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Around Slovakia

A giant rose
Bank robber takes half a million and fills his pants
Cash, passports, visas and work permits stolen
Technical museum receives Belgian Alouette II helicopter
The wheels go round
Chocolate corn anyone?
Angry owner destroys football pitch

Vojka
A giant rose

A GIANT rose grown in the south-eastern Slovak village of Vojka could find itself in the Guinness Book of World Records. The flower, measuring an incredible 3.35 metres, was grown in her garden by Helena Szakalová, 63, according to the daily Nový Čas October 12.
"It bloomed a month ago and I wanted to cut it down. But then I noticed there was one more bud on top. And now look how high it is," the proud gardener told the daily.
Igor Svitok, who oversees Slovak claims to the Guiness Book of World Records, said that Szakalová's rose is the same height as the current holder of the world's highest rose. "The current champion was grown in San Diego, California," he added.
Svitok is waiting to see if the flower will grow any more and so claim sole possession of the world record.


Bratislava
Bank robber takes half a million and fills his pants

A BANK robber got away with Sk500,000 (€12,500) from the Račianska Street branch of the Tatra Bank, in the Nové Mesto district of Bratislava October 13, the state run news agency TASR wrote.
According to police spokeswoman Marta Bujňáková, the bank robber defecated into his trousers before running off, leaving behind a pungent smell. "His nerves got to him," Bujňáková speculated.
Witnesses described the man as being in his 20s, wearing a mask and a green jumper when he entered the premises shortly before closing time.
This was the twenty-first bank robbery in Slovakia this year, according to TASR.
What is known about the robbery suggests the thief could be "an individual who plays the hero in front of his friends, or he needs to solve some urgent financial problem", psychologist Marta Aibeková told the Slovak daily, Pravda.
"However, he could also be someone who was forced to do this by someone else," she added.
Aibeková thinks the fact that he defecated could suggest that "either he was a sick person or he was absolutely terrified and his body reacted this way at the critical moment because it was unable to bear such massive stress".


Bratislava
Cash, passports, visas and work permits stolen

THIEVES broke into the Danish embassy in central Bratislava during the night October 11, and stole more than Sk200,000 (€5,000). They also got away with passports, visas and work permits, the daily Nový Čas reported.
According to the daily the burglars got into the building on Panská Street after climbing onto balcony at the back of the building and taking off an iron window grille using welding equipment.
Nobody heard the noise the theives must have made because, "there was a loud party taking place in an adjacent restaurant," explained Ján Packa, head of Slovakia's Office for the Protection of Constitutional Officials.
The embassy confirmed that Denmark has sent out an expert to review security at the building.


Košice
Technical museum receives Belgian Alouette II helicopter

THE BELGIAN Ambassador to Slovakia, Olivier Belle, and military attaché Jose Warnez presented an Alouette II military helicopter as a gift to the Slovak Technical Museum (STM) in Košice October 14.
The ceremony was attended by former Slovak President Rudolf Schuster, who several years ago initiated the STM aviation exhibition, according to the TASR news agency. He also started the collection, which now features 15 different aircraft.
"Every gift is good, especially when it's a helicopter, since we have more planes in our collection," Schuster told journalists.
A total of 1,300 Alouette II helicopters were manufactured in Belgium between 1952 and 1975, for customers in 46 countries all over the world.


Púchov
The wheels go round

A UNIQUE museum of wheels, which its owner Vladimír Lukáč describes as the only one of its kind in Europe, is moving from Púchov to Trenčín.
The museum was established two years ago but has to move to be able to house the growing number of exhibits in its unique collection, the daily SME said.
Currently the museum comprises almost 300 wheels. After moving to the new premises in Trenčín, the number is expected to grow.
The exhibition traces the development of the wheel throughout history. It starts with a replica of the Sumerian stone wheel dating back some 9,000 years and continues with replicas of ancient Chinese, Egyptian, and Greek wheels. The oldest authentic wheels date back to the 18th century. Visitors to the museum can also see a genuine Formula One wheel.
Among the wheels Lukáč considers to be the most precious pieces in the collection is an undamaged one from a 19th century Austrian fire engine.
According to Lukáč, there are various reasons for the size of the collection.
"We buy wheels; others we get as gifts, and we exchange ours for different ones," he said.
In Trenčín, the wheel museum will be situated in a modern four-storey building under the castle.


Gáňa
Chocolate corn anyone?

A COUPLE from the western Slovak village of Gáňa, near Galanta, has grown a sweet corn that tastes like chocolate.
Unlike ordinary corncobs, the ones that Monika and Štefan Regec grew have pods of various bright colors including blue, red and pearly white, the daily Nový Čas wrote October 13.
According to the married couple, the corn's brown pods taste like chocolate.
The recreational gardeners have no clue as to how their regular seed turned into the exotic corn.
"We planted regular corn seed just to fill an empty patch in our little garden. We had no idea that when we harvested it and took off the leaves, pods of such bright and varied colors would be revealed," 30-year-old Štefan Regec told the daily.
Now the Regec's storeroom is full of red, brown, grey, blue and green corncobs. Others still are pearly white, orange, and even black.
"When we cooked the brown corn the kids said it tasted like chocolate. We made necklaces of some of the pods as well," Monika Regecová said.
The Regec family say they still cannot explain the different coloured corncobs.
"I guess nature has been having a little fun. I work in a car plant and my friends tease me, saying I sprayed the corn in metallic colours," Regec said.



"WHEN I get really angry, I'll plough up the whole lot."
photo: SME - Peter Buran

Stožok
Angry owner destroys football pitch

AN IRATE landowner has ploughed up a football pitch he owns, as part of a long-running argument with the local club, the daily SME reported October 14. Juraj Výboštek, 70, of Stožok, near Detva, Central Slovakia, became so incensed at having to throw back wayward footballs that landed in his garden next to the field that he took his tractor and destroyed part of the pitch. "And when I get really angry I'll plough up the whole lot and plant grain there," insisted a furious Výboštek.
Village mayor Štefan Spodniak pointed out that they have tried to resolve the the dispute, even agreeeing to compensate Výboštek to the tune of Sk100 (€2.5) for every ball landing in his garden, on the condition that Výboštek return the balls undamaged. However, a further problem is that the landowner's dogs attack and bite into the balls as they land in his yard.
"They did not pay me a single crown for the rent of the pitch. It was supposed to be Sk8,000 (€200) per year," Výboštek added.
Mayor Spodniak, on the other hand, says that Výboštek breaks all agreements. "When he signs a proper contract, we will pay the rent, even for several years in advance," the mayor said.
One possible solution is that the village buys the football field from Výboštek.
"If they give me Sk2 million (€50,000) I will move out; I have a place to live," he responded.

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