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Around Slovakia

President spins for MTV
Pigs flee accident
Bats invade spa house
Mother under investigation over baby's death
Martin clowns around
Bugs besiege Orava
Bear shot near housing estate
Gambling priest sentenced
Tank attacked

Bratislava
President spins for MTV

SLOVAK President Ivan Gašparovič made a splash at the MTV party in Bratislava on September 4 by introducing a new diplomatic style: scratching vinyl in Zlaté piesky.
DJ President, as the Slovak daily Nový Čas described Gašparovič, thoroughly enjoyed making smooth vibes, although European DJs who attended the party were less enthused.
"He is a great man but a terrible DJ. He can't scratch," DJ Rob Boskamp said to TV Markíza.
"I've never seen anything like this before but the president was cool," MTV host Becky Griffin said.
According to press reports the president enjoyed the atmosphere of the MTV party. "It's a great feeling when everyone is shouting out in joy rather than anger," he said.
At the end of his performance, DJ Gašparovič shouted at one dancing youth, "Have fun and make love," reported Nový Čas.


Trnava
Pigs flee accident

TRNAVA firefighters had their hands full last week, but instead of putting down fires they were catching swine.
More than 200 pigs ran loose on the road between Sereď and Trnava after a truck tipped over with the squeaking freight.
According to the Pravda daily, the accident took place on the morning of August 31. The truck belonged to a local meat processing company, Mäsokombinát Lučenec.


Trenčianske Teplice
Bats invade spa house

ONE of the spas in Trenčianske Teplice near the western Slovak town of Nitra has experienced unexpected and unwelcome guests - bats.
During August hundreds of bats moved into Vlára, a spa house in this popular spa region. The invaded building is normally used to house patients and visiting tourists.
"The environmental protection agency captured 405 bats. The bats slept during the day but in the early evening they would start squeaking and flying around," a receptionist who works at Vlára told the Slovak daily Pravda.
German guests liked the bats. "They probably thought that this was some sort of local attraction to make their stay more pleasant," the receptionist added. Vlára's room service staff felt differently.
The bats slept on the walls and curtains, as well in the lift shaft; they left marks and a bad smell behind, which meant more work for the room maids.
Alexander Cibula, the spa spokesman, said to Pravda that the environmental protection staff did not kill the bats but relocated them. The bats have been marked so that the agency can determine whether the same bats will return to the spa next year.
Vlára has been drawing bats for years. According to Pravda, the spa house has become the bats' migration refuge. "They always fly here in August. Vlára is a 100-year-old building with thick brick walls. In the summer heat, it is nice and cool inside," said the administrator of the spa area Pavol Vavro.
The people working at Vlára do not know how the bats manage to get into the spa house.


Machulince
Mother under investigation over baby's death

A 23-YEAR-OLD woman who gave birth to a baby boy said she had no idea that she was pregnant until late in her term. The baby died soon after birth.
According to the SME daily, the single woman, Martina, gave birth at home, by herself. By the time she took the baby to the hospital, doctors could not save the child.
In Martina's village, few noticed that she was pregnant. "I thought she just put on some weight. She is a bit robust anyway," one neighbor told SME.
Locals told the press that Martina comes from a strongly Catholic family who could not accept their daughter as a single mother.
Martina claims she did not know she was pregnant until the seventh month. Miloš Mlynček, head of the gynaecology and maternity ward in Zlaté Moravce, confirmed that there were cases of women who, even during pregnancy, have a so-called "pseudo-menstruation".
However, Martina was well aware that she was expecting before giving birth. Investigators have therefore started proceedings against her for murdering the baby. A preliminary vivisection did not confirm the cause of the child's death.



CLOWNING around in Martin did not set a world record but sold lots of rubber red noses.
photo: Nový Život Turca - Igor Gabaj

Martin
Martin clowns around

THE CITY of Martin failed to break the Guinness World Record by 200 clowns. The goal was to have more than 850 clowns come to the city square on September 3 to beat the record set by Londoners in 1991.
All participants who wore a red clown nose were counted. Even though "only" 565 clowns showed up, the happy mood in Martin Square prevailed. Clowns milled about, happy that Martin at least set a Slovak record.
Clown Day was part of the ongoing Scénická žatva theatre festival. According to the weekly Nový Život Turca, red rubber noses were selling like hot cakes, and children swarmed the square in sophisticated clown costumes.


Orava region
Bugs besiege Orava

MORE THAN 60 Volkswagen Beetles swarmed the Orava dam in northern Slovakia at the ninth annual bugs-gathering. The event drew bugs from Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Poland.
A Volkswagen Beetle fan club from Istebné organised this year's gathering. Every year, fans congregate to show off their favourite beetle. The VW model experienced a revival at the end of the 20th century with the introduction of the New Beetle.


Harmanec
Bear shot near housing estate

HUNTERS killed a two-year-old bear weighing 50 kilograms at a housing estate in Harmanec on September 2. The bear was a "regular patron" of the waste containers, according to Nový Čas.
"Several citizens asked me to do something about the bear," Harmanec Mayor Miroslava Artimová told the daily, adding that the bear ransacked the containers in broad daylight only ten meters away from terrified passers-by.
"This is the second case of a bear being shot in this vicinity over the last month and a half," the mayor added.
Hunter Ján Maťuš brought down the bear with one lethal shot.
"We watched the bear for three days. On Thursday [September 2] half of the village was there. The bear was literally showing off," Artimová said.
According to Nový Čas there are two more bears in Harmanec who may face a similar demise.


Veľký Krtíš
Gambling priest sentenced

A COURT in the central Slovak town of Veľký Krtíš sent a 44-year-old priest to jail for three years. The clergyman was found guilty of fraud, which he committed to support his gambling addiction.
According to the Nový Čas daily, the priest has incurred a debt of Sk1.7 million (€42,500).
"The priest borrowed money from his acquaintances and his flock under false premises," Milan Varga, the court's spokesman, told the daily.
According to Varga, the parish priest of Sklabina said he needed money to fix the church building, as well as for his own needs. When curious moneylenders asked about an alleged business plan to produce pasta, the priest told them that it had failed.
The court has ruled that the priest will have to pay back his debts once he has served his jail sentence.



JOZEF Rodák wonders what will remain of The Valley of Death if vandal attacks continue.
photo: TASR


Dukla pass
Tank attacked

SIXTY years after the Second World War, explosives have damaged a historical tank in an open-air war museum near the eastern Slovak town of Svindík. The attack took place in the Dukla Pass region, which is known as The Valley of Death, Pravda wrote.
Unknown perpetrators placed half a kilogram of explosives in the tank's barrel before setting it off. The barrel sits four meters above the ground.
The Svidník Military Museum estimated the damages at Sk120,000 (€3,000). Fortunately, the explosion caused mechanical damage only.
Museum Director Jozef Rodák said attacks by vandals are common to the museum.
" I don't know what will be left of The Valley of Death if things continue like this," Rodák sighed.

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