Around Slovakia

Universities sign co-operation agreement
EU funds help tourist resort
Sappers decorated on return from Iraq
Manor house falling apart
Police to train 16 Iraqis in Slovakia
Cholvarky cottages need help

Universities sign co-operation agreement

REPRESENTATIVES of the János Selye University (UJS) in the southern Slovak town of Komárno and the János Kodolány University in Székésfehervár, Hungary, signed a mutual co-operation agreement on September 5.
The two universities will introduce a lecturer exchange programme, organize work experience for each other's trainee teachers, and make joint applications for grants, the TASR news agency reported.
According to UJS rector Sándor Albert, UJS University is stressing the need to develop contacts with other domestic and foreign institutions to improve the quality of its education, and the knowledge of its students. The university aims to make its students more competitive on the international job market.
UJS University was established in 2003. It includes a teacher training college, along with schools of economics and theology. The János Selye Research Institute and the Comenius Teacher Training Institute began their activities under the university's patronage.

Čierny Balog
EU funds help tourist resort

THE CENTRAL Slovak village of Čierny Balog, in the Banská Bystrica region, has received Sk35 million (€918,000) from the EU.
The municipality plans to use the money to modernize the local tourist resort Urbanov vrch (Urbanov Hill), the TASR news agency reported. According to Mayor Tatiana Štulrajterová, Čierny Balog will use the EU funds to upgrade the resort by building up its infrastructure, including power supply systems, water supply and sewerage.
Money will also go towards expanding tourist facilities. "We began construction work in July, and plan to complete it before the start of the winter season, despite difficulties caused by the unfavourable weather. A cloud burst in August destroyed weeks of work within a few hours," said Štulrajterová.
"We expect the resort to be used all year round, as the village and its environs provide the right conditions for this. Tourists already come to Čierny Balog, especially in the summer. However, the resort lacks accommodation facilities and other amenities," Štulrajterová added.
In 2000, a private investor set up an artificial-snow system at the resort, and opened traditional shepherd-style restaurants.

Sappers decorated on return from Iraq

ONE HUNDRED and three sappers from the Slovak contingent in Operation Iraqi Freedom received Defence Ministry medals at a ceremony in Sereď.
The soldiers returned from Iraq at the end of August after five months active duty, the TASR news agency reported.
Slovakia's Deputy Chief of the General Staff Peter Gajdoš presided over the ceremony at the sappers' barracks. Throughout their service in Iraq, the sappers were commanded by Daniel Zemko, who said he was happy with the Slovak soldiers' work.
"We have contributed to the stabilization of the situation in the country," Zemko said.
The soldiers defused 350 tonnes of ammunition in total. They cleared mines covering 600,000 square metres, defusing about 360,000 mines.
Slovakia's sappers were, according to Zemko, assessed as the best in the field of engineering support.
At present, Slovakia has 575 personnel on missions abroad.
At the end of the ceremony, the participants observed a minute's silence in tribute to the three Slovak soldiers killed in Iraq so far.

Manor house falling apart

THE TOWN of Sereď in western Slovakia is selling a local manor house for a symbolic one crown. The manor house is all that is left of the former Šintavský water castle, the SME daily wrote.
For more than a decade the manor house has been unused and it is turning into a ruin where homeless people usually sleep overnight.
"To restore the manor house and the adjacent park, as well as the presentation of the water castle, some Sk250-300 million (€6.49-7.79 million) is needed. The town, as the owner of the building, has no such sum available," said Sereď's Deputy Mayor Anton Pančík.
Július Matis, from the civic association Water Castle, thinks that the manor house should be sold together with a plan of action. He thinks that a school with French as the basic language could be situated in the manor house.
"The proximity of the French carmaker plant PSA Peugeot Citroen in Trnava gives us hope," he said.
For the past 60 years a French family named Hénin owned the Šintavský Castle. Until the start of World War I princess Angelique de Hénin lived there as well.
The association therefore approached the French ambassador to Slovakia to assist them in promoting the site in France.
They also wrote a presentation text about the manor house in French, which is published on the town's website.

Police to train 16 Iraqis in Slovakia

A DEFENCE Ministry proposal to train 16 Iraqi policemen in Slovakia was approved by the cabinet at its session on September 7, yet the law has to be okayed by parliament as well.
The nine-week training course is most likely to begin on October 1. Slovak policemen will give their Iraqui colleagues basic training in how to carry out security operations, the TASR news agency reported.
Slovakia wants to contribute to building up the Iraqi security forces, which will take responsibility for their country after multinational forces leave Iraq.
At a NATO summit last year in Istanbul, Slovakia committed itself to helping to train Iraqi forces.
The Slovak government is currently sharing in the costs of training missions on Iraqi soil. It is also considering providing surplus military equipment to the Iraqi security forces.

CHOLVARKY, traditional wooden cabins in Kysuce region, may soon welcome visitors again.
photo: SME - Ján Krošlák

Nová Bystrica
Cholvarky cottages need help

SEVEN wooden cabins that are situated in the Kysuce hills and which local dissidents spent time in before the fall of Communism, are in need of repair, the daily SME reported.
A section of the cabins, or cholvarky in Slovak, which are situated in a secluded area called Brýzgalky, above Nová Bystrica, are falling apart.
Until a decade ago activists from the Slovak union for nature and land protection would come and clean and keep up the cholvarky. However, now the whole area of Brýzgalky needs more urgent help.
Mayor of Nová Bystrica Ján Šutiak told the daily that the place has a double historical significance for the locals.
"The wooden buildings in Brýzgalky are very precious from the landscape point of view. A part of such buildings has also been preserved in the Vychylovka open-air museum. Cholvarky mainly served as seasonal settlements for herdsmen but passersby also used to stay overnight quite often. The period when dissidents met here has the same importance. We would like to map this period and bring more awareness of Brýzgalky to the people," the mayor said.
The village plans to use the area as a tourist resort.
"Sometimes it happens that tourists don't even find them in the forests and we would like to change that. In the future we want to add information about them on the signs for the local tourist and biking tracks. We would also like to promote Brýzgalky via the open-air museum that is situated close to the village," mayor Šutiak said.

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