Around Slovakia

Prince Andrew discusses lettuce with Lorenzo Morretti of Tesco Stores SR.
photo: SITA - Dušan Knap

Royal visit by Duke promotes trade

PRINCE Andrew, the Duke of York, visited Slovakia from October 11 to 12. The visit by Queen Elizabeth II's second son is the first to this country by a member of the British Royal Family since Slovakia became a member of the European Union in May 2004.
Ahead of the planned visit, the British Embassy in Slovakia told the SITA news agency that the Duke, who is also a Special Representative for International Trade and Investments, would open a Tesco distribution centre for fresh food in Beckov, Slovakia.
It is also said that Prince Andrew would give speeches at seminars discussing corporate responsibility and the regeneration of towns.
According to the British Embassy, The Duke of York was looking forward to his visit to Slovakia, sometimes dubbed the "Tatra Tiger", because of its booming economic success. The Duke of York hopes more British investments will result from his visit and that more Slovak firms will trade in Britain. "I have no doubt that there are possibilities for more intense trade on both sides," the Duke said.

SOGA auctioned the most expensive painting in Slovak and Czech history.
photo: SME - Pavol Funtál

Painting fetches record price

A painting reached a record figure of Sk16 million (€411,000) in a sale at the SOGA auction house on October 4. Boy with Dalmatian became the property of an anonymous telephone bidder, the only person to bid for the painting.
"It's the most expensive lot in Slovak and Czech history. Moments like this don't happen very often. It makes you feel like you are living in a major city," said SOGA director Ján Abelovský.
The director added that as the painting did not reach its reserve price (Sk20 million/€514,000) the auction house had to obtain permission from the original owner, whose name was not revealed, to make the sale. Also, as the buyer is a foreigner, the Ministry of Culture must agree to the purchase.
Present at the auction was Education Minister Martin Fronc, who showed interest in several art works, and actually bought a painting for Sk16,000 (€412).
Boy with Dalmatian is by Italian artist Domenico Zampieri (1581-1641). The painter was born in Bologna and became a student of Annibale Carricci in Rome.
His works mainly depict scenes from the Bible and ancient mythology. It is thought that the oil-on-canvas Boy with Dalmatian, was painted between 1615 and 1625. The 93cm-by-104cm painting, which depicts a cherub-like boy riding on the back of a Dalmatian dog surrounded by a richly-embroidered cloth, is considered to be a typical example of the Bolognese School.

Schuster absent from court

FORMER president Rudolf Schuster was again absent from court on October 4 in a controversial case in which he is the main figure, 24 hodín daily reported on October 5.
Schuster is demanding Sk450,000 (€11,600) from two Bratislava hospitals - the Interior Ministry Hospital and the Kramáre College Hospital - for allegedly damaging his health during a bout of illness in 2000.
The president's lawyer, Zdenka Lániková, when questioned about her client's absence, stated that Schuster was abroad on official business.
However, journalists later caught Schuster at home in his Košice villa. When asked why he was not in court, he said he was suffering from a burst blood vessel in his eye.
When he was told that his lawyer had given a different reason, Schuster said that he had been in Mallorca at an international conference and had only returned home early on October 4.
Journalists then asked if he still intended to insist on compensation from the hospitals. Schuster refused to give an answer. "I've already told you that it's my business, and I don't want to speak to you," he said.
The judge presiding over the court has adjourned the case until January 2006.
In 2000 Schuster suffered a perforated colon and was admitted to Kramáre College Hospital. Later, he was transferred to the Interior Ministry Hospital. However, complications arose from his treatment in Bratislava and he was flown to a hospital in the Austrian city of Innsbruck for further treatment. He announced his decision to sue the two Bratislava hospitals in 2002.

Welcome home for peacekeepers

NITRA-Krškany military base welcomed home an army unit September 30 from a tour of duty with the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP). The 88 troops returned to Slovakia one day ahead of the welcoming ceremony as part of a rotation of military forces, the TASR news agency reported.
"The Slovak soldiers were serving in difficult conditions on the divided island, but they have fulfilled their mission," said Chief of General Staff Ľubomír Bulík.
The Slovak servicemen carried out various tasks in Cyprus, focussing on monitoring the area under their control, liaising with civilians, negotiating and maintaining the status quo in the buffer zone that separates the Greek and Turkish territories.
UN peacekeeping troops have

THE MAN with Three Balls, as Slovak juggler Milan Roskopf is known, travels to Egypt to train for his third Guinness World Record attempt. As the only man who juggles with three 20-pound (9.08 kilogramme) steel balls, Roskopf will go for the record at the international festival of records and curiosities, Impossibility Challenger Games, in Munich, Germany. The juggler was granted a world record last June at the International Records Festival in the Czech town of Pelhřimov, when he juggled the balls for 22.34 seconds. He hopes the Munich festival will land him the prestigious certificate from the Guinness Book of Records. A week after the games in Munich, Roskopf will compete with Ľubomír Majstrák, the current world record holder in juggling with 3-kilo balls, in Brno.
photo: Courtesy of Milan Roskopf

been stationed in Cyprus since 1964. In 1974 the island became divided when Turkish troops occupied the northern part of the island following an attempt by the Greeks to make Cyprus part of Greece.
The UNFICYP mission in Cyprus consists of 863 UN peacekeeping troops. The Slovak contingent will consist of 202 service personnel once the current rotation is completed.
The MR Štefánik military camp in the town of Famagusta is the base for the Slovak troops, as well as to a company of Hungarian troops and two Croatian soldiers. Sixty-one Slovaks are based at the headquarters of the UNFICYP Commanding Officer in Nicosia.

Pezinok street in France

A STREET in the French city of Montbéliard, close to Strasbourg near the Swiss border, is named after the Slovak town of Pezinok in western Slovakia, the daily SME reported.
Local councillors approved Pezinok as a name for the street due to the good cooperation between the two towns' police schools, which have been in lively contact for five years now.
Every year the schools organize weekly exchange trips for groups of 12 students and eight teachers.
"We have common theoretical topics but different experience as well as legislation," the principal of the secondary police school in Pezinok, Ladislav Dovičovič, said.
The training of Slovak students in Montbéliard is usually held in English and German, depending on which language the given group speaks better.

Explosion in chemical plant

AN EXPLOSION at the Novácke chemické závody (NChZ) chemical plant in Nováky in western Slovakia's Trenčín region on September 29, which injured four people, caused only minor damage and has not affected the local environment, NChZ Chairman Igor Borisek told journalists following the explosion.
The subsequent fire damaged a store containing chemicals, but the disruption caused to production was minimal. Other production facilities remained unaffected, the TASR news agency reported.
The cause of the explosion is as yet unknown. Police are investigating the incident. NChZ said it had asked for expert analysis of the accident.
The fire was extinguished within 20 minutes, and NChZ says that safety precautions were immediately put in place. The area surrounding the plant was monitored, but no contamination was discovered.

NGOs: Slota biggest enemy of information

A GROUP of NGOs declared the mayor of Žilina, Ján Slota, the "biggest enemy of information" as part of their regular INFOčin roka (Info-act of the year) competition.
Slota won the unflattering enemy of information category for his "constant disrespect of the Free Access to Information law", the SITA news agency reported.
Second place went to a less well-known public figure, Mayor Dušan Močko of Brunovce, a village near Piešťany. Močko won first place for the last two years. Third place this year went to the Economy Ministry, formerly led by Pavol Rusko, for ignoring cabinet decrees in connection to the state investment incentives provided to private firms.
The most information-friendly act place went to the village of Semerevo for its public information system developed by local Mayor Imrich Hrobovský and his team using various means of communication to inform locals of municipal activities.

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