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Around Slovakia

Chefs compete in cooking kapustnica
Dead man discovered after 2.5 years
Solo sax trio
Castle threatens citizens
Former railway man embraces piracy
Student stabs friend
Man courts death by train
A curious hotel



The first annual International Cabbage Soup Festival in the Modra
photo: TASR

Modra
Chefs compete in cooking kapustnica

TEAMS from Slovakia, Hungary, Ukraine, and the Czech Republic competed at the first annual International Cabbage Soup Festival in the western Slovak town of Modra last Saturday. The task was to cook 10 litres of the traditional kapustnica over an open fire.


Prievidza
Dead man discovered after 2.5 years

A MAN who, according to the coroner, had been dead for about two and a half years was recently discovered in his living room.
The deceased, a pensioner only named Dušan, 60, was discovered in his eighth-floor flat in Prievidza.
Though he failed to collect his pension and neighbours warned that no one had seen him for quite a long time, authorities were remarkably slow in investigating.
"He was a very introverted old gentleman. He did not have friends and no one from his family ever visited him. He lived alone and was not interested in making acquaintances," Peter Žember, the caretaker of the block of flats, said to the Slovak daily SME.
People in the block became suspicious when they noticed that he stopped taking letters from his mailbox.
"We said that something must have happened to him but no one did anything. The police came here but they only asked a few questions about where he might be; they did not try to open his door. Social insurance knew that he was not collecting his pension and the housing administrator was aware that he was not paying rent for the flat. We could not have broken into the flat. So we had to wait until the authorities did," Žember said.
The disappearance was finally resolved when the housing administrator, assisted by the police, decided to break into the flat.
There they found Dušan, his body shrunk like a mummified corpse, SME wrote. Police ruled out the possibility of a violent death.
Pathologist Pavol Lajčiak from a hospital in the nearby city of Bojnice said that under certain circumstances a dead body can mummify without any special substances. The neighbours never noticed any strong smell coming from the flat. According to Žember, a small window was open when the police entered.



THE ONE-man horn section Ľudovít Kaufman.

Nitra
Solo sax trio

A MAN from the southern Slovak town of Nitra could be a one-man horn section: He can play three saxophones simultaneously.
Ľudovít Kaufman is a self-taught sax player who aspires to make it into the Guinness Book of World Records with his extraordinary skill.
He studied to become a mechanical engineer but music has always been his true passion.
"I used to be in a band from Nitra that eventually started to play in [clubs in] Germany. I quit my profession 20 years ago to make my living with music. I used to perform on two saxes but I always wanted to play three," Kaufman said to the Slovak daily SME.
He says playing on three saxophones at once is hard work. Together, the three instruments weigh 20 kilograms and blowing into all of them is exhausting.


Lednica
Castle threatens citizens

THE 13TH CENTURY Lednica Castle is becoming a threat to its neighbours, but local authorities lack the money necessary to fix the crumbling building.
Back in 1999, part of the castle's northern wall collapsed. Only a small forest under the castle hill saved those living under it from tragedy.
"I remember a terrible noise awoke us in the middle of the night. In front of the house was a one and a half tonne pile of heavy stones," Pavol Ridoško told the Slovak daily SME.
Due to its poor condition, the castle has been closed to the public for a decade. But the legendary fortress, which is said to contain rare treasure and a sophisticated network of underground halls, still attracts curious tourists despite the "no entry" sign posted on its gate.
The conservation authority in Žilina has estimated the cost of repairs at Sk20 million (€494,240), significantly more than the village's annual budget of Sk2 million (€49,420).
Though volunteers have tried to fix the most pressing problems, they say that they can no longer ensure the castle poses no threat to people.


Zemianske Kostoľany
Former railway man embraces piracy

POLICE have arrested a former railway switchman who, after being fired from his job, made a living selling pirated CDs at railway stations and in trains.
According to the state-run TASR news agency, the unnamed man sold about 1,600 burnt CDs between 2000 and 2003, mainly on trains running between Bratislava and Prievidza. He earned about Sk200,000 (€5,000).
According to TASR he sold illegal CDs to his former colleagues for Sk60 (€1.50) to Sk100 (€2.50) a copy, train police spokesman Jozef Búranský said.
He faces charges of copyright infringement.


Prešov
Student stabs friend

IN AN UNEXPLAINED fit of anger, a student stabbed her schoolmate with a knife and scissors.
The victim, Dáša Králiková, 21, was lucky to have survived the attack, as the stab wounds went deep, causing a temporary collapse of her lungs.
The violence began when the attacker, only named Miša, called Králiková and asked her to bring some milk to her room in the student dormitory.
When Králiková arrived with the milk, Miša suddenly locked the door and attacked her with a kitchen knife. The fight lasted for an hour.
"She stabbed me all over my body. She shouted and accused me of being responsible for [all her problems] and said she would kill me and then take her own life," Králiková said to the daily SME.
When Králiková managed to break the knife, Miša grabbed a pair of scissors and continued to stab.
Králiková remains puzzled about Miša's violent outbreak but she thinks it could be related to the fact that, being a better student, she would frequently help her friend study for exams; nevertheless, Miša still failed many of the tests.
A chance visit by Králiková's parents proved to be what saved the young woman's life.
After not finding their daughter in her own room, they went upstairs to Miša's room. Králiková's father broke in after hearing screams from behind the shut door.
"It was just terrible. Miša was kneeling over my bloodied daughter and holding scissors in her hands. I would never have thought she could do something like this. She spent Christmas with us and Dáša had also visited Miša's home," he said.
There is now no immediate concern about Králiková's health and doctors are confident that she will heal from the physical wounds in several weeks.
The attacker has been charged with assault.


Bratislava
Man courts death by train

A DRUNK man, 25, stood in the middle of a railroad track and begged the driver of an approaching train to run over him.
The state-run TASR news agency wrote on February 19 that the incident took place at Bratislava's Vinohrady train station.
According to witnesses, the man shouted "come on, come and run over me" while facing the oncoming train. The driver pulled the emergency brake, stopping the train just ten metres away from the man.
He then refused to leave the track and was handcuffed and taken into custody, said train police spokesman Jozef Búranský.


Svätý Jur
A curious hotel

A HOTEL that caters to cats operates in the western Slovak town of Svätý Jur, where it mainly serves clients from Bratislava.
Slavomíra Chrappová opened the unusual business six months ago.
"It can be extremely difficult for people to find someone to take care of their pets when they need to go on a business trip or on a holiday. They will appreciate my service," Chrappová said to the Slovak daily Nový Čas on February 21.
Business has not really flourished so far, but Chrappová said the hotel is never completely vacant either.
"I'm not saying we are fully occupied but the word is spreading fast," she said.
Chrappová charges Sk200 (€5) per night.
The hotel contains separate wooden boxes for each guest, a "cat TV", as Chrappová calls the aquarium, and various shelves and boards where the cats can relax or jump around.

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