage centre
Convict becomes performance artist in jail
Lorry-load of pickled cucumbers stolen
Thief trashes goods after failing to sell them
Bratislava airport main bird-smuggling outlet
Ski lift or water?
Student fakes kidnapping to blackmail parents

Strážske
Fire in explosives storage centre

POLICE are looking into a recent accident in which a storage facility containing more than 1.5 tons of an explosive called octogen caught fire under circumstances that are still unclear.
Explosive experts say octogen can be more damaging than semtex, but there were no casualties as a result of the fire because the storage centre and the sacks of octogen were wet.
The fire, however, completely destroyed the explosives and total damages were estimated at Sk7.5 million (179,000 euro). According to unofficial information quoted by the Pravda daily, the fire was started by a short circuit.



CONVICT Karol Kima entertains listeners at a local church.
photo: TASR

Banská Bystrica
Convict becomes performance artist in jail

KAROL KIMA, a 27-year-old convict in a Banská Bystrica jail, has become a shining example of how punishment can change a criminal's life.
During his stay in jail, Kima has learned to read and write and has spent his free time improving his guitar-playing skills, to such an extent that he has become a member of the prison band.
Kima recently entertained visitors at a special event at the nearby St. Elisabeth Church, organised to mark the 10th anniversary of the founding of the local Mission Society of St. Vincent de Paul, which helps the convicts in the Banská Bystrica jail.
"Even those who break the law should be given a chance to show that there is good inside them," said priest Stanislav Bindas from the mission society.


Senec
Lorry-load of pickled cucumbers stolen

A LORRY loaded with 7,920 bottles of pickled cucumbers was stolen from a parking lot near a filling station in the western Slovak town of Senec.
Interior Ministry spokeswoman Jana Pôbišová said that the unknown thief grabbed his swag on the night of January 24. The lorry and the pickles belonged to the Swedish firm PNO-Sverige, Helsingborg, which suffered losses of more than Sk4 million (95,000 euro).


Trenčín
Thief trashes goods after failing to sell them

A THIEF dumped a bag containing Sk100,000 (2,380 euro) worth of computers, fax machines, and a printer in a trash container because he was so annoyed he couldn't sell the loot.
The Slovak daily Nový Čas reported that the 27-year-old thief, Boris B. from Trenčín, stole the equipment from a local firm in early January.
When the police arrived at the trash container, they found only the printer in it. They said the other office supplies were most likely taken home by passers by.


Bratislava
Bratislava airport main bird-smuggling outlet

BIRD-PROTECTION enthusiasts said that Bratislava's M.R.Štefánik airport is a major gateway for bird smugglers.
Jozef Chavko, from the civic organisation the Society for the Protection of Birds told the Pravda daily that the airport in Bratislava was popular with smugglers importing and exporting birds.
Adding to the crime, the birds were often transported in brutal conditions, Chavko said. The criminals usually drug the birds and push them inside bottles with open tops, or into paper tubes.
"Eighty per cent of the birds die on the way to their destination, but the remaining 20 per cent delivers enough profit for the smugglers," Chavko said.
New Slovak legislation that became effective on January 1, 2003, classifies all types of birds as protected, and an attack on any of the feathered creatures can be punished by the police according to the seriousness of the crime.


Nálepkovo
Ski lift or water?

INHABITANTS of the eastern village of Nálepkovo are protesting the decision of their municipal leaders to build a ski lift instead of finishing a modern water pipeline system, which would give all of the village's inhabitants running water.
The village is set to invest Sk12 million (286,000 euro) into the ski lift, which is expected to attract tourists into Nálepkovo and thus improve the local economy.
But inhabitants of the village's Trosky district say they would prefer to have running water in their homes than a new ski lift.
The reconstruction of the local water system started in the early 1990s and the village never had enough money to complete the project.


Považská Bystrica
Student fakes kidnapping to blackmail parents

A 17-YEAR-OLD student who went missing in early January was charged with theft and blackmail after police found out that she faked her ransom request of Sk40,000 (960 euro) addressed to her own parents in the name of the alleged kidnappers.
After the high-school student Dana from the western Slovak town of Považská Bystrica ran away from home, she called her mother several times pretending to be her own kidnapper. She asked her parents to deposit the cash at Bratislava's main train station.
Police found out that Dana had moved in with her boyfriend in Banská Bystrica, and because she had no money she tried to fool her parents with the kidnapping story.
It also turned out that Dana took Sk120,000 (2,900 euro) last year from a stash hidden in the family's garage. Her parents, not knowing the truth, had reported the money as stolen.

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