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Around Slavakia

Murder forgotten
Thief takes roof
Family of fakirs
Famous painting stolen
Slovak astronaut played guitar in MIR space shuttle
Dog tracks down thief
Pope statue
Workers find skeleton in the basement
46 tonnes of sugar stolen
Bronze Age cairn discovered

Banská Bystrica
Murder forgotten

A MAN on trial for murder said that he did not remember committing the crime, but nevertheless apologized to the son of the victim.
At his trial in Banská Bystrica, Štefan G, 63, told the court that he could not explain his behavior, as he had never spoken a word to the victim and had no relation to him whatsoever.
According to the Slovak daily Nový Čas, Štefan G said: "I don't remember the event, I don't know what happened."
The victim, Ján K, sat in a bar in Zvolen on August 19 of last year. Suddenly, Štefan G approached him from behind and asked him whether he was selling drugs again and attacked him with a long sharp knife.
Stabbed twice in the neck, Ján K bled to death before an ambulance arrived on the scene.
Štefan G immediately admitted to the murder and tests carried out later showed that he had been drunk.
He faces up to 15 years in jail.


Tajov
Thief takes roof

FARMERS in the central Slovak village of Tajov had a shock when they came to work on the morning of February 25 to discover that a big chunk of the ir stall's roof was gone.
According to the Slovak daily Nový Čas, an unknown thief stole 100 square meters of roofing and 90 meters of electrical wires.
The Tajov's farm suffered damages up to Sk48,000 (€1,200).


Prievidza
Family of fakirs

MARTINA Konigová, 12, from Prievidza, is possibly the country's youngest fakir.
Born to a family of enthusiastic fakirs - mother Marita and father Dušan - she was always attracted to her father's performance tricks, including lying on a bed of nails, fire-eating, and walking over broken glass with bare feet.
The Slovak weekly Plus 7 dní wrote in its latest issue that Dušan Konig inherited his passion for such tricks from his father, who, as a young man, worked as an assistant to a magician.
Dušan then started to take greater interest in the art of the fakirs and after his first performance he realised that was what he wanted to do.
"Applause is like a drug," he said to Plus 7 dní.
As his daughter Martina grew older, she accompanied him to shows and tried to copy his tricks.
Today, the proud father said, "the girl eats fire better than her mother", who currently does not perform, working instead as a manager for her husband and daughter, who occasionally perform as a duo.
When asked how hard it was to walk over broken glass, Martina replied without batting an eye: "I just walk normally."


Bratislava
Famous painting stolen

A PRECIOUS painting was stolen from a house that was secured with an electrical security system.
The stolen picture, The Vineyards, is a work of famous Slovak painter Martin Benka. The painting's owner, Silvia L, 60, from Bratislava, said to the Slovak daily Nový Čas on February 27 that the estimated value of the painting was Sk1 million (€24,624).
"When I came home, I saw the painting was gone. It was painted in 1914 and many years ago my father bought the work because he was an art collector. He gave it to me in 1985," she said.
She reported the missing painting to the police but she cannot imagine how the thief got into the house or how the person knew the precious work of art was inside.



THIS next song goes out to... the whole world.
photo: TASR

Bratislava
Slovak astronaut played guitar in MIR space shuttle

FIVE years after the first Slovak astronaut flew into outer space in the Russian MIR space shuttle, he said that he spent his leisure time in space playing the guitar.
Ivan Bella, 39, said that, being a great fan of music, while he was out in space, he enjoyed playing guitar, drums, and electric piano.
"We listened to music as frequently as possible. [Apart from the instruments] we also had a large collection of CDs ranging from jazz and pop to Russian folk songs," Bella said to the Slovak daily Nový Čas on February 27.
Bella said he was a fan of country and folk music.


Bratislava
Dog tracks down thief

A POLICE dog tracked down a thief still wearing her "work" accessories: surgery gloves and a monkey wrench that she used to break into flats and houses.
The Slovak daily Nový Čas wrote on February 25 that the police dog Rexo found the 28-year-old thief, only named Renáta, shortly after she broke into a flat in Bratislava's Nové Mesto district.
She has been charged with theft.



CONSTRUCTION workers beware: You never know what you might dig up.
photo: SME - Michal Piško

Trenčín
Workers find skeleton in the basement

A TWENTY-year-old corpse was found by construction workers in the western city of Trenčín while digging the foundation for a new grocery store.
Trenčín police spokeswoman Lenka Bušová said that the corpse was incomplete and that the age and sex of the dead person has not yet been determined.


Trnava
Pope statue

MEMBERS of parliament in the city of Trnava approved a plan to build a statue of John Paul II, who recently visited the western Slovak town.
The pontiff visited Slovakia in September 2003, his third visit to the country since the fall of communism in 1989.
The statue will be placed near the local cathedral of Saint John the Baptist.



HOW long does it take one family to consume this much sugar?
photo: TASR

Zavar
46 tonnes of sugar stolen

SACKS of sugar worth Sk1.4 million (€3,500) were stolen from a storage house in the western Slovak village of Zavar in the Trnava district.
According to the Slovak daily Nový Čas, the thief managed to release part of a metal gate to access the storage rooms. The thief, or possibly a group of culprits, then stole nearly 1,000 sacks of sugar that together weighed 46.2 tonnes.
Trnava police spokesman Martin Korch said to the daily that officers were now checking for clues. He said the storage space was under electronic surveillance, and it was hard to imagine that someone could break into such a highly secured building.
Ivan Kardoš, the head of the board of directors of the local sugar mill, said that the company was now going through the storage space to find out whether more sugar was missing.
Police are also investigating a tradesman who recently advertised cheap sugar for sale.
According to Nový Čas, the amount of stolen sugar would last one person 1,320 years when calculated according to Slovakia's average annual sugar consumption per capita.


Dedinka
Bronze Age cairn discovered

THE WESTERN Slovak village of Dedinka, 900 inhabitants strong, wants to attract more tourists by presenting the 3,300-year-old cairn recently discovered there by archaeologists.
The village plans to exhibit the findings in the local manor house and has already secured additional assistance for the project from the Special Accession Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development of the EU, the Slovak daily SME wrote.
The site dates back to the early Bronze Age. The cairn's diameter is 30 metres. At the site, jewellery and ashes of what later turned out to be a woman's body were found. Because it is common for this type of grave to contain male bodies, archaeologists say it is probable that the woman was a local tribal chief.
Mayor Pavol Amrich said that his village once had several manor houses but that only one has been preserved.
"We want the manor house to become a representative centre for the village," Amrich said.

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