Around Slovakia

MP's love of snakes and dogs
Tyrant behind bars
Man who missed bus beats driver unconscious
Hawks versus pigeons
Paris Moors in southern Slovakia

MP's love of snakes and dogs

COMMUNIST party (KSS) MP Herman Arvay says he used to be among the country's top experts on terrarium animals before he entered national politics.
Pet lover Arvay said two of his former snakes, Liza and Betka, even featured in the Czechoslovak hit comedy movie Utekajme, už ide! (Let's Run, He's Coming!) shot in the 1980s.
"I used to be among the best experts and breeders of terrarium animals," Arvay said in an interview with the Slovak daily Nový Čas.
Before the now-communist MP paradoxically emigrated to the West in the 1980s, his flat was full of scorpions and snakes he said, with some of the snakes 4.5 metres long.
Arvay said his sister would regularly be driven crazy by the sight of the reptiles. When he emigrated, his wife was left behind in Bratislava with all the animals, which she promptly sold, putting an end to the snakes-and-scorpions period in the Arvay home.
When Arvay returned home after the fall of communism, the pet lover decided to start breeding dogs.
Today the Arvays live in a block of flats in Bratislava's Petržalka district with two dogs, Laskomilka and Laskonka.

Tyrant behind bars

BRATISLAVA police have jailed 42-year-old Peter K., who regularly beat his wife and forced his two children, aged 13 and 16, to collect cigarette butts in the streets and bring them home.
Marta Bujňáková, Bratislava police spokeswoman, said that Peter K., an employee of a private security firm, faces charges of torture.
"He beat and humiliated his wife and forced the children to pick up cigarette butts in the city," Bujňáková said.
The spokeswoman added that the police found out about the man's abuse of his family a week ago, when he brutally attacked his wife and sprayed tear gas in her eyes.

Man who missed bus beats driver unconscious

IN AN UNEXPLAINED ambush, a man who missed Bratislava bus number 97 at 23:00 on April 2 got into a taxi, caught up with the bus, forced his way into the driver's cabin and kicked him unconscious, before disappearing in the taxi.
The bus driver, Marcel M., 26, was hospitalised and is recovering from concussion and shock. He said that all he remembered about the attack was that the man ran out of the taxi and into his cabin, and attacked him without any word of explanation.
Police are now searching for the attacker.

Banská Bystrica
Hawks versus pigeons

TOWN hall officials in Banská Bystrica have decided to use hawks to sort out the problem of multiplying pigeons in the central Slovak city.
Not only are the pigeons becoming a nuisance for passers by, but they are also a source of concern for the supervisors of local sights, who believe the birds endanger some of the town's most precious monuments.
Although a mouse hawk is already operating in some areas of the city centre, nature protectors who are involved in the project are planning to replace it with a different kind of hawk because the practices of the former have become rather drastic.
"The mouse hawk does not catch adult pigeons but throws baby pigeons to the ground," said Imrich Kováč, head of the local branch of the Society for the Protection of Birds.
The larger bird of prey will be able to catch adult pigeons, avoiding unnecessary attacks on the younger birds, he said.
Some hawk nests have already been planted on top of the city's biggest hotel, Lux, and more will be put on the roof of a local branch of the Slovak Post building.

Paris Moors in southern Slovakia

PARIS Moors, an area of outstanding natural beauty near the southern Slovak town of Gbelce, is to be turned into a tourist attraction where visitors will be able to admire nearly 170 kinds of birds.
The proud mayor of Gbelce, Gabriel Mihálik, told the daily Nový Čas that he planned to build a watchtower near the moors so that tourists and scientists could observe the natural environment from a birds-eye view.
"Almost 170 types of bird live here, which makes it a good place for scientists to observe. The tower could also attract tourists. It will be a wooden construction and will be about eight metres tall," Mihálik said.
The origin of the moors' foreign name goes back to the 19th century, when a French scientist visited the area. Unable to pronounce the name of the local creek, Párás, which had given the moors their name, the French man decided to simply call the area Paris Moors.
Local inhabitants quickly adopted the name.

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