Around Slovakia

Youth dies in hijacked car accident
US Jews aim to repair cemetery
Baby Zdenka doing fine
Future of castle looks bright
Train kills homeless man
Enthusiasts tap into outer space
Driver survives train crash

Nové Zámky
Youth dies in hijacked car accident

IN A TRAGIC car accident a 15-year-old young man died after his father's car collided with a hijacked vehicle on a road between the villages of Andovce and Zemné in the Nové Zánky disctrict.
The private news agency SITA reported that the accident took place late evening on September 12.
The driver of the stolen car remains unknown. According to SITA the hijacker skidded across the road at high speed, having lost control of the vehicle.

ASSESSING the damage: American Jews will hopefully help restore the vandalised Jewish cemetery at Banská Štiavnica.
photo: SME - Ján Krošlák

Banská Štiavnica
US Jews aim to repair cemetery

THE JEWISH cemetery in the central Slovak town of Banská Štiavnica is in such a state of serious neglect that a group of US Jews has bandied together to help restore its broken tombs.
Mathew Crawford from the Institute of Arts in Chicago, Illinois, investigated the site and contacted several US Jewish families who have links to Banská Štiavnica to help save the cemetery.
"They have expressed interest in supporting the reconstruction of the cemetery but so far this is just on the level of telephone conversations," Katarína Vošková, the head of Banská Štiavnica's sites institute said to the daily SME.
"More details will be known once a personal meeting with Mr Crawford has been arranged," she said.
Ironically the problems with the cemetery began shortly after the municipal authorities began to take greater care of it. When members of the enviromental group Strom života [Tree of Life] then mowed the grass and trimmed the hedges, the vandals moved in.

Banská Bystrica
Baby Zdenka doing fine

TINY baby Zdenka, who was born weighing just 410 grams, is reportedly doing fine and gaining weight. She has also been taken off the hospital incubator and has successfully come through an eye operation, reported the Nový čas daily.
Head of the maternity ward in Banská Bystrica's Roosevelt hospital, Juraj Zbojan, said that her heart and brain were functioning normally.
"Her weight has exceeded two kilograms already, and she is actually 2,070 grams now. She is a true little fighter," the attending doctor Ľubica Jurigová said.
Zdenka was born on June 8 in the 24th week of pregnancy, measuring a mere 29 centimetres.

Future of castle looks bright

CIVIC group Donjon, who for years has been trying to preserve the ruined castle of Sklabiňa castle, has rented the castle site from the Sklabinský Podzámok village for a symbolic sum of one crown.
Donjon members work on the castle throughout the year, and according to the SME daily the lower domestic area of the building has already been partially restored. Future plans are to install a museum and gallery in the castle dedicated to its most important gentry - the house of Révay. It is hoped that accommodation and a restaurant will also be added.
For Donjon, however, the project is not a matter of money.
"When people talk about saving sites, money is the first thing that comes up. But we don't see that as the main problem because we can do much of the work ourselves, and money for materials can be obtained through various sponsors. This is how we manage [the reconstruction of] the main castle building," said Donjon's Michal Svateník.
His main complaint, however, is about needless bureaucracy that slows down their efforts.
"We don't expect financial assistance from the state because we entered this project voluntarily. We would, however, welcome some help from the labour office, to provide us with more willing hands.
"For several years now there has been discussions about how the state could help owners of historical sites but nothing has been forthcoming. We are trying to save this castle by working voluntarily, but the state cannot pretend that this is not its business at all. It is a cultural heritage site, of importance to the whole nation," added Svateník.
As well as the thorny issue of labour recruitment, Svateník admits that the organisation of construction permits is a tediously long process.
Ultimately it remains unclear what Donjon will achieve with the castle.
"At the moment we are considering what would be the biggest attraction for visitors. When we installed electricity in the castle some complained it ruined the medieval feel of the place. Others wanted it, because they saw the potential for accommodation and restaurant facilities. We would like to find a compromise between these two possibilities. But for us our main priority is to maintain the original appearance of the castle, as recommended by the site experts," said Svateník.

Train kills homeless man

A TRAIN driver who was heading for Prievidza spotted a body of a man on the track and immediately called police, the daily SME reported. The incident happened on September 13. Despite severe mutilation, the dead man was identified by a former schoolmate, as being a 46-year-old homeless man named Roman.
"There is a very small chance that it will ever be discovered which train hit him," said Jozef Búranský, spokesman for the Slovak railways police.
An empty wine bottle was found close to the body.

Enthusiasts tap into outer space

OVER 6,000 Slovaks have an interest in tracking extraterrestrial civilizations, making the country 38th out of 224 states throughout the world who regularly tap into outer space for clues about our possible neighbours.
Speaking to the Pravda daily Alexander Borsík, Slovakia's official representative of an international project called SETI@home, the majority of members believe that the Earth cannot be the only planet in the space supporting intelligent civilisation. "We simply want to prove this ourselves," said the 22-year-old computer programmer.
The project was launched at California's Berkeley University in May 1999 and Borsík joined it just two months later. Altogether it has attracted more than 5 million eager enthusiasts around the world who regularly scan the cosmos for life elsewhere. And in the five years since the project's inception 150 inexplicable radio signals have been recorded, convincing its recipients that we must be sharing the heavens with someone else.

ISN'T it a škoda (pity)? But where's the train that hit it?
photo: SME - Dominik Kováčik

Slovenská Ľupča
Driver survives train crash

THE DRIVER of an old Škoda car was fortunate to survive a collision with a cargo train, in an accident that took place on September 14 near Slovenská Ľupča, a municipality in central Slovakia.
According to daily SME the driver probably jumped the lights at a railway crossing, and was hit by the oncoming cargo train late in the evening.
The driver's car was found in a nearby ditch and its occupant was taken to hospit\tal. The train driver, unaware of the collision, continued his journey without stopping.
Police are now looking into the circumstances of the accident.

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