Around Slovakia

Burglary/murder suspect arrested

SLOVAK police arrested an internationally wanted suspect, Silvia Jančovičová, in the western Slovak district of Trnava, the police told the SITA news agency August 4. A court in Austria issued an arrest warrant for Jančovičová on suspicion of burglary and murder.
If the court accepts a proposal for extradition by the Trnava district prosecutor, the Slovak Justice Ministry will then decide on whether to extradite Jančovičová to Linz, Austria, where she will undergo trial. The Slovak Justice Ministry needs to obtain original documentation from Linz before releasing her.
Jančovičová is suspected of murdering and robbing an 85-year-old Austrian pensioner. The old woman had a flat in the same building as the suspect. Jančovičová was identified after DNA tests linked her to the murder. According to the Austrian police, the old woman was struck over the head by a blunt object, suffocated with a pillow and robbed.

Museum discovers 1,300 objects missing

A THIEF stole more than 1,300 precious exhibit pieces from the Slovak Museum in Trnava, Expres Radio reported on August 10.
Police have stopped their investigations into the theft, which happened about one year ago. Authorities have no clue as to who stole the objects. None of the missing pieces have resurfaced on the art market, either.
The radio stated the stolen objects were invaluable.
Museum employees discovered a precious wall clock missing last year in March. After searching the museum's deposits, they counted hundreds of missing objects. They believe that the thief must have secretly been stealing the objects for years, at least from 1999. The thief made a delicate choice of the items stolen.
"Very precious objects disappeared, so it can be said that they were well selected [by the thief]. Paintings, statues, plastic statues, small objects from ceramics, and a lot of glass [objects] are missing," said the museum's director Daniela Čambálová.
It is believed that the thief had keys to the deposits as well as knew the security codes. Although the list of suspects is short, police have not found evidence that would link anyone to the crime.
"The criminal investigation was halted because we failed to find concrete information against a particular person," said the police.
The museum's director hopes that police will eventually catch the thief.
"The [details of the crime] suggest that the offender may still be here among us," said Čambálová.
Interpol has also joined the hunt for the stolen objects. It is very likely that they were placed on black markets abroad, Expres radio said.

City hosts more than 100 photographers

DOM Fotografie concluded its 10th annual summer school programme on August 14. The week-long intensive course, entitled Summer Photography School 2005, hosted more than 100 professional and amateur photographers from the Czech Republic, Poland, Latvia, Hungary, Russia, Austria, Finland, Germany and Slovakia, the SITA news agency reported.
This year's programme, which took place in Poprad and Liptovský Mikuláš, was organized under the auspices of the Slovak Culture Ministry. Minister František Tóth participated at the ceremonial opening of the intensive summer course in Poprad.
"Photography is a highly accessible medium that challenges professionals and amateurs alike. I am glad there is interest in photography in Slovakia," said the director of Dom Fotografie's gallery in Poprad, Lucia Benická.
Dom Fotografie arranged 15 workshops for participants with 17 tutors from nine countries. Participants expressed the greatest interest in the Expressive New Documentary workshop, led by Finnish photographers Paivi Eronen and Sanni Seppo.
Numerous exhibitions were scheduled as a part of the summer school. Participants and visitors were able to visit the exhibitions by Slovak and Czech photographers as well as works from previous summer school participants.

Book of Slovak UNESCO sites presented

ONE needs a good imagination to recognize Andy Warhol's statue at Košice's Wax Museum.
photo: TASR

A BOOK of photographs depicting Slovak sites included on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List was presented on August 7 in the village of Vlkolínec in the Žilina region in northern Slovakia.
The book, Slovakia in the UNESCO Treasure House, showcases four Slovak locations: Vlkolínec, Banská Štiavnica, Spišské Podhradie, and Bardejov, the SITA news agency wrote.
The book has been published in four foreign languages in addition to Slovak: French, English, German and Polish. The 120-page book devotes 30 pages to each location, with 20 pages of photographs and 10 pages of text.
"We cooperated with the local councils of all four towns to produce the book. The project's main coordinator was the Ružomberok council," said Ružomberok Mayor Juraj Čech. The book's publishers hope the book will inspire domestic and foreign tourists to visit the Slovak UNESCO sites.
Apart from 10,000 copies of the new book, 40,000 jigsaw puzzles of the UNESCO sites were also printed.
In speeches made at the presentation, Education Minister Martin Fronc and Culture Minister František Tóth praised the book's authors.
The book presentation was part of a cultural event called Sunday in Vlkolínec. The event included a performance by the folklore ensemble Liptov from Ružomberok.

Students win medals at chemistry Olympics

SLOVAK grammar-school pupils brought home a gold, silver and two bronze medals from the International Chemistry Olympics in Taipei, Taiwan, Katarína Hamerlová from the Slovak Education Ministry told the TASR news agency.
She said that Education Minister Martin Fronc regards the results as a success that can help make Slovakia more visible.
"Our students have confirmed that they belong among the international elite in natural science subjects," the minister said in a statement.
As many as 225 competitors from 59 countries took part in the annual competition which took place at the end of July.
The successful medal winners from Slovakia are: Anton Repko from Prešov, Michal Majek from Bratislava, Peter Stačko from Prievidza, and Soňa Hospodáriková from Martin.
Gold medallist Anton Repko has already participated at four International Chemistry Olympics since 2002. Each time he has come home with a medal. In recognition, Education Minister Fronc will receive Repko personally at the ministry in Bratislava and hand him an award.
Although the Chemistry Olympics are primarily a competition between individuals, in an unofficial country-ranking, Slovakia finished 12th in the world and fourth in Europe.
In the last six years, Slovak pupils have won 23 medals at the Chemistry Olympics: four gold, eight silver and 11 bronze medals.

Plavecký Štvrtok
Baker drives a loaf

A loaf of bread is on the roads around Plavecký Štvrtok. Baker Braňo Novotný, aged 32, is so in love with his profession that he decided to remodel his old hatchback to look like a loaf, the Nový Čas daily wrote.
"I had an old Fiat 127 that was in desperate condition. I built it on the chassis of the old car from regular construction materials. I made it with my friends in a week and it cost me no more than Sk4,000 (€102)," Novotný told the daily.
"My goal is to motivate people to be creative," he said.
The motorized loaf is 4.5 metres long and 2.7 metres wide. It is 1.3 metres tall.

PRESERVED traditional architecture in UNESCO village of Vlkolínec makes it into a new book.
photo: Chris Togneri

Zemplínske Hámre
Investors fight environmentalists

Biele kamene (White Stones) plans to invest Sk3.5 billion (€90 million) in one of the poorest areas in Slovakia - eastern Slovakia's Prešov region. The corporation intends to build a new tourist ski centre, with slopes and lifts, on Vihorlat the daily Pravda reported.
The project will create some 1,200 jobs directly, with other jobs created by related business activities.
Biele kamene decided to launch the project in the Prešov region to take advantage of investment stimulus packages. "The project should be supported by EU funds and the Slovak government," said the head of the project, and mayor of nearby Zemplínske Hámre, Jozef Gajdoš.
Most of the area targeted for the resort is officially classified under the second level of environmental protection. Environmentalists claim that the project should not be approved.
"If this project is approved, a unique natural area will be destroyed," said Ladislav Rovnák, the head of the Vihorlat Protected Landscape Area (CHKO).
The Vihorlat Mountains are, after the High Tatras, Slovakia's second most contentious location in terms of development. Investors have to fight with environmentalists to secure new tourism projects.

Police thwart sale of explosives

THE SLOVAK police detained two men near the city of Humenné in Eastern Slovakia's Prešov region as they were preparing the sale of six kilos of C4 plastic explosives on July 27, the TASR news agency wrote.
"If detonated in an enclosed area - on a bus or a train - the six kilogrammes of explosives could have had a devastating effect. In an open space, a blast could have injured someone 40 metres away and damaged small buildings within a 13.5-metre radius," police spokesman Martin Korch told the press.
A 39-year-old man was trying to sell the six kilos of explosive, supplied by a 55-year-old man, for Sk300,000 (€7,662). Both men were charged with illegal arms possession and trade.
During a search of the older man's home, police discovered marijuana plants. The man was subsequently charged with illegal production and possession of psychotropic substances.
If convicted, the men could face up to eight years in prison.
C4 explosives were manufactured in Slovakia until 2003 and exported to Romania and Israel.

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