PARTS of Slovakia were brought to a standstill by heavy snow and high winds.
photo: Aaron Chase
HEAVY snow and high winds paralysed parts of Slovakia in early February, closing major roads and leaving some communities cut off from the outside world. Hardest hit were the Trebišov and Michalovce districts in the country's east, where 50 per cent of roads were shut completely on February 5 and 6.
The blowing snow and low visibility also caused problems on Slovakia's mountain passes, and drifting snow disrupted transportation in the country's south and west.
Although emergency crews worked round the clock to clear main thoroughfares, many roads remained covered by up to 20 centimetres of packed snow and sleet for several days.
HUNDREDS of cat lovers gave their pets a day out in Bratislava.
Cat show in the capital shows popularity of pet
NEARLY 300 cats from around the country and abroad participated in a show of what is thought to be the most popular pet in the world February 8.
The popularity of cats in eastern Europe has been growing over the last decade, a phenomenon that has been attributed to Western influence.
"This is clearly a trend that is coming to us from the West," said one of the participants of the show Marcela Súkeníková from the Czech town of Kunín.
Cat lovers say their pets are more popular than dogs.
"In the US, for example, there are as many as 12 million pedigree cats registered, compared to only 3 million pedigree dogs registered. Cats are clearly the most popular pets in Japan, while Germans, Austrians, and Scandinavians are also focusing ever more on cats," Súkeníková said.
"Cats are easy, proud, and self-sufficient creatures, while dogs always need attention, require more space, and need to be walked regularly. A pedigree cat is happy with nine square metres of space. It doesn't even have to leave the flat to be happy," said Jana Malíková, a secretary with a Bratislava-based organisation for cat lovers.
Local church authorities readying for Pope visit
LOCAL church authorities are busy preparing for the planned autumn visit of Pope John Paul II to Slovakia.
The country's Catholic Church is planning to set up six commissions, each one arranging a different aspect of the Pope's visit.
The commissions' realms include press, liturgy, security, finance, publishing, and technical matters.
The liturgical commission will be responsible for the organisation of the masses and meetings with the people. The finance commission will determine the division of expenses related to the Pope's visit among the Slovak Catholic Church and the state, while the publishing commission will produce entry tickets, leaflets, and texts of masses.
Former Miss Czechoslovakia said she dated minister
SILVIA Lakatošová, the 1992 Miss Czechoslovakia, told the Nový Čas daily that she dated Economy Minister Robert Nemcsics a decade ago.
Lakatošová said that the two met during a radio talk show, after which Nemcsics invited the attractive brunette for a cup of coffee.
Lakatošová said the two then met several times "for coffee, lunch, or dinner", adding that the current minister, then single, was a pleasant companion with whom she enjoyed talking.
Their relationship, however, lasted only two months, and they both denied that they had been more than just friends.
"Our friendship was based mainly on our common business activities and did not last long," the minister said.
Officer runs amok,shooting family then self
POLICE have put an embargo on information pertaining to a peculiar case in which a police officer shot his wife and daughter and then committed suicide by shooting himself in the head.
The tragedy took place in the eastern Slovak town of Rozhanovce on February 8. The 45-year-old officer's reasons for his actions remain unknown.
His wife and daughter survived the attack.
Crying baby girl found in snow
IN A ruthless act, a 19-year-old mother left a six-month-old baby girl lying in a snow drift in the eastern town of Prešov.
On the evening of February 6, a resident of a nearby block of flats heard a baby crying as she was passing by in the city's Solivary district. When she approached the sound, she discovered the helpless baby girl lying in the snow, shaking and pale from the cold.
One neighbour who was clearing the road of snow when the baby girl was found said: "The baby was wrapped up in a blanket which was rolled up like a carpet and was covered with snow."
Upon arrival at the hospital, the baby's body temperature was 36 degrees Celsius. Doctors said she had a good chance of surviving her ordeal because she had not been left in the drift for long.
Doctors found that the hygiene of the girl had been neglected for a long time, and they discovered lice in her blanket.
The baby's mother showed up at the hospital and offered to adopt the infant. Hospital workers recognised her, and contacted the police. When the baby is released, she will most likely be put in an orphanage.
Nové Mesto nad Váhom
Man stabs himself after his drink is taken
A MAN whose wife took a bottle away from him to stop him drinking stabbed himself in his heart with a kitchen knife.
Police said that the man from Nové Mesto nad Váhom in western Slovakia was immediately taken to hospital and remains in critical condition.
According to Trenčín regional police spokeswoman, Lenka Bušová, the suicide attempt was the result of a verbal fight between the married couple, in which the drunken husband wanted to continue drinking after coming home from the pub.
Enraged that his wife took the bottle away from him and hid it, he grabbed a kitchen knife and stabbed himself in the chest.
17. Feb 2003 at 0:00