Around Slovakia

Vysoké Tatry
Oldest computer wins prize

RESERVOIRS built on the Danube also attract bird watchers.
photo: Jana Liptáková

THE INSITUTE of experimental physics of the Slovak Academy of Sciences (ÚEF SAV) won the competition for the oldest computer in regular use today.
The ÚEF SAV, which is situated atop the 2,633 metre-high Lomnický Štít peak in the High Tatras, still uses a PC that was made in 1986. It has an Intel 8086/8 MHz processor, Branislav Matliak of Mmd Public Relations Slovakia told the SITA news agency.
The ÚEF SAV uses the computer non-stop for collecting and storing neutron monitor data. The computer's original price was 20,000 Czechoslovak crowns.
The competition to find the oldest computer in operation in Slovakia was initiated by the Intel company, in cooperation with Profit magazine and an Internet daily,
Around one third of the competing computers were brand name PCs. However, one of the conditions of the competition was that the computers have Intel processors.
As a prize for having the longest serving computer in Slovakia ÚEF SAV was presented with a new computer.
Samuel Štefánik from ÚEF SAV was very happy about the victory. He said that ÚEF SAV is still using the old computer because they did not have enough money to buy a new one.
SAV's Astronomical Institute, which also has its computer at Lomnický štít, said that they had an even older Czechoslovak-made computer at the peak.

Archaeologists unearth Celtic burial site

A CELTIC burial ground has been discovered at a building site near Levice city centre, where a new shopping centre will be built.
Marián Samuel from the Archaeological Institute of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, told the SITA news agency that the most precious find on the early stone age, Neolithic settlement is a skeleton of what they believe was a 40-year-old woman buried in a squatting position. The site is believed to date back to between the 5th and 4th millennium BC.
In the Celtic graves, which date back to the end of the 3rd and the 2nd centuries BC, the archaeologists found many well preserved decorated pots, and various iron and bronze jewels. In the grave of a warrior, they found a sword and a spear.
Samuel said that these were the first such findings in Levice.
The most recent important Celtic-era discovery was made between the wars in the last century. Archaeologists discovered a treasure chest of coins minted in the style used by Filip II of Macedonia.

Opatová nad Váhom
Man and mouflon meet in forest

A ONE-YEAR-OLD mouflon (a type of wild sheep with chestnut brown wool) that was saved from certain death by forestry worker Peter Gavenda, 52, from Opatová nad Váhom, has formed a close relationship with her saviour.
Gavenda christened the female mouflon, Anežka.
"I found Anežka in the forests where we were feeding the animals. Her head was covered in blood, as well as her legs. She was standing in the deep snow, hungry and with scratches all over her body," Gavenda told the Nový Čas daily.
This was at the beginning of March. Gavenda took the mouflon home, thinking that she would not survive at all because her condition seemed critical.
"For two days I thought she would not live," he said.
He took care of Anežka as if she were his own baby. He gave her food and drink and treated her wounds. Gradually the young orphaned mouflon returned to health.
"Today, luckily, she is all right. There's just an ugly scar above her muzzle," said Gavenda.
Although Anežka is obviously totally devoted to her saviour, she will soon have to move out.
"I'll wait till she fully recuperates and then I'll return her to the forest, her true home. She is a wild animal and she needs the freedom and the companionship of her fellow mouflons. I cannot keep her here her whole life," he said, though he admitted that saying goodbye to his adopted mouflon would not be easy.
Ivan Kmeť from Bojnice zoo confirmed Anežka's strong relationship with Gavenda. He said that Anežka saw her saviour as her mother figure.
He added that returning Anežka to the wild would not be a good idea.
"It would be difficult to return her to the wild. In captivity, she lost her natural shyness and the instinctive ability to find sustenance. After her return to the forest she would become easy prey for stray dogs. She would have only a ten percent chance of surviving in the wild," Kmeť told Nový Čas.
Bojnice zoo has therefore decided to help the young mouflon. "Although we have enough mouflons at the zoo already, we will take her if Mr Gavenda agrees," Kmeť said.

Nižná Šebastová
Bird watching as environmental tourism

ENVIRONMENTALISTS with the Association for the Protection of Birds in Slovakia (SOVS) believe that bird watching could be a new way to attract more tourists to Slovakia, the SITA news agency reported.
After many years, a flock of around 400 common cranes recently landed in Slovakia. They spent a night in the fields outside Nižná Šebastová near Prešov. The closest regular site where these beautiful birds land is in Hungary near the village of Hortobagy. Hundreds of tourists travel there for bird watching each year.
The environmentalists say that this is a unique opportunity for Slovakia to create positive conditions for the birds so that they will get used to the habitat and choose to come there regularly. Ornithologist Martin Fečko is convinced that Slovakia could turn this opportunity into a very popular tourist attraction.
The spring migration of common cranes peaks in Slovakia in the first half of April. The most frequent migration route is over Košice towards Prešov. Here they split into smaller flocks on their way towards Poland.
Martin Sárossy from SOVS told SITA that these birds require marshland and wet meadows. The last surviving wet meadows in Slovakia are located near Prešov close to the small Sekčov River. The country once had many marshes, but these were dried out and the land is now used for farming.
According to ornithologists we should return to original farming practices using meadows and pastures. SOVS argues that projects to convert land back to its original state are supported by European Union funds under rural development. The number of tourists travelling for bird watching is rapidly growing in neighbouring Hungary and Poland.

Hunter found body of killer

A LOCAL hunter found the body of double murderer Milan Rafael in the woods close to the village of Kozárovce in western Slovakia's Nitra region on the afternoon of March 30, the daily SME reported.
Police were searching for Rafael for several days and even offered a reward for information leading to his arrest. On March 24, just one day after being released from custody, Rafael murdered the father and brother of his former girlfriend, Eva Kováčová, 18. Her prior testimony in a different matter led to Rafael being detained by police.
The young woman and her mother were seriously injured by Rafael,and hospitalized.
The Kováč family probably had no idea that Rafael had been released because Slovakia has no system that informs witnesses that a criminal against whom they have testified has been released.
In many cases, the prison officer corps does not even inform the police that they have released someone.
The Prison Institute issued a statement saying it does not announce the release of a detainee to the police corps or any other entity.
Police are also not required to announce the release of a person to an informant whose help led to a suspect's arrest.

Prize for 10-kilo swan cake

A swan-shaped cake weighing 10 kilos won first prize at the Gastra, Alimenta, Coba food fair in Nitra on April 5.
The marzipan cake was called the Queen of the Lake. Three pastry cooks from Nitra took a whole week to make the cake, the SITA news agency reported.
Of the 10 kilos, as much as eight kilograms was marzipan. Each feather is a work of art in itself, SITA wrote.

Collector has 3,000 phone cards

COLLECTOR Anton Hasák, 55, has collected around 3,000 phone cards from around the world in the 10 years since he took up the hobby.
He has a complete collection of the regular phone cards issued in Slovakia.
He told the Nový Čas daily that his first card carried a UNICEF motif. Now he specializes in cards with pictures of telephones. He gets the cards as gifts from friends, by buying or swapping.
He told the daily that in Slovakia 194 different types of regular telephone cards have been issued and there have been 20 issues marking special occasions.

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