Around Slovakia

Roma enjoy raising pigs
Man sentenced for scratching government car
Libelling a teacher
Big family
Chamois multiply in Tatras
Thieves steal fresh flowers from graves

Spiš region
Roma enjoy raising pigs

ROMA families from eight villages in the Spiš region who are involved in a pig-raising project have seen the births of a total of 297 piglets since the project started half a year ago.
The project, organised by ETP Slovensko with financial support from US foundation Heifer International, involves 29 Roma families and is intended to keep the largely jobless Roma occupied. The project also put "bread" on their table as all breeders are entitled to keep part of what they manage to raise.
According to the Slovak daily SME, seven more villages with considerable Roma populations have expressed an interest in joining the project.
"Every family that received a pig must give three piglets from the first brood to another family. That was one of the basic conditions for the pig to become their property," Tomáš Linsel, head of the Heifer International Slovakia, said.
If the pig had more piglets, the Roma family was free to do whatever with those.
Linsel also said that by the end of August another 30 families will have joined the project.
The project is planned to last for three years. "We suppose that by that time about 150 families will be involved," Linsel said.
"The vast majority of [the participants] take very good care of the pigs," coordinator of the project, Štefan Mirga from ETP Slovensko said.

Man sentenced for scratching government car

A MAN who has been ordered to pay nearly Sk7,000 (X170) for scratching a luxury government car will appeal the verdict claiming his act was not intentional.
Vladimír Pátal, 55, from Bratislava told the Slovak daily Nový čas that the incident happened in January this year. Pátal said he was holding a key in his hand while passing a parked BMW that belonged to head of the Slovak Army headquarters, Milan Cerovský.
When near the car, he suddenly felt dizzy and fainted leaving a scratch on the side of the BMW as he was falling. "I got sick and felt dizzy," Pátal explained.
But the BMW driver, who had been on the scene at the time, claimed that Pátal actually intended to damage the car and the Defence Ministry acted in line with that observation.
"According to the BMW driver the damage was caused intentionally rather than as a result of a sudden collapse due to ill heath," Defence Ministry spokeswoman Katarína Heimschildová said.
Bratislava district court later found Pátal guilty and sentenced him to a three-month suspended sentence and to pay compensation for the repairs to the car. Pátal insists that he did not intend to scratch the car and has appealed against the ruling.

Libelling a teacher

A MAN who wrote two anonymous letters to a Bratislava school claiming that one female teacher on the staff had AIDS could end up behind bars on libel charges.
52-year-old Ervín N., who wrote the letters, claimed that the teacher, not named, led an immoral life and could be infected with the HIV virus. A panic swept the school and leaders of the educational facility started investigation.
Ervín N. also claimed that the teacher was an alcoholic and that he had had sex with her. He later explained, however, that he did not intend to hurt the teacher and that he just wrote the letters so that she went for HIV tests because she could have been infected with AIDS by him.
"I had intercourse with a prostitute who could have been infected with AIDS. I wrote the letters to the school so that the teacher would undergo tests but I did not want to hurt her," Ervín N. told the jury during his recent court trial.
The court has yet to announce its verdict.

Big family

A FAMILY with seven children is looking forward to a new baby and despite a local trend of having one or two children mainly for financial reasons, this family said it was getting along fine.
In financially demanding times many young Slovak families postpone having children. But a big and happy family is more important than money for Beata and Marko Miglierini, 37 and 41 respectively, from Bratislava.
"Children are beautiful because they teach us a lot. They taught us to revise our priorities. Though work is important, family and children are the abiding values for us," the father, who works as a technician, said to a Slovak daily Nový čas.
The children, aged from two and half years up to 14, are a constant joy to their mother Beata as well, who said she always wanted to have a big family and when at school, she envied a schoolmate who came from a family of five children.
"Children are the fulfilment of my life," Beata Miglieriniová said.
With a limited budget, the family has to give up luxuries such as holidays abroad but Miglieriniová said that her family enjoyed touring Slovakia in their old family car - a nine-seat Volkswagen.
The eighth baby is due on July 31.

Vysoké Tatry
Chamois multiply in Tatras

THE CHAMOIS population has finally stopped its long-term decline and recent stagnation. The number of the animals has increased slightly this year, employees with the High Tatras national park (TANAP) area said.
"We found more chamois than last year and there were also more newborn ones," Jozef Kováč from TANAP told the SITA news agency.
Foresters counted 188 chamois in the High Tatras and the nearby Belianske Tatras, nearly 20 more than were counted last year.
Slovaks and Poles together counted 311 chamois in the Tatras of which 70 were kids, a 22.5 percent year-on-year increase.
According to Kováč the increase is mainly a result of predators retreating from the area.
"We have recorded lynx retreating from several areas [of the mountains] which is probably also linked to wolves retreating to areas with lower altitude," Kováč said. Good weather conditions during this year's chamois breeding season in May and June may also have contributed to the increase.

Thieves steal fresh flowers from graves

MICHALOVCE officials want to have an electronic surveillance system installed at the burial site of this eastern Slovak town facing frequent thefts of flowers from graves.
The thieves have systematically been stealing flowers from fresh graves according to the Michalovce cemetery administrator Rudolf Klein.
"The thieves watch for where burials are taking place and within a day steal them off the grave," Klein told the Slovak daily Nový čas.
He also said that the number of thefts has been gradually rising over the recent years.
"Until December last year we had been guarding the cemetery non-stop and as part of a public works project four men took turns in the shifts. We would like to ask the [local labour office] to provide some staff again," Klein said.
Klein has also asked the city council to provide surveillance cameras to watch over the cemetery but it is not known yet whether Michalovce will approve the request.

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