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Around Slovakia

A village of firefighters
Not a fair fight
Electrician steals from train
Masked men leave vicarage empty-handed
Drunk truck driver kills postwoman
427 pupils participate in mass reading event
Robbers take Sk5 million in jewels
Croupier charged in Sk1 million fraud
Slovak city's website wins award
Czechs caught smuggling dead bugs


EASTER celebrations in Nitra started off with traditional spring celebrations on Flower Sunday. The effigy is called Morena and it represents winter. According to the custom it is thrown in the river as a symbolic goodbye to winter.
photo: TASR


WITH Easter in mind, girls and women around the country are busy decorating Easter eggs in traditional and in modern ways, using wax, paint, and various wrappings.
photo: TASR


Lopušné Pažitie
A village of firefighters

THOUGH the village has not had a big fire for more than half a decade, every fourth inhabitant of Lopušné Pažitie is a firefighter.
Of the 467 total inhabitants, 116 are members of the local volunteer firefighters' club, making the village a Slovak rarity.
The firefighters frequently win competitions, the village's mayor, Milan Zmeček, said to the Slovak daily Nový Čas.
"We have almost no space to store the awards," he said.
Zmeček said that people of all age groups, from 15 to 79, participate in the local firefighters' club.
"The firefighting tradition is so strong here that small kids practically chase us to train in and compete for [the club]," said Peter Hracek, head of the local unit.
Therefore, the club recently created a team for smaller children aged 13-15.


Šaľa
Not a fair fight

MASKED men attacked boxers in a fake police raid at a fitness centre in the western Slovak city of Šaľa.
At the time, seven boxers and their coach were training in the fitness centre. The attackers forced them onto the floor and beat them, police said.
"They beat them with baseball bats, iron bars, and with the handgrips of their firearms," Nitra regional police spokesman Miloš Fábry said to the Slovak daily SME.
The boxers suffered various injuries, fractures, cuts, and concussions.
The attackers fled, but the regional police have already initiated prosecution for assault and hooliganism.
According to SME, locals admitted that the beating could be related to the murder of Peter Mudroch, who was shot in December 2003. Mudroch twice won Slovakia's Strongest Man title.


Prešov
Electrician steals from train

A 44-YEAR-OLD electrician admitted to stealing eight aluminium shelves from a train parked in a local depot in the eastern Slovak town of Prešov.
The state-run news agency TASR wrote on April 1 that the man admitted to the police that, at the end of December last year, he had snuck into a train that was soon to be trashed and stole eight shelves that he then sold to a local recycling centre for Sk690 (€17).
The damages he caused to the rail company exceeded Sk12,000 (€300), as the shelves were to be removed and used in another train.


Rožňava
Masked men leave vicarage empty-handed

TWO masked robbers broke into a vicarage in the Gemerská Hôrka village in the eastern district of Rožňava at 15 minutes past midnight on March 31.
The two men threatened the vicar, only named as Ladislav Sz, with a firearm and demanded money, police spokeswoman Jana Demjanovičová told the state-run news agency TASR.
The vicar had no cash, so the two men fled without stealing anything.


Trenčín
Drunk truck driver kills postwoman

A 30-YEAR-OLD postwoman was killed after a drunk truck driver unexpectedly drove into the opposite lane and knocked her from her bicycle.
The state-run news agency TASR wrote that the accident took place near the western Slovak village of Trenčianske Stankovce on March 31.
Tests in the hospital later confirmed that driver Ján K, 51, was drunk.
Police spokeswoman Katarína Hlaváčová said to TASR that an investigation into the accident was underway.


Bratislava
427 pupils participate in mass reading event

IN A UNIQUE reading event, 427 pupils and teachers in a Bratislava elementary school took part in a mass reading to commemorate the recently deceased Slovak novelists Mária Ďuríčková and Hana Zelinová.
The event was supervised by Igor Svitok from the Slovak records agency, who said he would submit a request for the event to be entered in the Guinness book.
The reading took place in the elementary school on Železničná street in Bratislava's Vrakuňa district.
Instead of their regular first lesson, children in different grades read a total of 12,980 pages from 12 books written by the two novelists.
"I am responsible for the school's library and we had talked about an event [like this] for quite a long time," teacher Eva Cechová, who prepared the event with the school's deputy principal, Andrea Macháčková, told the Slovak daily Pravda.
"After the recent death of Mária Ďuríčková and Hana Zelinová, we decided that we would use the event to commemorate the two writers. We also wanted to encourage the pupils to read more books," she said.
The school had to borrow additional books from a local library so that pupils in all classes could have a copy on their desks.
The reading started with a gong at 8:00 and pupils in all 21 classes read for 45 minutes [the duration of one class period in Slovakia] while their teachers marked the number of pages and the exact number of participants.


Levice
Robbers take Sk5 million in jewels

A JEWELRY shop in the western Slovak town of Levice was robbed of Sk5 million (€100,000) worth of jewels on March 28.
Nitra regional police spokesman Miloš Fábry told the private news agency SITA that the robbers made their way into the jewellery shop by breaking into the back door of the neighbouring building and then climbing onto its roof.
The roof connects to the one over the building containing the jewellery shop. From the roof the robbers broke into the attic, went down the stairs, and then broke a hole into the wall of the toilets. The hole was big enough for them to sneak inside. They then used the small window in the toilets to get to an office that served as the storage room for the jewellery.
They broke into the safe and took the jewellery and some cash.
Police do not have any trace of the culprits. If caught and convicted, they face up to five years in jail.


Piešťany
Croupier charged in Sk1 million fraud

POLICE investigators charged a 26-year-old croupier with fraud after he cheated his casino by faking winnings certificates worth Sk1 million (€25,000).
The man, not named by the police, played roulette in his casino in January and used an the casino's credit key to submit his bets, although he never actually paid them.
At the end of the day the cheater submitted the fake certificates to the cashier, Trnava regional police spokesman Martin Korch told the private news agency SITA.


Lučenec
Slovak city's website wins award

MIROSLAV Drobný, a city MP from the southern Slovak city of Lučenec, can be proud of a website he produced to introduce his town.
The website was named one of the best European city websites, the Slovak daily Pravda wrote on April 3.
The awards were distributed at the second annual Eurocrest competition, which took place recently in the Czech town of Hradec Králové.
The Lučenec website is part of Združenie eSlovensko [eSlovakia Association], which supports information about Slovak municipalities.


Streda nad Bodrogom
Czechs caught smuggling dead bugs

TWO CZECH citizens were caught while attempting to smuggle nearly 20 dead protected bugs worth almost Sk100,000 (€2,500) out of Slovakia.
Police and environmentalists cooperated to catch the insect smugglers. The police investigator charged them with breaking protected nature laws, the Slovak daily Pravda wrote on April 3.

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