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Around Slovakia

Poisonous plant attack
Deer Samo and roe Sisi live in city
Fancy loo near wedding hall
Vandals raid Calvary
Boy found dead after shooting himself
Hundreds of artifacts missing from museum


BOLSHEVNIK, a poisonous plant, is believed to have entered Slovakia during the Russian invasion.
photo: Žilinské noviny - Michal Filek

Bytča
Poisonous plant attack

AN AGGRESSIVE toxic plant is taking root in northern Slovakia, the regional newspaper Žilinské noviny wrote.
Jozef Korbáš from Malá Bytča spotted the plant, called bolshevnik, growing near the locals' housing area.
"If a small child touched the plant it would probably kill [the child]," Korbáš said.
Doctor Viktória Urbanová from the Považské Museum in Žilina agreed that the bolshevnik is a dangerous plant.
"On places of contact [with the skin] it causes large allergies [that may] even burn the skin. It is a very dangerous plant. It takes root mainly in riverbank areas and crowds out the original plants. It is also very hard to uproot," said Urbanová.
Urbanová also said that the plant could be especially dangerous for children's skin.
"I know of a case where a small boy touched the plant and [the reaction] looked like an acid burn. It may even cause permanent damage," Urbanová said.
Although no such case has been registered in Malá Bytča, the plant continues to spread.
"It is important to kill the plant when it is in bloom, when the stool is liquidated. The plant will only die at this time," advised Anna Dobošová, who works in the Malá Fatra National Park.
The environmental department of the Bytča municipal authority has decided to eliminate the plant.
"We waged a war on bolshevnik. Every year we destroy it mechanically and then pour chemical spray on it. But when we don't make it in time, the seeds are hard to find in the coppice and they continue spreading," Dušan Beníček, from the municipal environmental department, told the weekly.
"We have been successful in Malá Bytča, however. Bolshevnik is not spreading here, it only grows in the same place," he said.
Bolshevnik comes from the northern Caucasus and it spread to Europe in the 19th century.
Korbáš thinks, however, that Russians brought bolshevnik to Slovakia.
"It is a memory of the Russians when they invaded us in 1968 [the Warszaw Pact invasion after the so called Prague summer]. They brought it in on their tanks and cars," Korbáš said.
According to Žilinské noviny, however, bolshevnik is not reserved to the Malá Bytča area. Last year it was spotted near the Hájik housing estate in the city of Žilina, as well as in Lietavská Svinná, and near a road leading to Kysuce.
Boshevnik belongs to the carrot family and is on the list of so-called invasive plants. It can grow as much as five meters tall and blooms between July and August. It was brought to Europe as a decorative plant.



DEER Samo seems to prefer the city-life.
photo: Žilinské noviny - Miloš Skalický

Žilina
Deer Samo and roe Sisi live in city

A TWO and half year old deer named Samo, who was found in a meadow next to his dead mother, lives in the garden of a house in the center of Žilina, the regional newspaper Žilinské noviny wrote.
A roe Sisi is his companion. Sisi, two months old, was found alone in a forest.
According to the weekly, Samo is a fearless animal who attacks intruders with his pointy antlers.


Trenčín
Fancy loo near wedding hall

NEWLY-WEDS and their party guests, along with visitors of the western Slovak town of Trenčín, may soon enjoy a luxurious toilet in the city center that will be built in close proximity to the local wedding hall.
The decision to build the public toilets, which should be finished by next year, came as a response to the fact that the city center has no public toilets at all, the Slovak daily SME wrote.
SME wrote that as much as Sk3.7 million (€93,000) will be invested in the new public facility.
Architect Július Bruna said, however, that investing in the facility was a waste.
"What do we need luxurious toilets for in such an unsuitable place?" he said, arguing that the area had many cultural qualities and was a natural crossroads for the sites of the city.
"In cultural cities it is normal to place statues, memorials, or fountains in such places. These toilets may be gilded but they will still be toilets," he said.
According to the municipal officials, however, placing the toilets in the city center will make it easier for tourists to find them.
"I have traveled the world and every historical, tourist city puts public toilets where tourists can find them," Martin Barčák, amember of Trenčín's culture and tourism commission, said to SME.
The city's head architect, Adriana Mlynčeková argued that the toilets will be hidden under an entry plateau and that they will be built 1.5 meters under the ground.


Banská Štiavnica
Vandals raid Calvary

DAMAGES worth Sk700,000 (€18,000) were caused by unknown vandals to a pilgrimage site in Banská Štiavnica .
The vandals damaged the individual stop sites on the way up to the Calvary wooden cross, as well as the carved relief cross.
According to the SME daily, the Calvary had been damaged for a long time and most of the statues and art objects were therefore put into deposits.
In 1997, a thief stole several wooden statues from Banská Štiavnica, these were later found in an antique shop in Bratislava.
The Calvary will be reconstructed in the near future and electronic security devices will also be installed to prevent raids such as this from repeating.
The Calvary is more than 250 years old and is considered one of the prettiest country-sacral works in Slovakia. It is situated on the site of a burnt-out volcano called Scharfenberg, and includes 23 artifacts and two church buildings.


Lazy pod Makytou
Boy found dead after shooting himself

MARTIN S, 17, was found dead with a bullet in his head on June 20, 2004, the state run news agency TASR wrote.
According to the agency, the teenager was visiting his grand-parents in Lazy pod Makytou, where he got on his motorbike, drove outside the village and shot himself with a homemade gun.
His relatives found him some time later.
People from Lazy pod Makytou are clueless as to the motivation for the suicide.
"He was a young and clever boy. He took music lessons and played the tuba beautifully," an employee of the local municipal office, Štefánia Malovcová, told the TASR.
Police spokeswoman Lenka Bušová could not explain the motivation for the suicide either.
"So far it is unclear what led him to do it," she said.


Trnava
Hundreds of artifacts missing from museum

IN WHAT May turn out to be an unprecedented theft of historical objects, the administrators of the Západoslovenské Museum in the western town of Trnava found that over 100 exhibits were missing from their deposits.
According to the Slovak daily SME, police are investigating the case while an overall internal revision of the museum's deposits is taking place.
There is a chance that some of the objects may be disco-vered during the revision as they may have simply been misplaced within the museum's individual deposit departments.
The value of the missing objects has yet to be determined.
In total the museum stores about 150,000 artifacts from around the world including oriental ceramics and goblets.
The museum's director, Tibor Díte, lost his job over the case, and although he denies responsibility for the missing objects, he said he would have submitted his resignation himself.
"If these objects were in fact stolen, then it is a theft that is unprecedented in Slovakia," Díte said.
Recently, a 43-year-old caretaker of the Západoslovenské Museum committed suicide. This occurred only shortly after the absence of the objects was discovered.
One employee of the museum said it may or may not be related to the theft.

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