Around Slovakia

SPIŠSKÝ hrad (Spiš castle) is closed to the public until October 8. Movie director Dough Lefler is filming some of the scenes for The Last Legion, an American-British-French co-production, there. Lefler and his crew have erected an imitation of a Roman fort...
photo: TASR

Banská Bystrica
Man gets time for attempted bribery

A JUDGE in Banská Bystrica sentenced a 28-year-old man from Gajary in western Slovakia's Malacky district, to a jail term of 27 months for attempting to bribe a policeman. The judge also banned the man from driving for 30 months.
The man was caught red-handed at the wheel of a car twice last year while banned from driving. The man also has a record of theft and robbery, the TASR news agency reported.
When the police stopped him for a third time, he offered the officers two mobile phones in exchange for letting him go. He repeated the offer even though the officers warned him he was committing an offence.
The man's barrister asked for

...and settlement in and around the castle.
photo: TASR

clemency, saying that his client had confessed to driving without a licence. The offender denied trying to intentionally bribe the police officers, claiming it was a misunderstanding.
The defendant said the police officers asked him to put all his possessions on the hood of his car, including the two mobile phones. The police then took the mobile phones, the man claimed. The accused man's girlfriend confirmed his version of events in a preliminary proceeding. She, however, died during a recent visit to Spain.

Banská Bystrica
Pro-Nazi party leader beaten up

THE LEADER of far right extremist party Slovenská Pospolitosť-Národná Strana (SP-SN), Marián Kotleba, and his mother, were attacked and beaten with baseball bats on September 7 by three unidentified assailants.
Both suffered light injuries and the police are investigating the incident, the TASR news agency reported.
The party quickly responded to the attack by saying it was inspired by a campaign by the SME daily and People Against Racism following the August 28 Pospolitosť torch march on the eve of the anniversary of the Slovak National Uprising.
People against Racism denied the allegation, saying that they condemn violence on principle. However, the NGO says that SP-SN should be banned.
The SP-SN party published a call for its members to take justice into their own hands and "do whatever needs done".
Around 50 SP-SN members and an equal number of sympathizers gathered on August 28.
On Zvolen's main square the organization's leaders made speeches calling the Slovak National Uprising a Communist plot and condemning "gypsy parasites", "Hungarian chauvinists" and "Zionist lobbyists".
Kotleba is a high school IT teacher.

Labour Office director arrested for corruption

THE HEAD of the Labour Office in Prešov, Eduard Stahovec, was arrested by police while accepting a Sk15,000 (€393) bribe in his office in the beginning of September.
The Bureau for the Fight Against Corruption had already accused him of accepting bribes, and abuse of public office, the TASR news agency wrote.
Stahovec stepped down and the head of the Office of Social Affairs and Family Department, Gabriela Markovičová, assumed temporary leadership of the Labour Office.
Markovičová refused to comment on the case, claiming that "the office is working and its clients will not be affected by the case".
According to the police, Stahovec accepted the bribe from one of his employees for a promise to allow two employees to remain in their posts without considering other applicants.
The accused demanded Sk30,000 (€787) for complying with the request. This is the first arrest of a public official in Prešov.

Staré Hory
Bears search for fruit in gardens

RESIDENTS in the central Slovak village of Staré Hory, near Banská Bystrica, have started to receive unusual visitors. Bears from the local forests are entering their gardens in search of food, the daily SME reported.
Unusually the bears have not stopped at the gardens of suburban houses, but have started venturing into the centre of the village.
"The bears can be expected to visit even more frequently, especially to gardens with fruit trees. The bears are tempted by the ripening plums, apples, pears and other fruits," said Miroslav Saniga, who works at the Staré Hory based research station with the Slovak Academy of Sciences' Institute of Forest Ecology.
"After the bears' feast there are often broken branches because they pull down the branches to reach the fruits. People who own bee hives and chalets can also expect increased bear visits," Saniga said.
During the summer bears eat almost exclusively forest fruits but before the winter hibernation increase their intake to be able to survive from December to approximately March.
If there is a lack of forest berries, bears are forced to go and search for other sources of food.

School sports areas open to public

THE CITY of Nitra plans to open local schools' sports areas - gyms and sports grounds - to the public.
According to the SITA news agency, these areas will be open for free at least two days a week for up to four hours a day. The city is willing to cover increased operational and staff costs.
The project will open with a trial period on September 30. Apart from the existing two sports grounds, two new facilities will be opened.
"These grounds were created based on agreements with several companies that either supplied the work, material, or finances," said Mayor Ferdinand Vítek.

Jablonov nad Turňou
Driver burns in car

TWENTY-year-old Zsolt D, from the south-eastern village of Jablonov nad Turňou, burnt to death after crashing his parents car on his way home on the night of September 1, the daily SME reported.
The young man was already dead when firefighters arrived at the scene.
Investigators think that shortly before 4 am Zsolt D spotted a cat on the road and in trying to avoid it crashed into one of the apple trees at the side of the road. The car immediately caught fire. Police are continuing their investigations to establish exactly what happened.

Veľký Krtíš
Mining machine becomes town monument

THE TOWN of Veľký Krtíš has an unusual monument. On the occasion of the 760th anniversary of first written evidence of the town's existence, local officials decided to erect a 10-tonne, six-metre-long cutting-loading machi-ne as their town monument, the daily SME reported.
The machine stands as a symbol of the region's mining history. Previously a Soviet T-34 tank had stood on the pedestal, put there at the end of World War II and taken down only in the 1990s.
The mining machine came from the nearby mine of Baňa Dolina. It had stood unused for several years.

Police replenish budget with fines

SLOVAK drivers are expected to pay out around Sk500 million (€13 million) in fines for traffic offences this year, the daily SME reported. The figure is given in the context of another road-safety campaign, launched under the title Jastrab (Hawk), on September 19.
According to the daily, the Slovak Interior Ministry urged traffic police to collect Sk510 million (€13.3 million) for driving offences.
Under a parliamentary decision, the ministry is supposed to contribute Sk900 million (€23 million) to the state budget's revenues. Collecting fines is one way of meeting this target, property rental is another, said Vladimír Gemela of the Police Presidium.

Unsafe products on Slovak market

MORE and more unsafe products are appearing on the Slovak market, particularly toys, the Hospodárske noviny reported, citing the Slovak Trade Inspectorate (SOI).
So far this year, the SOI has intercepted more dangerous products than in the whole of 2004.
"Last year we discovered 37 such products, mainly toys that came from China and other as yet unidentified countries. As of September 20, 2005 we had already found 38 unsafe products this year," SOI central director Nadežda Machútová told the daily.

Slovak students strike gold, silver and bronze

SLOVAK students won eight gold, 12 silver and 14 bronze medals in international academic Olympiads and other competitions in the 2004 to 2005 academic year, Branislav Kužela, a spokesman for Slovakia's Education Ministry told the TASR news agency.
Slovak students won most of their golds at an informatics Olympiad in Novy Sad, Serbia. Slovaks picked up five silver medals at an international competition for young physicists in Winterhute, Switzerland. Other medals were gained at various scientific and linguistic Olympiads.
As well as visiting countries in Europe for competitions, young Slovak boffins competed in Mexico, Taiwan and China.
Education Minister Martin Fronc thinks these results are excellent. The Education Ministry wants to increase the level of competitiveness amongst Slovak students under the motto, "Let's learn how to study - we study for life."

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