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Around Slovakia

Lotto winner known
Rain takes cheering Slovaks into 2004
Slovak men, according to sex survey
First baby of 2004 wins by three seconds
Armless swimmer
Parents torture son
Vandals destroy historical blacksmith workshop
Happy and healthy granny celebrates 105 years
Fake kidnappers busted after demanding ransom

Slovakia
Lotto winner known

ORGANISERS of the Slovak Lotto confirmed that the fortunate winner of the impressive Sk35.5 million (€862,700) lottery prize has contacted the Tipos company headquarters and that the person will most likely pick up his millions at the start of 2004.
The unknown lucky person scored the victory in Christmas Day's lotto and called Tipos on December 29.
"I can confirm that a man called us and introduced himself as the winner," Milan Homola, head of the Tipos operations department, said to the Slovak daily Nový Čas.
The man must come down to Bratislava to collect his prize, and Homola thinks that the winner will do so in January. Because of the changes to Slovak tax laws, game show and gambling prizes are not taxed as of 2004. Thus, the winner will be able to enjoy every crown.
Homola said that the most recent prize was the fourth biggest that a single winner has scored in the history of the Tipos lotteries and the second biggest in 2003. The biggest prize was Sk39 million (€940,000).


UMBRELLAS may have blocked a few views on New Year's Eve but they did not keep people from having a good time.
photo: TASR

Slovakia
Rain takes cheering Slovaks into 2004

THE UNUSUAL rainy weather that hit even the mountainous areas of Slovakia would not spoil the good spirits of thousands of Slovaks across the country who welcomed 2004, as is the tradition, in the main squares of their towns.
Reports of steady rain came from all areas from the east to the west of the country, including the winter sports haven of the High Tatras, on December 31. Organisers of the New Year's celebrations in many towns feared that the bad weather would discourage people from attending the outdoor celebrations in their centres. However, though less people made it to the squares than usual, Slovak spirits would not be dampened.
During the day, media reported fears that the hundreds of thousands of crowns that Slovak towns had invested in fireworks displays would be in vain if the rain and fog continued. But in the end the murky forecasts did not come true and plenty of cheering crowds danced at the first party of 2004, though perhaps with umbrellas in their hands.
The Slovak daily SME reported on January 2 that in the northern Slovak town of Žilina four massive fireworks, purchased for Sk160,000 (€3,900), shone in the sky above individual city districts.
In the western town of Nitra several bands and an open-air disco shook the city centre. In the eastern city of Košice about four thousand people counted down the New Year. In the western Slovak town of Trenčín few people turned out for the December 31 afternoon party designed specifically for smaller children, and in the end it had to be cancelled due to bad weather. But shortly before midnight the rain turned into heavy snow and several thousand people reportedly made it to the city centre.
Banská Bystrica saw few people attending the celebrations due to rain, an unusual winter situation in this central Slovak city that lies at the feet of the Low and High Tatras. According to SME, only about 500 people came to the main square to welcome the New Year.


Slovakia
Slovak men, according to sex survey

THE AVERAGE Slovak man has sex problems, a new survey suggested.
The survey, carried out by the Slovak urology society, showed that the average Slovak male is in his forties, has a secondary school degree or a university diploma, is the father of two children, and lives with his family.
The man would like to have sex every day but actually has it two times a week, the Slovak daily Pravda wrote on December 29.
Although he feels that his sex life is not satisfactory, he does little to improve it.
The average Slovak man eats badly and is not very physically active; he smokes and drinks too much, and is overweight, which contributes to his deteriorating performance in bed.


Slovakia
First baby of 2004 wins by three seconds

AS THOUSANDS of Slovaks cheered in the main squares to welcome the New Year, a tough race was taking place in separate hospitals of the country to score the first baby of the New Year.
The Slovak daily Nový Čas wrote on January 2 that the title goes to Richard Vinter, from the western Slovak village of Šúrovce, who was born in the Trnava hospital just two seconds after the year's special midnight.
Baby Richard is 51 centimetres long and weighs a healthy 3.4 kilograms.
Three seconds later, Dominika Tekeľová was born in the northern Slovak town of Trstená. Her mother's fourth child, Dominika is 48 centimetres long and weighs 3.3 kilograms.
Twenty seconds past midnight, another baby girl, Karolínka Gajdošová from the eastern Slovak town of Svidník, was born.
The first baby in the capital city of Bratislava was Matej, born 15 minutes past midnight and visited by President Rudolf Schuster on the first day of his young life.


Piešťany
Armless swimmer

ŠTEFAN Fraňo, who lost both of his arms at the age of ten, refuses to give up sports simply because he is handicapped.
Fraňo, 50, was one of the 51 swimmers who took part in the 12th annual winter swim in the cold waters of the Váh River, which took place on December 28 in the western Slovak town of Piešťany. The water was 1.5ë Celsius and the air was just a little warmer - 4ë Celsius.
"I am not a member of any team but I swim occasionally," Fraňo said to the Slovak daily Pravda.
Fraňo is a private businessman and celebrated the birth of his baby daughter this year.


Veľké Dvorany
Parents torture son

INVESTIGATORS apprehended a 47-year-old man and charged him with torturing his 12-year-old mentally disabled son.
The man, not named, comes from the western Slovak village of Veľké Dvorany. He and his wife have regularly beaten their son and denied him proper hygiene, diet, and housing.
The Slovak daily SME wrote on December 31 that on several occasions the married couple even locked their helpless son in a hen house.
The parents may face jail terms of up to ten years if found guilty.


THIS workshop, one of the president's favourite buildings, was the victim of an attack.
photo: TASR

Medzev
Vandals destroy historical blacksmith workshop

DAMAGES amounting to Sk200,000 (€4,800) were made to a historical blacksmith workshop in the eastern Slovak town of Medzev.
The protected cultural sight is a favourite venue for President Rudolf Schuster, who often takes his international guests to the workshop to try their skills in the trade.
The State run TASR news agency reported that an investigator has already charged the vandals with the theft of about 100 kilos of heating fuel from the workshop.


Kamenná Poruba
Happy and healthy granny celebrates 105 years

A SPIRITED woman, Karolína Majčinová, from the northern Slovak village of Kamenná Poruba celebrated her 105th birthday on December 29 and was surprised by the little party the citizens of her village prepared for her special day.
Majčinová, a mother of three, grandmother of seven, great-grandmother of 20, and a great-great-grandmother of eight, enjoys good health and the last time she saw a doctor was when she was 100.
"A chicken scratched my palm. Ever since then I have not seen any doctors," Majčinová said to the Slovak daily Pravda on December 30.
Majčinová's offspring said the granny was an easygoing person with an appetite like the rest of the family, regardless of her respectable age.
"She never makes any trouble. She walks a bit, she talks a bit, and eats everything along with the rest of us," Majčinová's granddaughter Adela Dolníková said.
Majčinová's recipe for a long life is work and temperance in diet.


Častkovce
Fake kidnappers busted after demanding ransom

FOUR young men aged between 17 and 21 were charged with blackmail after they demanded Sk100,000 (€2,400) from a helpless mother whose daughter went missing in late November.
The 12-year-old Terezka Baniarová left her home on November 26 to go to a nearby village where she regularly went to feed her favourite animals. She never came back and her mother reported the disappearance to the police. Despite a large-scale search, Terezka was never found.
According to the Slovak daily SME, some time later a man called the mother and said that if she gave them the cash she would soon have her daughter back.
The mother told police, who provided the money. After she handed the ransom to the blackmailers, police arrested the young culprits but they soon found that the youth knew nothing of the missing girl.
"They just tried to use the situation. They all came from surrounding villages and knew well that Terezka had gone missing," the mother, Silvia Baniarová, told SME.

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