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The BEST OF AROUND Slovakia 2004

Absolutely safe case
3.5 years for underwear man
Solo sax trio
Village pub Ltd
Running from border to border
Swimming the snakes
Helicopter locates granny
Three beers opened in one second
President spins for MTV
World's smallest chihuahua
Chocolate corn anyone?

Dolná Seč
Absolutely safe case

FORMER secondary-school teacher and dedicated inventor for 17 years, Štefan Vámoš, from Dolná Seč, has invented a case he says provides complete security.
The case is equipped with special technology, which Vámoš claims means no one can open it and steal from it.
When tampered with by an unauthorized person, an alarm is triggered and the case explodes.
"The carrier of the case secures it to his or her hand with a leather belt and then connects a cable that activates the [security] system," Vámoš told the daily SME.
"The six-kilo case can't even be broken into by the person carrying it. It can't be pulled out of the carrier's hand without consequences. If the person carrying the case pulls out the cable, a sharp 240-decibel sound goes off. After [five seconds] the case explodes. It does not physically hurt the person, but it marks him or her with a smell that cannot be removed for at least two days. Police can track him or her down easily. The bank notes also smell and are destroyed by a sticky liquid," he said.
Vámoš said that in his opinion the silicone case with six-millimetre-thick walls is indestructible.
He hopes that his case will at some point be produced on a large scale and he said he has already received a preliminary promise from a foreign producer.
Apart from the case, Vámoš has also developed several car security systems.


Levice
3.5 years for underwear man

A MAN who robbed a filling station last May was sentenced to 3.5 years in jail by a court in Trnava. The culprit used a pair of underwear as a mask.
Peter Kubík, 29, a former police officer, told the court that he regretted his act, which he said was impulsive and foolish. During the trial he covered his face to avoid being photographed, according to the daily Nový Čas.
The two filling station employees at first thought the veiled threat was a joke, but ended up handing Kubík Sk11,000 (€271) in cash.
An hour after the robbery, Kubík returned to the filling station and returned almost all of the money, saying he regretted the act and had carried out the foolish act after losing Sk150,000 (€3,700) in gambling the night before.
A surveillance camera inside the shop recorded the whole thing.



ĽUDOVÍT KAUFMAN, from Nitra, sure plays a mean horn.
photo: SME - Jana Beňová

Nitra
Solo sax trio

ĽUDOVÍT KAUFMAN, from the southern Slovak town of Nitra would make a one-man horn section: he can play three saxophones at the same time.
Kaufman, a self-taught sax player, wants to make it into the Guinness Book of World Records with his extraordinary skill.
Music has always been the trained mechanical engineer's true passion. "I used to be in a band from Nitra that eventually started to play in [clubs in] Germany. I quit my profession 20 years ago to make my living with music. I used to perform on two saxes but always wanted to play three," Kaufman told the daily SME.
He says playing on three saxophones at once is hard work. Together, the three instruments weigh 20 kilograms and blowing into them simultaneously is exhausting.


Hurbanova Ves
Village pub Ltd

IN ORDER to address the lack of communal finances, local leaders in the western Slovak village of Hurbanova Ves, opened a community pub 11 years ago.
Since then the pub has brought in about Sk100,000 (€2,500) annually to the local treasury.
"The pub is 100 percent village-owned," mayor Ľubomír Petrák, told the SITA news agency.
"Apart from the extra cash that the pub brings to the village with a population of 250, the establishment also serves as a local youth centre where young people can play pool or table football."


Slovakia
Running from border to border

JOZEF Rajchl, from Bratislava, became the first man to run and speed-walk 575 kilometres across the whole of Slovakia. It took him six days, one hour, and 40 minutes.
On his journey, Rajchl went through 83 towns and villages, destroyed four pairs of running shoes, and lost five kilograms, the daily SME reported May 6.
He started his journey in the eastern Slovak village of Vyšné Nemecké and ended it in Záhorská Bystrica, in Western Slovakia.
"It is my dream to conquer long distances and to prove it's all relative [to your determination]," Rajchl told SME.
In the future he plans to run and walk a route that would connect the North, South, East, and West of Slovakia and to run along a section of the Great Wall of China in the Beijing area. He added that he hopes his east-to-west run starts a tradition in Slovakia.
"I would like to repeat this every year and I hope that other athletes join me. I will also inform [athletes] in surrounding countries," Rajchl said.
Describing his run he said: "I wanted to travel 110 kilometres every day by running and speed-walking, but my five-day plan started to fall through from the very start. In the first day I had stomach problems from energy drinks that were supposed to help me [perform better]. I had a similar crisis during the third day.
After my girlfriend started to feed me traditional food and biscuits, my stomach calmed down to a certain extent.
Every day at about halfway through my daily run, I started swearing and got into a bad mood because I knew I wouldn't meet the planned schedule. I was kept going by my support team on bikes and in the car."
Rajchl ran during the night as well as the day. "I felt the worst during the last night. Everything hurt from head to toe and I cried at every step to get at least some relief [from the pain]. I was falling asleep while standing, so the guys had to keep me awake by talking to me."


Ústie nad Oravou
Swimming the snakes

EXOTIC snakes can occasionally be seen swimming in the Oravská water dam, a popular swimming place for many locals.
The four-metre-long python and two-metre-long boa enjoy swimming along the shore of the dam, where the water is warmest, pet owner Jozef Horinek from the northern Slovak village of Ústie nad Oravou, told the Pravda daily June 18.
"The python especially likes to swim a lot. When it is hot she will spend the whole day in the water," Horinek said.
He said that vacationers regard the snakes with respect, and assures that the snakes will not hurt them.
Horinek acquired the snakes five years ago. When they were small, Horinek let them move freely around his house. Now he keeps them in terrariums and lets them out in the garden during the day. He watches the snakes constantly and is careful when handling them.
"They can be temperamental, particularly when they shed their old skin. Their eyes become cloudy and then I know that it is better to keep them in the terrariums," said Horinek.


Galanta
Helicopter locates granny

AN 80-YEAR-OLD grandmother who disappeared July 12 was found three days later in a helicopter search just two kilometres away from her house in Vinohrady nad Váhom, in the Galanta district.
According to the SITA news agency, the woman left her home on the evening of July 12. Police were told that she was missing one day later and immediately set about looking for her. She was spotted sitting in a field and sorting grain. According to the SITA news agency, she thought she was sitting at home. The old woman suffers from sclerosis.


Topoľčany
Three beers opened in one second

JOZEF Fraňo who opened three beer bottles in just one second, will be awarded with a triple entry in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Fraňo, 52, from the western Slovak town of Topoľčany, works in the marketing department of the local brewery, the daily Nový Čas wrote July 22.
When asked why he developed this untraditional hobby, Fraňo said, "My boss Jozef Nemec once told me that three Germans opened 300 beer bottles in one minute and 47 seconds. He also said that he thought it could be done even faster. And he was right; after training on scrap bottles our three-man team broke the four-year-old world record. We opened the 300 bottles in 1 minute 17.3 seconds," Fraňo told the daily.
Fraňo accomplished his second personal best last year when he opened 101 beer bottles in one minute.
His most recent record was set on March 4 of this year, when he opened a crate of 20 beer bottles in 6.65 seconds. Therefore, he achieved a remarkable average of three beer bottles per second.


Bratislava
President spins for MTV

SLOVAK President Ivan Gašparovič made a splash at the MTV party in Bratislava 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 enthusiastic.
"He is a great man but a terrible DJ. He can't scratch," DJ Rob Boskamp told 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.


Revúca
World's smallest chihuahua

THE SMALLEST recorded dog in the world is Danka, the chihuahua who waddles around the town of Revúca.
Danka is 18.8 centimetres long, 13 centimetres tall, and weighs a mere 780 grams, according to the TASR news agency.
"In December, Danka will be two years old, and she will stop growing. We sent her application to the Guinness Book of Records this May and it has since been confirmed," Kvetko told TASR. The creamy white chihuahua was bred in Kvetko's kennels, where he has dedicated 14 years to breeding Chihuahuas.
The information has also been published on the Guinness Book of Records website.


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 grow have pods of various bright colours including blue, red and pearly white, according to the daily Nový Čas October 13.
The married couple say the corn's brown pods taste like chocolate. The recreational gardeners have no clue as to how their usual 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 colours would be revealed," 30-year-old Štefan Regec told Nový Čas.
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.

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