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SLOVAK WORD OF THE WEEK

Blesky

SLOVAKS are not easily surprised by a sudden storm. The very first lines of the national anthem describe how “lightning flashes over the Tatras” and “the thunder pounds wildly”. Still, this week brought an unusual amount of news that came like a bolt out of the clear heavens (blesk z jasného neba).

SLOVAKS are not easily surprised by a sudden storm. The very first lines of the national anthem describe how “lightning flashes over the Tatras” and “the thunder pounds wildly”. Still, this week brought an unusual amount of news that came like a bolt out of the clear heavens (blesk z jasného neba).

First, there was Pope Benedict XVI’s decision to resign, which shocked many local Catholics. Not only is this an event you only get to see once in a couple of centuries, but there was also the recent example of the popular John Paul II, who stuck with the job despite serious health problems, reaffirming in many the belief that if God chose you to run the Church, you do not step down. The bolt of lightning that struck St Peter’s cathedral hours after the pope’s announcement seemed to confirm this opinion.

As more temporal affairs go, there was the speedy approval of new rules for public tenders. It was only a week ago that Deputy Prime Minister Ľubomír Vážny mentioned that a hasty change in the legislation may be needed to improve the pace at which European funds are being distributed. On Monday, the cabinet discussed the draft, at which point the public got the first chance to see it. And on Wednesday, the package was approved by parliament. No debate, no room for opposing opinions. You’d almost think these people were running the Vatican.

And then there was the recent return of Matej Valuch from Iranian captivity. The Teheran regime claimed that Valuch was working for the CIA. The Slovak Foreign Affairs Ministry never commented on the issue. And suddenly the man appeared at a press conference in Bratislava. How this was possible and what the real story is, remains as big of a mystery as the pope’s resignation and Smer’s actual plans with the tenders.

You can suspect background deals. Or maybe the Ayatollahs just got scared of Slovak thunder.

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