Around Slovakia

Slovakia remembers victims of communism and fascism
Precious diamond disappears
Abandoned rodents
Ram raiders spark police hunt
Lion cub in a flat
Son dies in explosion at parents’ house
Still fit at 106

Slovakia remembers victims of communism and fascism

A MEMORIAL to the victims of fascism and communism was unveiled November 16 in a ceremony in Bratislava as part of the celebrations marking the Velvet Revolution, which brought down communism in 1989.
“The sculpture is four metres high and L-shaped. It’s secured by a one-tonne boulder from Devín Castle but will not need explosives to remove it,” Fero Guldan, the sculptor, told the TASR news agency, in a reference to the statue of first communist president, Klement Gottwald, which was destroyed with explosives after the regime fell.
The metal sculpture is augmented by the head of John the Baptist, by Jozef Barta, symbolising the behaviour of the totalitarian regime.
Lasting 41 years, the communist government of Czechoslovakia was brought down in the Velvet Revolution of November 17, 1989.
Police and special troops brutally attacked students who were peacefully marking International Students’ Day. The police action provoked outrage among the students and other sectors of society.
Hundreds of thousands of people eventually demonstrated in Prague and Bratislava at mass meetings organised by the opposition.
The largest strike in the history of the country took place on November 27, 1989 and saw some 800,000 people come together at the Strahov Stadium in Prague.

VISITORS to a Bratislava exhibition are detained in the case of a stolen diamond.
photo: TASR

Precious diamond disappears

A DIAMOND worth at least Sk250,000 (€6,260) has been snatched from the Slovak National Museum permanent exhibition of minerals. The precious stone was displayed under a glass lid in a section entitled Jewels of the World.
According to the daily SME the police received a report that the stone was missing, along with another less precious piece, on the afternoon of November 20.
At that time there were around 40 people visiting the museum’s exhibitions.
The police questioned everyone closely but nothing was found and they were eventually released, police spokeswoman Alena Toševová said.
Toševová added that the investigation was complicated by the fact that there were no alarm systems operating in the museum and no cameras to monitor movements inside the building.

Abandoned rodents

A COLLECTION of exotic Chilean rodents similar to mice - osmag degu - was found abandoned next to a rubbish container near a housing estate. It is assumed the owner got fed up with them and left them there.
Luckily for the mice, Martina Smyčková, of Sloboda zvierat (Animal Freedom), found them.
“I took them home, warmed them, and gave them something to eat,” said Smyčková.
According to the Nový Čas newspaper, the osmag degu mice are easy to handle and eat hay and cereals.

Ram raiders spark police hunt

POLICE are looking for a gang of burglars who ram raided an electronics outlet in Poprad, in northern Slovakia. According to the daily Nový Čas, security cameras filmed the thugs as they rammed into the shop using their car in the early morning of November 17.
They then started taking goods, selecting expensive items such as digital cameras first.
According to the regional police spokeswoman Magdaléna Fečová, the cost of damage to the shop has yet to be calculated. However, preliminary estimates suggest the robbers took around Sk1 million (€25,000) worth of electronics.
Police are investigating a possible link to the robbery case. Just one hour after, Poprad firemen were called to an incident between the nearby towns of Svit and Batizovce where an Audi car was ablaze.
“By the time we arrived at the scene, the whole car was in flames,” a fireman told the daily.
It is possible that the burnt car was used in the robbery in Poprad and that the thieves then switched to another vehicle.
“[The possible link] is the subject of a police investigation,” said Fečová.

Lion cub in a flat

INSTEAD of a baby, a young couple from Nitra is looking after a lion cub.
The couple bought the lion cub, Nikita, from a friend and now she and her boyfriend take it with them wherever they travel, according to the daily Nový Čas. On November 16, the three-month-old Nikita travelled to Trenčín.
Monika Trenčanská, 16, told the daily Nový Čas, “She does not mind travelling. She sat on the back seat and eagerly watched everything around her.”
“Nikita was born in a circus but they were disbanding the pride and we were sorry for her, so we took her,” she said.
She and her boyfriend are already planning what to do with the lioness when she gets bigger.
“It’s clear that she cannot stay in the flat. We are preparing a pen for her near a private house, but we would still like to keep her,” said Trenčanská.
Although Nikita is just a cub, she has a big appetite. Every day she munches 1.2 kilograms of raw meat and drinks tea or instant baby milk twice a day.

A PROPANE explosion in Farná put a hole in the neighbour’s roof.
photo: SME - Jana Beňová

Son dies in explosion at parents’ house

A POWERFUL explosion at a house in the southern Slovak village of Farná, near Želiezovce, left a 33-year-old electrician dead.
According to the SME daily, a propane-butane bottle exploded, killing the electrician, Anton, in his parents’ house.
Anton was welding pipes in the bathroom of his parents’ house when there was an explosion.
Anton was killed. His four-year-old son suffered scratches in the face from flying splinters and his parents escaped safely.
Shortly after the first explosion, another high-pressure bottle exploded, flying out of the house through the window, making a hole in the roof of the house next door.
“The roof caught fire. My mother lives alone in that house but luckily at that time she was at church. She can still live in the basement of the house, but the roof needs rebuilding,” said Attila Kabok.
The pressure wave broke all the windows in the house and left the walls cracked. According to SME Anton probably did not hold a welding licence and was using homemade welding tools.
“Everyone who welds must pass special tests. The welding tools also require regular expert inspection,” said welding expert Maroš Ikényi.
The estimated damage on the house is Sk1.2 million (€30,000) and police are investigating the incident, according to SME.

Still fit at 106

ALŽBETA Budinská from the eastern Slovak city of Košice celebrated her 106th birthday November 17. The mother of three has lived in three different centuries.
According to the Nový Čas daily, the elderly survivor is still brisk, and peels at least one potato per day, to exercise her hands, she says. Despite her age, she still dresses alone and spends most of the day watching people pass by her flat.
“I like watching people from behind my window - the way they walk, the way they behave. You know, at my age people can enjoy the simplest things,” she said.
Every day she likes to take a nap before noon and she ends her day with a prayer.
“Sleep literally charges me up. It gives me strength,” said Budinská.
Budinská says that from time to time she even sits down and writes a letter to her daughter who lives in Banská Bystrica, Central Slovakia.
Budinská is one of five children, but all of her siblings are now dead. She says she has no secret recipe for a long life.
When she was young she walked to work for several kilometres where she sold milk. Now, she just walks around her flat.

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