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November 9, 2010

Former chief of Czechoslovak constitutional court murdered

Former chief of Czechoslovak constitutional court murdered

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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

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Slovak attorney Ernest Valko, 57, was killed yesterday in his house in Limbach near Bratislava.

Montage of locations in Bratislava
Image: Stano Novak, Frettie, Aktron, Gryffindor, Ondrejk, and Tadeáš.Dohňanský.

An unknown man shot Valko once in the heart from several meters away.

The police department dealing with organized crime started investigating the murder. It refused to speculate about any motive. According to today’s statements, neither Valko, nor his colleagues had alerts about any possible attack.

Valko was a member of the Czechoslovakia parliament after the Velvet Revolution, serving as a deputy speaker of the lower house between 1990 and 1991. He made important contributions to key laws including the preamble of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Basic Freedoms.

In 1992, Valko led the Czechoslovak constitutional court since its establishment in April till the dissolution of Czechoslovakia at the end of the year. Since 1993, Valko has worked as an attorney representing prominent figures as well as several state institutions.

Slovak politicians and attorneys spoke about shock from the news and offered their condolences to the Valko’s family.



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July 17, 2010

Fire strikes Slovak Academy of Sciences

Fire strikes Slovak Academy of Sciences – Wikinews, the free news source

Fire strikes Slovak Academy of Sciences

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Slovakia
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Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Patrónka district of Bratislava, where the SAS Virology Institute is located

The Virology Institute of the Slovak Academy of Sciences (SAS) in Bratislava was severely damaged by fire. The flames reportedly reached as high as one hundred meters. The fire most likely started from the gas tank used for oxy-fuel welding during the building’s restoration process, SAS speaker Viera Rosová said.

Firefighters from all Bratislava fire-stations took part in the fire-fighting operation. The situation was complicated by dense smoke, necessitating the use of gas masks.

Thanks to a quick evacuation of SAS employees and construction workers, none were injured. However, some equipment of the top-level scientific facility was damaged and various research projects will be affected as well, Rosová admitted. The “software unit containing information of incalculable value” was rescued in time, reports say.

There is no danger of toxic spills or leak of viruses. The micro-biotic organisms studied in the institute are safely stored and infected animals were not held in this building. The institute owns about two thousand animals. The virology samples will be destroyed as the coolers went out of service after the power supply was cut for security reasons during fire-fighting. The SAS vice-chairman Albert Beier estimated the value of the cooler boxes to be close to two million Euros. “They often contain a life-long work of our researchers,” he added.



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October 22, 2009

US Defense Secretary Gates to seek extra aid for Afghanistan

US Defense Secretary Gates to seek extra aid for Afghanistan

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

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US Defense Secretary Robert Gates flew to Slovakia on Wednesday, to ask NATO defense ministers to help the United States respond to the request for more resources made by the US and NATO commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal.

Gates told reporters on his aircraft that he believed it makes sense to have these talks now, because he said the effort to stabilize and develop Afghanistan is a NATO mission, not just one for the US.

“This is an alliance issue and my view all along has been we ought to do this in a way that if General McChrystal has an additional set of needs, it should not be looked upon as exclusively the responsibility of the United States to respond,” the defense secretary remarked.

Gates said that since the NATO summit last spring he has seen “more energy and more commitment” among NATO nations to doing what is necessary to succeed in Afghanistan. He described current consultations with NATO allies as “intense.” General McChrystal says the allied effort could fail to prevent a militant takeover in Afghanistan unless he is given more resources. In a secret request, he is believed to be asking for 40,000 or more additional troops, on top of 68,000 U.S. and nearly 40,000 coalition troops already there. President Barack Obama is expected to decide on any additional US deployment soon.

Gates added that he wanted his NATO counterparts to consider what additional commitments they can also make to help reverse gains made by the Taliban and similar groups in recent years.

“My hope is that we can have a serious discussion about how things have changed in Afghanistan since last spring, and a way forward in which the alliance can share these responsibilities and work with the Afghan government to move the situation in a more positive direction,” he said.

But the secretary noted that all contributions to the Afghanistan effort do not have to be military. He said he headed for Bratislava with a “menu of options” for allies to consider, and that much of the capability General McChrystal wanted is not controversial, such as civilian assistance, training, and financing for development projects.

Speaking early on Thursday during a visit to South Korea, Gates also welcomed the decision to hold a runoff to decide the Afghan presidential election, saying all nations involved have an interest in a smooth process to provide the winning candidate with as much legitimacy as possible.

“I think virtually all of the nations that increased their troop presence to provide security for the elections in August have kept those forces there and so are in a position to try and, along with their Afghan Army and police counterparts, provide as good a security as possible for the [runoff] elections,” he said.

Gates, however, noted that will not end problems of corruption and weak governance in Afghanistan. He said the international community will still have much work to do with any new government in Kabul to provide the kind of stability, security and services that will have a chance of convincing the Afghan people to support the government, rather than the militants of the Taliban and al-Qaida.



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