Orangutan dies after male's attack
MOMO, an adolescent orangutan, fatally injured his peer in a sudden attack.
TARA, a female orangutan from the Bojnice Zoo in the western Slovak town of the same name died after a male orangutan, Momo, attacked her in an unexpected fit of aggression.
The tragic incident took place in late November while the zoo's three orangutans were playing. Unexpectedly, Momo pushed Tara, who then fell to the ground. She died from the injuries five days later.
Tara was eight years old and Momo one year younger. The zoo's administrators are shattered. They thought Tara and Momo could perhaps become a pair and produce offspring.
"This is a very sad event that none of us expected and none of us could have prevented either," the head of the zoo's animal department, Peter Lupták, said to the Slovak daily SME.
At Momo's age, orangutans go through a period of pubescence. In Momo's case, this time in his life is marked by increased aggressiveness.
Momo was brought to Bojnice from France this past spring.
Currently, Momo has been put in a different cage to prevent him from attacking the third orangutan - the female Nanga. It is possible that Momo will be castrated in the near future so that he and Nanga can later live together in one compound without risking another attack.
According to the opinion of experts from the European zoo association, Momo's castration can proceed. The association recently proposed to withdraw Momo from reproduction due to the ape's failure to meet the required genetic criteria.
Priest charges for services
CHURHCGOERS in the eastern Slovak village of Odorín, near the town of Spišská Nová Ves, were presented with a price list for various church services. The local priest argued that he needed to earn some extra money, as he was facing a lack of finances to run the parish.
The parish's administrator, priest Roland Ferenc, sent a letter to his parishioners announcing the fees for individual services, such as burials and weddings. The sexton, the cantor, and the bell founder are each to receive Sk150 (€3.66) for a burial and Sk100 (€2.44) for a wedding.
"The priest will be awarded according to everyone's individual will, as this is a benefaction," Ferenc wrote in his letter, according to the Slovak daily SME. Ferenc also appealed to parishioners to donate more money, arguing that the amounts he had received until now were too small.
"How am I supposed to cover expenses with such an income? We should understand that [the traditional collection of money from parishioners during mass] is not enough if most of the money [donated] is in the form of two or five-crown coins. Let us give at least 10 crowns. The donation on the first Sunday [mass of the month] should be at least twenty [crowns]," the letter stated.
Ferenc also reminded parishioners that believers had to first fulfil their duties and only then were entitled to exercise existing rights. It was unclear what rights he had in mind.
"We should not question when I, being your religious [leader], demand that you fulfil these duties," the letter concluded.
Locals were shocked at the letter and many wondered what would happen if they could not donate the money.
But the priest said that his letter was not a threat.
"It's meant to be a reminder of obligations. The fifth church commandment holds that [believers should] support church institutions. It is not a threat. I merely want to remind the parishioners that they have these obligations."
He said he would serve baptism ceremonies, weddings, and burials regardless of who asks, but that he would remind those who fail to contribute money of their obligations.
He had informed local church officials of the letter, including the assistant bishop of the Spišská diocese, Štefan Sečka, but the bishop's office in Spišské Podhradie refused to comment.
Many locals from Odorín, however, are suspicious of how much money was spent on the construction of the new vicarage where the priest lives. The new building was built only recently behind the old vicarage building. According to SME, many Odorín inhabitants think that the new building got the parish into financial trouble.
Spokesman for the Slovak Conference of Bishops Marián Gavenda insisted, "asking for payment for [church] services is not allowed." He said that a priest was paid to carry out these services and that people could contribute money at their own will, but not as obligatory fees. "[Donating money] is a custom," said Gavenda.
Wooden car on the road
THE HEAVY wood car and its maker, sculptor Vít Novotný (right).
According to the Slovak daily Nový Čas, Vít Novotný made the car three years ago from two oak-tree trunks. The project was part of his diploma thesis and it took him about a quarter of a year to make the vehicle. The wooden car has the engine of a Czech Škoda dating back to 1969 and can travel up to 80 kilometres an hour.
Luník IX most densely inhabited place in Slovakia
THE INFAMOUS Slovak Roma neighbourhood of Luník IX in the eastern Slovak city of Košice is the country's most densely inhabited area, a new survey showed.
The civic association Villes en Transition (VET) carried out the survey, in which 3,188 respondents took part. The survey found that this city district was packed with one person to every 5.8 square metres. The information was published on the website of the Roma press agency.
The highest number of average inhabitants in one household was 8.51 people on the district's Hrebendova street, according to the VET survey.
Of the 1,114 inhabitants of productive age who participated in the survey, 1,002 were unemployed, which is nearly 90 percent.
The survey also showed that of 1,348 children under 15 years of age, 714 did not go to school.
Truck carrying cows slides off the road
AN ITALIAN truck loaded with 60 cows and calves slid off the road on a curve, turning on its side in a ditch. No serious injuries or deaths were recorded.
The state-run TASR news agency reported on December 4 that the truck was carrying the cattle to a quarantine station in the village of Kováčová, near Zvolen, from which the cows were to be taken to Italy.
After the accident, some of the animals managed to run off into the nearby forest, but all were hauled back.
Honey saves granny
CHRISTIAN Varkonda, 9, from Bratislava, saved his grandmother's life and later won an annual award called the Child's Deed of the Year for his bravery.
One Sunday afternoon, Christian and his grandmother were at home and he told her he would like to play with her, but she did not respond.
"I wanted to play with granny but she did not reply. Her face was all red and sweating," Christian said to the Slovak daily Nový Čas.
Christian did not panic and ran to the kitchen to get honey, knowing that his grandmother, a diabetes patient, could only be helped by something sweet. He put a few spoonfuls in her mouth, saving her from passing away.
Drunk driver steals fuel
POLICE in Bratislava caught a man behind the wheel who not only had been banned from driving for a previous offence, but was also driving drunk and had stolen fuel in his trunk.
"In the trunk, there were five canisters and two plastic containers filled with gasoline. As it turned out, he had stolen it with an accomplice at a train station," Bratislava police spokeswoman Marta Bujňáková said.
The train police took over the investigation of the case.
Murder victim found after 11 years
A MURDERED man was found buried in a dump 11 years after his wife had killed him.
Žilina district police spokesman Peter Krišťak said to the private SITA news agency that the murder took place in the couple's bathroom.
The wife, not named, killed her husband in December 1992, shooting him twice with her gun. She then packed the body into sackcloth, put it into a big metal barrel, and drove it to a nearby dump. It is possible the woman had an accomplice.
It remains unclear what led the 47-year-old woman to commit the murder.
15. Dec 2003 at 0:00