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BRITISH superstar Sir Elton John gave a spirited "Ahoj Bratislava" as welcome to the tens of thousands of people gathered on the Danube Embankment in Bratislava on June 1. The legendary piano man and his band were in town for a free concert promoting mobile operator T-Mobile. Slovak punk-rock band Desmond warmed up the crowd for what was the biggest concert in Slovakia since the country's independence, the Nový Čas daily reported. Reports said that anywhere between 50 and 100 thousand fans from Slovakia and surrounding countries gathered to listen to hits such as Sacrifice, Rocket Man, Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word, and ballad Candle In The Wind. Elton John played his Yamaha piano and wore dark glasses. In addition to the well-known hits and favourites the crowd was treated to songs from the superstar's new album, Peachtree Road. The nearly two-hour long concert marked Elton John's first visit to this country. The singer praised the setting for the concert and after two encores left the stage saying he hoped to return to Slovakia one day, the TASR news agency reported. Famous for his extravagant tastes in fashion, concert organizers presented the singer with an embroidered shirt from the village of Heľpa in Central Slovakia.
photo: SME - Pavol Funtál

Slovakia
Police crack down on people smugglers

ON MAY 19 police raided nine houses in three Slovak towns and arrested 14 people in a major crackdown on a human trafficking gang, the SITA news agency reported.
The police action centred on the towns of Trebišov, Michalovce and Dunajská Streda.
During the house searches the police collected evidence such as mobile phones, SIM cards, documents and an illegally held gun.
The gang was established in 2004 and trafficked people from Asian countries across the Ukrainian-Slovak border. They smuggled the migrants in groups of 30 to 75 people and used stolen car number plates on vehicles to transport their clients.
An illegal immigrant had to pay $5,000 (€3,960) in the country of origin, while members of the Slovak trafficking gang demanded $500(€3,960) for transport, accommodation and food.
The gang earned at least Sk4.5 million (€11.5 million) from its activities.


Pezinok
Risky jump delays train

A 50-YEAR-OLD man can count himself lucky after he slipped on the steps of a moving train as he was trying to jump aboard.
The accident took place on May 24 in the western Slovak town of Pezinok.
Railway police spokesman Jozef Búranský said that the conductor noticed what was happening and pulled the emergency brake.
After managing to struggle onto the train the conductor demanded he show an ID, which the man refused to do. The conductor then called in local police.
According to the Pravda daily the man did not want to miss the train because he was hurrying home. In the end, however, his return home was delayed by three hours because he was taken to the railway police department in Bratislava who treated the incident as a misdemeanour.
Búranský also said that the man caused the train to be delayed 30 minutes. The railway company may even ask him to pay compensation for losses incurred by the incident.


Nitra
Strongman gets down to the wire

ON MAY 25 Slovakia's strongest man, Juraj Barbarič, created a Slovak Guinness record by cutting through 757 wires in 51 minutes and 57 seconds.
Barbarič cut the one centimetre long and five millimetres thick wires as part of the opening to an engineering fair in Nitra, the SITA news agency reported.
The number of wires had a special significance: Nitra is this year celebrating its 757th anniversary.
"I haven't been to Nitra for two years and when I was preparing to visit the fair I said to myself that I would pay my respects to the city in some way. So I thanked the people of Nitra in this way," Barbarič told the SITA news agency.
Igor Svitok of the Slovak records agency said "I tried it as well but I could not manage to cut through a single wire".
Barbarič automatically qualifies for the Slovak book of records as this feat established the discipline of wire cutting. Whether Barbarič will also get an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records will be known at the end of the year.
Slovakia's strongest man has been active in the area of strong man sports for 13 years now. He has organized 120 events and holds five world records.
In 1999 he pulled 20 railway wagons loaded with iron ore weighing over 1,000 tonnes and 350 metres long.
Currently he is considering "pulling the new two-storey plane that the French made, with 800 people on board.
"But it will be very hard to convince a company that owns such a plane to borrow it for the occasion," he said.


Nitra
Pronto chef cooks a world record

THE WORLD's fastest cook is Tunisian Mimo Aboudi, who lives in Slovakia.
In 16 minutes and 10 seconds he prepared 27 dishes and will thus go into the Guinness Book of World Records, the SITA news agency reported.
On 30 pans he made a total of 15 kilogrammes of food including four different types of soups as well as pasta, meat and fish dishes, all cooked in a Mediterranean style.
Delicacies included a tender turkey breast topped with herb sauce, risotto with shrimps and mushrooms, pasta with salmon, and a shark on garlic and herbs.
Supervisors made sure that the food was well cooked.
Aboudi grew up in Italy and has been in Slovakia for 10 years now. He has been a Slovak citizen for the past five years.
He has a restaurant in Nitra and his favourite food is fish.
He said that the fastest dish to make is onion soup, which he can make in 90 seconds.


Nitra
Acetylene bottles explode

TWO ACETYLENE bottles exploded on May 25 as a car with trailer was moving through Hviezdoslavova Street in the city of Nitra.
Police spokesman Miloš Fábry told SITA news agency that a 33-year-old driver was behind the wheel of the Škoda car.
"Because of still unknown reasons the bottles fell off the trailer, the vents released and the explosion occurred. The bottles were not destroyed," he said.
The man was immediately taken to a hospital and the street was closed for traffic for several hours.


Slovenské Pravno
Truck collision causes ethylene threat

IT TOOK over 12 hours to eliminate the consequences of a serious collision that occurred on the night of May 20 in the village of Slovenské Pravno near Turčianske Teplice.
A truck carrying liquid ethylene, travelling very fast, left the road and ended up in a field, the TASR news agency reported.
The driver was not seriously injured, but there was a danger that the liquid ethylene would ignite. Experts were even afraid of a possible ecological catastrophe.
Police in Turčianske Teplice are dealing with the case.


Prievidza
Slovak students win international contest

SLOVAK students from Prievidza's grammar school (gymázium) won the first round of an international contest of cooks held on May 24 in the German city of Erfurt.
Czech, German, Polish, and Slovak teams took part in the contest. The Slovak team of students prepared stuffed chicken breasts cooked in tin foil.
In the 60 minutes allowed they also prepared a sauce and rice to complement the chicken, the SITA news agency reported.
According to the jury, the Slovak dish was the fastest made, tastiest and best prepared treat on the menu.


Skalica
Record set for longest cake

IF only one's stomach could catch up with the fastest chef.
photo: TASR

A 107 CENTIMETRE-long traditional trdelník cake, made according to an original Skalica recipe on May 21, will make it into the Slovak record books.
The cake, made of sweet dough sprinkled with a topping of nuts and sugar, was cooked during the local Trdlofest 2005, the SITA news agency reported.
Four cooks - husband and wife Mária and Jarolím Romančík, Ľudovít Branecký, and Ľudmila Mičová - made the cake on an open fire according to the old recipe.

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