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Around Slovakia

Mammoth tusks found in Bratislava
Guinness record: 358 people squeezed in communal bus
TV employee attempts suicide by cutting wrists
Giant cabbage
Ex-cop becomes drug dealer
Memorial to RAF crew unveiled
Dead pigeons found in trash bin
Kindergarten project raises accusations of racism
Czech, German clientelle rediscover the Tatras
Mother bear attacks two forest workers

Bratislava
Mammoth tusks found in Bratislava


STUDENTS find mammoth tusks in the capital.
photo: TASR

20,000-YEAR-OLD mammoth tusks and bone parts were found in Bratislava during highway construction works.
The tusks were found in the Mlynská dolina area on October 4 by a group of palaeontology students who were curious to see what the excavation works unearthed.
The Slovak National Museum requested a temporary suspension of the construction work. In the US state of Colorado last year in July, a similar discovery took place when construction workers found a mammoth tusk that was 5.4 metres long.


Bratislava
Guinness record: 358 people squeezed in communal bus

IN A NEW Guinness record, 358 students squeezed into a bus made for about 100 passengers.
The Guinness record took place in the student neighbourhood of Mlynská dolina. A number 39 bus was packed with passengers and according to the Nový Čas daily, one student even broke her leg in the jam.
The 39 is known for its busy morning operation when the majority of the students who live in Mlynská's dorms run for their lectures in the city.
One 20-year-old participant in the Guinness record said to the state run TASR news agency that "if it weren't for the Guinness record, the full bus would remind me of everyday morning reality".


Bratislava
TV employee attempts suicide by cutting wrists

AN EMPLOYEE at public broadcaster Slovak Television (STV) attempted suicide by cutting his wrists. He was found by STV's security service, which saved the man's life with first aid.
The 56-year-old man, not named, was found past midnight in STV's storage premises and police as well as STV officials confirmed that he left farewell letters in his diary. The causes of the desperate attempt were personal problems.
Branislav Zahradník, member of STV's crisis management said to Slovak daily Nový Čas that the man "was incredibly lucky that the [security] service was doing its job properly and discovered him during a regular check in the premises".
The man was transported to Bratislava's Kramáre hospital and Zahradník confirmed that the man's life was now out of immediate threat.
Zahradník also said that the move must have been the result of a sudden decision. The man's colleagues said that they did not notice anything out of the ordinary in the victim's behaviour shortly before the act and that he had even been making jokes with them at work.


Stupava
Giant cabbage

THE TRADITIONAL cabbage-growing area in the western Slovak town of Stupava awarded the prize of biggest cabbage to a 14-kilo giant grown by local farmer Ladislav Rác.
The award was distributed at the 6th annual cabbage fair, which took place between October 3 and October 5.
The fair's organizer, Pavel Slezák, said this year's event is special because, for the first time in history, international cabbage growers from the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Austria participated in the fair.
Stupava has big plans for its cabbage production when Slovakia officially enters the EU, Slezák said.
"When we are in the EU, [Stupava cabbage] will take over all of their markets," Slezák told the Slovak daily Nový Čas on October 4.


Rozhanovce
Ex-cop becomes drug dealer

A FORMER officer and his son were arrested after a raid by the National Anti-Drug Squad revealed that the man stored bags full of marijuana in his house.
The unnamed former policeman and his 24-year old son, Martin, were accused of storing drugs on October 6, and it is possible that charges will extend as the investigation continues.
According to the Pravda daily, the former officer initially claimed that he fed the drugs to fish because his experience showed that marijuana was an effective bait.
Apart from the drugs, police also found various facilities used for the processing of marijuana and some hashish.


Čunovo
Memorial to RAF crew unveiled

A MEMORIAL to a British Royal Air Force crew killed during the second world war in Slovakia was unveiled on October 5 at the Danube river dam near Bratislava district Čunovo.
Sixty years ago, occupying Nazi forces shot down a British Wellington bomber and its crew of five in the Čunovo area.
One RAF veteran, 80-year-old Alan Wella from Bath, said that the downed plane was the only loss among a mission of eight Wellingtons of the 40th RAF squadron.
According to Wella, one of the crew managed to escape the burning plane but died of severe injuries soon after.


Žilina
Dead pigeons found in trash bin

A MAN disposing waste in a communal trash container was shocked to see 69 dead pigeons, wrapped up in a bag, in the bin.
The discovery took place in the northern Slovak town of Žilina on October 1. When approaching the waste container, the man's dog started to bark, which prompted the pet owner to look closely into the bin.
Žilina police spokesman Radovan Kyselica said that the police and the city's environmentalists were studying the dead birds to identify the cause of their deaths. Police also took the birds identification bands to track down the pigeons' owner.
Pigeons from the Czech Republic were among the dead birds, said Kyselica.


Spišský Hrhov
Kindergarten project raises accusations of racism

A GROUP of Roma politicians have criticised a new kindergarten project financed by the EU PHARE fund, dubbing it racist. The school would primarily serve Roma children from the Rožkovce settlement in eastern Slovakia.
The new school will be a part of a similar institution in nearby Spišský Hrhov and will be built in the village of Doľany, close to Rožkovce.
Alexander Patkoló, head of the Slovak Roma Initiative party (RIS), considers the project to be a manifestation of racial segregation.
But local officials from Spišský Hrhov denied such accusations. The mayor of the village, Vladimír Ledecký, noted that while Patkoló criticised the new project, he had never been in Rožkovce himself and never submitted any better ideas to improve the situation of local Roma.
"I hope that Mr Patkoló does something for the children from Rožkovce. He should do something too, not just criticise others," Ledecký said.


Vysoké Tatry
Czech, German clientelle rediscover the Tatras

CZECH and German tourists are increasingly common guests in the country's highest mountain range, Vysoké Tatry, although the resort recorded an eight percent decrease in the total number of visitors over the past summer when compared to last year's season.
On average, hotels in the Tatras were 83.4 percent occupied during the 2003 summer season, with an average stay lasting five days.
Czech tourists created about a third of the Tatras' clientele, 21 percent were Polish, 14 percent Slovaks, and 12.5 percent Germans. The relatively low number of Slovak visitors, who traditionally belong to the most frequent guests in the region, was a surprise to hotel managers in the Tatras.
According to statistics released by the Vysoké Tatry Tourism Union (ZCRVT) on September 30, many Slovaks said they could not afford to stay in the Tatras anymore because of the constantly growing prices in the resort. The increased prices for hotels, meanwhile, are a result of continuing energy price hikes, as well as an increased VAT.


Liptovský Hrádok
Mother bear attacks two forest workers

AN ANGRY mother bear attacked two forest workers, causing minor cut wounds to the women.
The incident took place in the Low Tatras mountain range area near the town of Liptovský Hrádok.
The women happened to cross the road with the mother bear and her three cubs. Both women avoided more serious injuries by pretending to be dead after the bear first attacked them.
It is estimated that there are 26 bears in the Low Tatras and hungry bears have become frequent visitors near the resort's hotels, where they feed from waste containers.


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