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Around Slovakia

Bus driver finds passenger with knife in heart
Nationalists celebrate first Slovak state
Biker tests skills on railing 90 metres above ground
Tangerines fill street after car accident
Bus overturns, no one hurt
Search for an arsonist
Police cracks women-trafficking ring

Snina
Bus driver finds passenger with knife in heart

A BUS driver on the eastern Humenné-Snina line was horrified to find a dead passenger in the back of his vehicle, with a kitchen knife stuck in his heart.
The driver, who has not been named, found the corpse in the garage when he parked his bus at the end of his shift.
The dead man has been identified as Stanislav Cinkanič, 37, from Snina.
Stanislav Ryban, spokesman with the Interior Ministry investigator's office, said it was too early to conclude whether the man had been murdered or had committed suicide.



SUBDUED gatherings marked the birth of the first Slovak state.
photo: TASR

Bratislava, Nitra, Prievidza
Nationalists celebrate first Slovak state

SMALL crowds of people gathered in various Slovak cities on March 14 to celebrate what many see as a controversial day in the history of the central European nation - the founding of an independent Slovak state 64 years ago.
In Bratislava, primarily senior citizens and young men with shaved heads wearing bomber jackets and heavy boots gathered at the Martinský cemetery at the grave of Jozef Tiso, Slovakia's president during the second world war, and in front of the Presidential Palace.
Between 1939 and 1945, Slovakia served as a puppet state to fascist Germany. About 70,000 Jews were deported to death camps from Slovakia during that period. Supporters of the Tiso regime to this day celebrate the short period of the first independent Slovak state.
No violent outbreaks were reported this year. About 80 people gathered in Bratislava to celebrate the anniversary, while about 30 people participated at a similar meeting in Nitra in western Slovakia. Dozens of young men in skinhead attire were reported to have marched the streets of another western Slovak city, Prievidza, carrying the Slovak national flag.
Meanwhile, the local NGO People Against Racism organised a counter-protest, carrying posters that said: "The Slovak state was a fascist state" and "Apologies that our children did not come to school today, but the streets are full of neo-nazis".


Bratislava
Biker tests skills on railing 90 metres above ground

CYCLOTRIAL biker Tomáš Langermann, 26, from Bratislava decided to test his biking skills by balancing on a 7-centimetre railing on top of the Slovak Technical University building, 90 metres above ground.
Langermann said he trained for the stunt for 16 years, and felt no fear when balancing on the railings of the 24-storey building.
Langermann told the Nový Čas daily: "I tried not to look down. I never thought about what would happen if ... Anyway, I was secured [with ropes], so if the wind pushed me down I would only fall a few centimetres."
Langermann did not explain why he decided to perform such an extreme stunt, but he said he looked to a Czech biker as his role model.
"I admire Czech biker Peter Kraus, who biked at a comparable elevation in the US, on top of a parking-lot building - and he was not secured."


Bratislava
Tangerines fill street after car accident

HUNDREDS of tangerines covered Prievozská Street in Bratislava after a car accident in which a young driver hit a fruit stand in the local marketplace at high speed.
"I was standing in front of the stand when I heard a terrible noise. If I had not stepped aside towards a customer, the flying car would have hit me," the owner of the demolished fruit stand told Nový Čas.
After turning twice around on its axis, the Renault finally came to a halt near a local bus stop. Neither the driver nor passers-by were injured in the accident.


Kežmarok
Bus overturns, no one hurt

ABOUT 20 passengers, mainly school children, miraculously escaped injury when a bus slipped from the road and landed on its side in a field.
Early on March 14, the bus was travelling from the northeastern Slovak village of Lendak when it ran off the icy road on a curve and fell on its side in a ditch, said Jozef Žemba, a spokesman for Kežmarok district police.
Even though none of the passengers were hurt, many locals are saying they are now afraid of travelling by bus, because the most recent accident was the third since the beginning of this year. All three took place on the winding roads in the area.
One bus passenger told Nový Čas: "We are beginning to be afraid of getting on any bus now."


Jarovce
Search for an arsonist

LOCALS in the village of Jarovce near Bratislava are getting scared as the weekend approaches, after an unknown arsonist set 20 buildings on fire over the last two weekends.
The village radio announcer repeated warnings to beware of the unknown arsonist, and appealed to Jarovce inhabitants to "report all suspicious [persons]" to the authorities.
Mária Vuketichová, mayor of Jarovce, told Nový Čas: "We have no idea who this person might be, but he certainly knows the surroundings well."
Policemen from Bratislava's suburb of Petržalka are also assisting in the hunt for the perpetrator, who is thought to drive a white or green Škoda Favorit car.
Most recently, the arsonist unexpectedly hit during the workweek, setting a hay stack on fire on March 13.


Slovakia
Police cracks women-trafficking ring

A HUNDRED police officers from around the country participated in one of the biggest police actions of its kind, arresting seven out of 10 members of an international women-trafficking gang that operated from Slovakia.
On March 13, officers took five men and two women into custody. A policeman from the Košice region was among the male members of the ring. His name was not published.
The daily SME reported that in the last three years the gang has smuggled 56 women out of the country to work as sex slaves in bars in Slovenia. Some of the women were younger than 18. Police estimated that the ring's profits may have reached about Sk8.5 million (204,000 euro).
The boss of the ring, a Slovenian national, was not arrested, and according to police he was most likely in hiding abroad. The perpetrators face up to 15 years in jail.


Compiled by Martina Pisárová from press reports

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