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THE FUJARA, a Slovak folk wind instrument, along with the music it produces, has been included on a List of Oral and Intangible Human Heritage put together by UNESCO. The fujara is among the 43 new "masterpieces" that the director-general of UNESCO, Koichiro Matsuura, designated as UNESCO heritage items on November 25. Through the list, the characteristic sound of the shepherd's traditional long pipe is preserved and can sing to the world.
photo: Zuzana Habšudová

Slovak prisoners break the rules

MOBILE phones, alcohol and weight-training equipment - all of them banned items - are readily available in at least some Slovak prisons, according to the Nový Čas daily.
The daily acquired the information from a young man who described his life in the Hrnčiarovce nad Parnou prison in western Slovakia's Trnava region, where he spent three years before his recent release.
The interesting thing is that prison officers are fully aware of the presence of these items in the prison cells, wrote the daily.

High Tatras
NGO calls on PM to open dialogue on Tatras

THE NON-GOVERNMEN-TAL organization Naše Tatry (MVNT) is asking Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda to start a public dialogue on how to deal with the situation in the Tatras following the hurricane-force winds that damaged the forested region a year ago.
According to MVNT, the Governmental Committee for Renewal and Development of the High Tatras proceedings have not yet created the scope for such discussion, the TASR news agency reported on November 22. The NGO thinks this is because the committee has not sought the opinions of specialists or responded seriously to requests from specialized institutes in Slovakia.
Representatives of environ-mental organizations under the Ekofórum and MVNT platform are asking Dzurinda to explain who he was talking about when he said that "some people only provoke, create envy and tensions and try to create scandals so that they can be mentioned in the media all the time".
MVNT spokesperson Ľubica Trubíniová told the agency: "These proceedings are against democratic principles that enable people to express themselves if it is from a critical point of view."
She added that the recent conference in Tatranská Lomnica did not create the desired scope for "liberal discussion, which could engage everyone interested".

Youth arrested over Nazi symbols

POLICE in Zvolen charged an 18-year-old youth with supporting and promoting fascism on November 25.
The secondary-school student was arrested in a bar late on November 24 for walking around the premises displaying a red swastika painted on his chest, and with the fascist abbreviation "SS" on his stomach, the TASR news agency wrote.

Swastika-graffiti sprayers arrested

ŽILINA police arrested and charged five youths on November 25 with the crime of promoting movements that suppress citizen's rights, after they sprayed swastikas on the facades of three apartment blocks in Žilina on November 6.
"The youths, aged 15 and 16, sprayed swastikas and slogans such as Clean Soul and Death WC in blue, red and black paint," a Žilina regional police spokesperson told the TASR news agency.
The five, who caused damage worth at least Sk10,000 (€264) to the facades, could face three-year prison sentences for supporting fascism. They were released pending trial.

Police seize extremists' goods

BRATISLAVA police seized clothes and other items promoting extremist movements from a store on November 17. During the swoop, police confiscated 70 T-shirts and 50 sweatshirts with racist slogans and symbols such as "88", and tops featuring a white fist and symbols in runic script.
Police reported finding magazines, belts, photos and CDs expressing racial prejudices, the TASR news agency wrote.
Investigators have charged two Bratislava men, one 28 and the other 36, with promoting neo-Nazism and racism, Bratislava regional police spokesperson Silvia Miháliková said. Both defendants are proprietors of the Bratislava store.
"Anyone convicted of supporting racism, repressing civil rights, or presenting views leading to national or religious conflict will spend one to five years in prison," said Miháliková.
A conviction for a related offence involving an organized unit can carry up to eight years in prison. Investigators are not releasing any further details as the case is still ongoing.

Nationalist leader charged with hate crimes

POLICE have charged Marián Kotleba, the head of the extremist group Slovenská Pospolitosť (Slovak Togetherness/SP-NS) with supporting and promoting movements that suppress the rights and liberties of citizens, police president Anton Kulich told journalists on November 17.
Speaking to journalists in Hodžovo Square in Bratislava, where a gathering of SP-NS sympathizers was supposed to take place, Kulich refused to comment on whether the police had information regarding Kotleba's current whereabouts.
The Old Town authorities banned the SP-NS gathering because of the group's extremist views.
According to Kulich, the relevant authorities have yet to decide whether Kotleba will be taken to custody.
On the previous evening police charged three SP-NS members with an offence.
The accused include SP-NS aide Ján K. He represented the party in communications with the public but, like Kotleba, his exact whereabouts are unknown.
The other two accused are two 19-year-old women who were released by the police from custody but will face prosecution.
Investigators have submitted a proposal to detain Ján K. The accused women and Ján K could face up to eight years in jail if found to have been acting as an organized unit.

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