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December 2010

Let’s ask our authorities for responsibility, we mustn’t be quiet
A gateway to the Slovak Paradise
An Italian Chef in Spiš
The Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood
Reduction of constitutional power of the Judicial Council
Opinion of Sergey Lavrov
In the Same Boat
The CIA: A Law Unto Itself
The Decline and Fall of the American Empire (Part I)
Hungary will chair the European Union since January 2011. What priorities do you think Viktor Orbán will pursue?
Let´s give Jesus back to Christmas
“ Father, forgive them s they do not know what they are doing.”
Medieval Cancer and Miracle of Trnava
She wants to play very well
A New House for Pilis Slovaks in Hungary
The construction of a new Slovak house, The Centre of Pilis Slovaks, continues in Mlynky ((Pilisszentkereszt).
Aliens will once return
Imaginative World of Ingrid Zemančíková
He has never regretted changing for Real

 
Editorial
Let’s ask our authorities for responsibility, we mustn’t be quiet
 
The questions have predominantly a practical goal. It means that they respond to problems of the era and search for a way to their solution. No everyone is able to resist the entire society and its so often unrecognized state and church authorities if one gets the conviction that they are doing something what is definitely to be morally condemned. Let’s remember the present struggle for a new general prosecutor. As soon as the citizen gets to the conviction that from the human point of view, the entire chaos concerning his election is more than unacceptable, he should not hesitate to raise against it and ask for his cancellation because it is a moral duty to be against such violence being committed (It does not necessarily have to be physical violence but violation against the laws).
If I think about the lack of rationalism regarding events happening around us and about courage to stand up his conviction, it is impossible to keep silent. It is necessary to respond wisely and critically. The biggest deficit of judgement, however, appears due to lack of our believe in humanistic values. And what do I mean with it? I mean that humanists can be seen in the appeal for critic of all what is not suitable from the humanistic and human points of view even though they were the most precious fetishes of the era such as money and power. Or current capitalism that declares itself as the best of all possible social and economic formations at present. There is also a newly appearing threat of dictation. However, are present Slovak intellectuals worth the value of humanists´ legacy?
Aren’t they ruled by the fear from “authorities” or clerks´ worries about a job?
If we do understand the legacy of humanists at least as a challenge to critical thinking and commenting on problems of present times, mainly to ask questions. To admit unclearness means confess ourselves that we do not know what we are supposed to. So only that person asks questions who refuse existence of absolute and given truths. And we can ask only if we allow the existence of these truths and the supreme absolute good but also we admit that we do not have any privileged approach as these truths and good are not provided continuously and immediately. We are always dependent on our imperfect knowledge.
We should admit that we can ask only if these truths are “the possession” of an authority that is supervising us (a general prosecutor, a police president, a minister of interior). Then we should not ask what the truth is and what is not (even though we would like to know) but what a particular “authority” claims. In other words, we ask so that the “authority” achieved recognition of being an authority.
The first presumption of asking questions is elementary freedom of thinking and explaining. What it is supposed to be is always the expression of our own value position. It is supposed that we evaluate and we do that because we identify ourselves with some values, in our case humanistic. Let’s admit that the subject of our questions is really something like moral poverty, social suppression and injustice in the Slovak society.
If we sum it up, we can think that humanistic approach not only towards the questions of present but also about life in general they connect a power of personality with free- mind thinking, humanistic values and believe in better future- of course, here on earth, in our Slovak country.
Having compared with very optimistic forecast from the beginning of the 1990s, it is now obvious that we are moving to another phase of dramatic human history. However, its problem is the development of democracy but also its preservation itself. Mostly we face these topics and we feel helpless. The problem is not only that “the authorities” do not have any reasonable answers to our questions but they do not even admit their moral duty that tells them to search for answers to our questions. Reasons of this reality root in varied development of present global civilization that does directly concern us. I mean predominantly vanishing of the vision of the common future and even human solidarity itself as a consequence of something what has remained as remains of communistic ideology. Our willingness disappears in financial privileged groups and thus contributes to renewal of believe in human inequality.
A specific cause of this acting is that we have not critically recovered from communistic personal past. Instead of critical analysis of the essence if the system, another ideological cliché appears that in many cases accepts practices from communistic ideological past and they are adored as principles of democracy. Uncritical analysis of communistic ideology of the past leads to discreditation of human solidarity in the same way as proving wrongness of the thesis concerning decisive power task of people in democracy that discredits the core of democracy and humanistic legacy. This is not typical only for Slovakia but in all post- communistic states. Slovak specification is in its exceeded extend and expression and its sense and thus it hinders renewal of believe in possibilities of further emancipation progress not only of a Slovak nation but also mankind in general.
I assume that it is the time to ask for responsibility of those “authorities” without authority (and those general, minister and MP´s). Regarding them as holders of final truth, there is, however, another problem- self-reflection because their proclamations and sticking up to the final “truth” is valid only at the expanse of oppressing critic. In each such relationship, there is violence and authoritative environment present, which doubts its demand for truth and power. Finally, it is time to approach towards this responsibility they declare and conclude consequences.   
And if we admit existence of contradictory approaches and value codes, many Slovak politicians rely on (at least in a rhetoric way) citizens. They often share the ideas concerning their own predestination and extraordinary nature that gives them right to lead this state into a capitalistic “paradise” and it often happens against the will of the nation.
Dr. Vladimír Šotter, a President of the National Institute of Francois Marie Voltaire    
 
Young Personality
A gateway to the Slovak Paradise
The Hotel Metropol would like to stimulate the development of cultural, gastronomic congress tourism in Lower Spiš. It is a „ basic camp“for domestic and foreign business travellers, the Gothic Route and exploring natural beauties and unique historical sights.
 
Róbert Matejovič
Photo: Jozef Veselý, the archive of the company Hotel Metropol, a.s.
 
Domestic guests, Slovak and foreign tourists and business travellers have begun to return to a three- star town hotel Metropol in Spišská Nová Ves, which focuses mostly on business clients. Not only new investments in modernization of the hotel infrastructure carried out by the major owner but also young managers are trying to get the hotel out of stagnation within tourism having significantly been influenced by economic recession and financial crisis. The team of young managers is managed by a young and modest director of the hotel, Zuzana Kniesnerová, who is also the chairwoman of the Board of Directors of the stock- joint company Hotel Metropol.
 
Mrs Kniesnerová, you have been a director of the hotel for 11 months. What were your visions when you were assigned this post?
The Hotel Metropol like the town of Spšská Nová Ves is a gateway to the magnificent Slovak Paradise and its national park that belongs to one of the most beautiful and attractive places in Slovakia. Around thirty kilometres from our hotel, there are the High Tatras, the airport in Poprad, a motorway from Prešov to Košice, historical towns of Levoča and Kežmarok, Spiš Castle, Spišská Kapitula, skiing resorts of Plejsy, Poráč and Rittenberg. Our ambition is to become a heart of Lower Spiš and a leader in offers and high standard services within accommodation, wellness, and congress, cultural and gastronomic tourism.
 
You had never worked in this business. Didn’t you perceive it as disadvantage, were you not afraid of accepting such an offer and enter the complicated world of various relations and problems in a small town that struggles with the development of cultural, entertaining and gastronomic tourism?
I accepted this offer to work in hotel industry as any other offers within management and business. I used to sell metallurgical material before. It is a field of hard and tough male business where it was necessary to fight and pursue with “cold goods.” I have blood of a businesswoman circulating in my body that is why I view a hotel like a kind of business.
I have always been fascinated by working with people. Desire to create conditions for people to relax after demanding workday while being away from home- it was a great challenge for me. At first, I was worried what the reaction of domestic people would be like as I, as a young manager, entered their territory. Immediately, I surrounded by people who accepted me and perceived me like a positive change in a stagnating but for them very important hotel.
In a short time, I learnt about the relationships in the town and offers on the market. What was the most important? The approach to domestic people – I kept smiling with great enthusiasm and openness I tries to achieve the right place among them.
 
What was the most difficult for you? Overcoming rigid mentality of people or search for new creative people in my team?
I think so. And results can prove that people in the hotel team accepted me as someone who will improve hotel services to higher standard. However, first changes proved that I did not come here to relax but that I wanted to show them modern managerial and marketing thinking. In my proposal I use experience from the point of view of the hotel guest. I know how the client thinks, what he or she needs, what cannot be missing in the hotel room, what details can put them off and make them fed up if he or she requires the highest comfort and high standard of services.
I encountered rigid way of thinking in gastronomy. Our restaurant premises had been rented by October 2010. As the hotel without its own restaurant would be like a human body without a heart, we changed our philosophy. We pay attention to quality of the hotel restaurant without which we would not be able to provide complex hotel services. Every hotel must work as a healthy human body. Any hesitation in the field of gastronomy would ruin any our attempts and would move us a few years back.
I am glad that we managed to hire and now we cooperate with a reputable chef of Italian cuisine who helps to develop delicious Slovak and Italian cuisine. Of course, we are still struggling with a lack of young creative people who would like to work in this sphere and they keep smiling.
 
What was your first decision like?  
I am not a theoretician but a practical person. When I accepted an offer I said I would create and would not make up various theories and marketing plans or analysis. My first decision was about the decrease in prices for hotel accommodation. I traced our competitors in Lower Spiš. Based on the analysis, we decided to decrease prices for accommodation by 30% (for example to 33, 30 Euro for a single room and 43, 60 Euro for a standard double room) and suddenly the hotel became livelier. This decrease of prices helped us compete other hotels successfully and thus break through stagnation in terms of use of hotel capacities. I am delighted our figures are getting better.
 
Your hotel suffers from a long-termed use of its capacities (in 2009, it reach 24% only) and negative economic balance. What are the trends characterizing the hotel at the end of the year 2010?
We are just at the beginning of a very demanding period; we cannot expect miracles as the crisis in tourism has not finished yet. We are glad that groups of Austrian and German pensioners began to return to our hotel. They made our hotel as a “basic camp” for exploring the Gothic Route, cultural and historical sights in the town and the entire region. Domestic guests, Slovak and foreign tourists and business travellers have begun to return, which has positive influence on higher use of the hotel. Our restaurant and wellness centre show positive trends as well. These results are the respond to comfortable conditions that we create and provide not only for our hotel guests and business travellers but also for the citizens of the city.
 
What have you managed to change and purse more significantly?
Modernization of infrastructure of the hotel. Its sense is to be able to face strong competition in the region where the client chooses where to accommodate and mostly prefers comfort. We invested in building a wellness centre, reconstructed 20 rooms, a restaurant and a café. Next year, we will continue in modernization of the entrance part of the hotel (the reception) and a congress hall. Some rooms have remained in its original state so that we were able to offer good price for agro- tourism that has been a great contribution to our hotel this year.
 
The town of Spišská Nová Ves is the co- owner of the hotel (41, 82%). How do you cooperate with the city management? Do they use their hotel, restaurant and congress services of your hotel?
 Major shareholders are interested in purchasing shares of the town. The hotel needs further reconstruction and the town lack funds to rebuild the hotel. The negotiations are just being held, and we think that there is an attempt to reach an agreement between the town and the shareholders of the hotel. We are doing our best so that the hotel becomes the centre of social, cultural and relaxing life of the town. The main goal of our company is to make its representatives and the citizens proud of services our hotel will be offering.
 
The wellness centre is a pride of the hotel. You offer it to all, hotel guests, firms, private groups as well as those who suffer from problems with movement, allergies, asthma, breathing apparatus or just escape from everyday stress. Is it still the biggest wellness centre in Lower Spiš?
Yes, it is. We opened it a year ago and it is available to general public as well as to the hotel guests. The admission to the wellness centre is included in the price of accommodation for the hotel guests. There are five kinds of saunas, relaxing Jacuzzi, cooling pool, ice well, three kinds of massage showers, heated beds and a communication space with relaxing zones. We also offer qualified masseur’s services.
 
Who is Ing. Zuzana Kniesnerová
She was born in Veľký Krtíš (1980). She studied at the University of Economics, at the Faculty of Business Economics with a seat in Košice, the specialization economics and enterprise management focusing on management and marketing. She mostly focuses on management of economic processes in enterprises and for creation and management of marketing activities. Between the years 2006 and 2009, she worked as a trade manager for the company Metales, a.s., the member of the group Montan Voss Group GmbH. She also worked for the companies like Slovak International Tabak, T- Mobile and Tempus Bavaria. She has been a director and the chairwoman of the board of directors of the company Hotel Metropol, a.s. Spišská Nová Ves since January 2010.
 
 The Hotel Metropol offers its clients comfortable accommodation in 18 spacious (40m2) standard single and double rooms, in two rooms for disabled people with an extra bed, in 20 newly reconstructed (De Luxe) double rooms and three apartments (Standard). The overall capacity of the hotel is 138 beds. Rooms are with an en-suite bathroom with a bath and toilet, LCD TV with a satellite, a telephone, an alarm clock, a fridge and some rooms have an Internet access. The apartments consist of a separate bedroom, a living room and a vestibule. Admission to the wellness centre, continental breakfast, Internet access and parking is for free for the hotel guests.
The hotel is an ideal place for organizing congresses, seminars, trainings, courses of various characters, presentations, workshops, receptions of firms, balls, family celebrations, wedding receptions, prom nights and many other social events in the congress hall, the restaurant, and the winter garden and in a salon.
 
Successful
An Italian Chef in Spiš
“I fell in love with Slovakia. I know that you were hindered by communism. I would like to give Slovaks what I experienced in Italy as a child. I do not intend to change the system; I want you to know experiences from the Italian Cuisine. So you do not have to travel to Italy, just come to my restaurant, you will tell me what you would like and I will prepare it for you. “
 
Róbert Matejovič
Photo: Jozef Veselý
 
Since October 2010, a new hit of the Hotel Metropol in Spišská Nová Ves is Pietro Pagano, a chef of Italian cuisine with international experience. His 54- year- old- outstanding chef is trying to help the hotel to extend its Slovak gastronomic offer by the most delicious specialities of Italian cuisine that is based on fresh ingredients, mainly fish, grilled meat and pasta. His menu also contains soups, starters, salads, pasta, seafood and various desserts. You will be shown a live lobster at your table s well.
 
Why is kind-hearted and reputable Pietro Pagano, who used to be a chef in the kitchen on a luxurious boat Costa Crosire, sailing across the Mediterranean Sea, in Spiš and not in the USA or Italy?
 
Family is worth more than 10,000 USD a month
The reason is love, well, to be more precise, his wife who was born in Spišská Nová Ves, and his three children. “I met my wife, whom I still love very much, in Germany a few years ago when she was only nineteen. I was 37 at that time. We worked together in the same hotel, I was a chef and she was a waitress. We got engaged and five years later, we got married in Naples, “Pietro remembers.
“ I came to Slovakia because of the future of my children. If I was only interested in money, surely I would not have refused a recent offer from the USA. They were offering me a job of a chef with the salary of 10,000 dollars per month. However, I really care for my family and children. I am satisfied in Slovakia, our children go to school here. There are more options how to live a good life. Life is not nice only if you live in luxury, but if you have to live it every day, “he adds.
 
He worked only in Italian restaurants
He used to play football, he was a talented halfback and at the age of sixteen he was nominated to the national team of Italy. However, his promising career was ended dup by a serious knee injury. He was trained a chef in Sorrento, in a popular tourist centre. He began working in Naples, in a prestigious restaurant Zi Teresa. “I worked there for seven years; I was improving my skills to become a better chef. Then I travelled to Miami, Florida. I always worked in Italian restaurants, also on the Island of Saint Margarita in Venezuela, in Hamburg, in Austrian skiing resorts, in London and in Paris, “he comments on his life of a traveller. For three years, he worked in Italy as a supervisor of kitchens and gastronomic facilities in operations of the hotel chain Marriott. As he told me, he might return to Italy when his children grow up and become independent.
 
 “He brought a kind of fish“
Many guests, managers and personal friends, Italians, Germans and Brazilians who work in companies in Spišská Nová Ves come to taste Pietro´s Italian cuisine in the Hotel Metropol. Pietro does not offer them a menu. He comes to the table and asks what they would like to have. And if they tell him, for example, they would like a beef steak or pork meat or fresh fish, he prepares a meal according to their wishes. Sometimes they just tell him: “Pietro, make us a delicious meal and bring some fish. “
Salmon with cherry tomatoes, green pepper and courgettes, pasta with prawns, octopuses and mussels, steak with courgettes and aubergine, fillets, cuttlefish, calamari, fresh tuna or swordfish with grilled vegetables... The chef can recommend and prepare starters and main courses as he was used to in Italy. He does not prepare anything in advance, he does not like working with frozen ingredients, he prepares dishes using just fresh ingredients. “Italian cuisine is endless, I work with fantasy. I really enjoy cooking; I am a good and creative chef. I like preparing meals live, I like inventing them the best, “he says.
 
Halushky with fish?
Have you got used to Slovak meals, how do you evaluate them? I ask. “Yes, I really like Slovak cuisine, I love it but I have to say that dishes are very rich and fat. I am trying to make it lighter. I offer Slovak meals but I combine them with Italian fantasy. I enjoy using extra virgin olive oil. Surely I will offer more fish and pasta. Slovaks should eat fish more often. I can, for example, imagine Slovak halushky (a kind of dumplings or gnocchi made of potatoes) with fish, “he explains his plan. And what is his favourite Italian meal? “Anything with fish. And Slovak? „ Koložvárska kapusta... (It’s a mixture of rice, meat and cabbage, baked together and topped with cream) “.     
 
Photo report
The Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood
 
Róbert Matejovič
Photo: the author
 
This unique Orthodox Church situated in the historical centre of the city belongs to the most beautiful buildings in Petersburg. Its construction near the Griboedov Canal took 24 years (1883- 1907). This Church was built on the site where Tsar Alexander II was fatally injured on March 1, 1883. He was a popular emperor who became famous thanks to some reforms and deeds. He established the State Bank of the Russian Empire, he sold Alaska to Americans (in spring 1867 for 7.2 million USD- a hectare per 5 cents), in 1861, he cancelled serfdom (It was cancelled in the Hungarian Kingdom in 1785), he gave Finland wide autonomy, he violently suppressed the Polish National Uprising (1863), defeated Turks, cancelled censorship, order obligatory military service, mandatory school attendance and state religion (Orthodox), implemented the system of regional and local self- administration and city councils. Thanks to his emancipation reform (cancellation of serfdom) he was given the name Alexander the Liberator. After his assassination, he was called Alexander the Martyr.
 
Narodnaja Volja, a radical anarchistic organization, had been fighting against Tsar’s regime since 1879 by individual terrorist attacks on important personalities. After eight unsuccessful attempts to assassinate Tsar, including the explosion in the Winter Palace (in 1880 when they built dynamite into the floor in the dinning room), three anarchists (Ignacy Hryniewiecki, Ivan Jemeljanov a Nikolaj Rysakov) were waiting for Tsar’s carriage on the bridge over the river Neva. As he was known to do every Sunday for many years, the Tsar went to the Manezh to review the Life Guards. He travelled both to and from the Manezh in a closed carriage accompanied by six Cossacks with a seventh sitting on the coachman's left. The Tsar's carriage was followed by two sleighs carrying, among others, the chief of police and the chief of the Tsar’s guards. The route, as always, was via the Catherine Canal and over the Pevchesky Bridge. First they threw a bomb hidden in Easter cake. It blew up under the carriage and killed a few Cossacks and surrounding people and Tsar’s face was wounded too. When he was getting off the carriage to see wounded people, the anarchist threw another bomb right at his feet. And that one was fatal, Tsar died in his palace three hours later. There were a lot of serfs praying for him by his windows...
 
The construction of the magnificent church built in Old Russian style in 1883 under religious Alexander III, as a memorial to his father. (5,000 churches and many church schools were built during his reign). It is 81 meters high and 1,600 people would fit in it. Funding was provided by entire Russia. The Church contains over 7500 square metres of mosaics by which 30 artists decorated in interior for 10 years.
From October 1930, the city bodies ordered to close the church down and it was being plundered continuously. Mosaics and precious icons were damaged. The city wanted to demolish the church for a few times. It was used as a storage place for vegetables, potatoes and onions for over 20 years. After a long-termed reconstruction, it was opened to public in 1997. The first liturgy was served there on 23 May, 2004.
 
Justice
Reduction of constitutional power of the Judicial Council
Judicial Councils as the bodies of judicial self- administration occur again in the position of an advisory body as majority of its members in the selection committees will be nominated by the minister and the parliament. Slovakia is moving backwards before the year 2001.
 
Róbert Matejovič
Photo: Jozef Veselý
 
In the second hearing, the Slovak Parliament passed the amendment of the law no. 385/ 200 on judges and lay judges that are followed by the amendment of the law on courts. According to the Judicial Council of the SR, amended laws significantly interferes present architecture of judicial power, change positions of judges, establish essential conceptual changes in the organization of judiciary by which balanced adjustment passed by consensus of political powers and judges based on long term legislative preparation between the years 1999 and 2003 are cancelled. We asked JUDr. Juraj Sopoliga, a member and a spokesman of the Judicial Council of the Slovak Republic, for his professional opinion on some legislative changes that have been pursued by the governmental coalition and by Lucia Žitňanská, a Minister of Justice, in order to “ open justice to the public and public control.”
 
Mr Sopoliga, since September 2010, we have been witnessing a struggle between the Judicial Council of the SR and the minister of justice concerning further character of independence of judiciary. How did the Ministry of Justice and the Constitutional Legal Committee of the National Council of the SR communicate in terms of creating and commenting governmental proposals of amendments of laws on judges and courts?
They enabled us to state our objections only during the session of the Constitutional Legal Committee on November 30, 2010. The Judicial Council submitted its comments to the Ministry of Justice within the marking up procedure on September 1č, 2010. On September 15, 2010, during the bank holiday, the ministry sent the Judicial Council an invitation for the negotiation on September 16, 2010, which the Judicial Council learnt on that day, early in the morning. Obviously, the Judicial Council did not manage to ensure appropriate participant of appointed members at the Marking up procedure and that is why it did not take part in. The Council asked for another day, however, it was not set up. I do not consider this approach as a serious towards the constitutional body that represents the independence of judiciary and it has the right to make a statement regarding changes of laws concerning judiciary.
 
How do you evaluate the contents of the passed amendment of the law on the Judicial Council of the SR that President Ivan Gašparovič returned back for re- negotiating? Minister Žitňanská attempted to implement in it confliction of the post of the member of the Judicial Council with the post of the chairman of the court if the chairperson of the court is an elected judge for the member of the Judicial Council…
Mr President did not agree with the contents of some discordant legal conclusions of the Judicial Council and returned the law back to the parliament for re- negotiating. Consequently, the parliament changed the law in the part concerning confliction of the post of the chairman of the court and a member of the Judicial Council elected by judges and thus the parliament accepted Mr President’s statement.
 
Passed government amendment of the law on judges and lay judges cancels the status of a judicial trainee. Judicial trainees consider this way of cancelling their status as unconstitutional. What is the opinion of the Judicial Council?
The Judicial Council considers the cancellation of the status of a judicial trainee as a violation of the principle of the legal assurance as well as the international documents, mainly the European Charter on the Statute for Judges (point 2.2, 2.3 of the Charter) which adjust the qualifications and previous experience and practice which ensures ability to carry out special judge’s post.
Passed amendment has cancelled almost a hundred year long practice of preparation of judicial trainees who had to pass a few- year- long training at each section of administration of judiciary within their preparation. A higher judicial clerk, who is supposed to replace the judicial trainee, was conceptually implemented in judiciary based on the knowledge and experience coming from the countries of West Europe. As a so-called assistant of a judge helps the judge in decision making process (According to the article 142 paragraph 2 amendment of the Constitution of the SR). However, higher judicial clerks are not being prepared for the post of a judge and they carry out so called assistant activities for the judge just at a particular section of judiciary performance. Regarding this situation, it is not possible to claim that they will be able to give appropriate and good performance as judges as long as they know just a limited part of decision making procedure. The Judicial Council considers the approved change as unconstitutional due to the current judicative of the Constitutional Court of the SR. Regarding the contents, it has stated for a few times that criteria of material legal state are not fulfilled when breaching the principle of legal security as a citizen is obliged to trust in fact that no right given by law will be ablated from him. And just this amendment ablates judicial trainees their by law given right to be appointed a judge for a vacant place in the court after having gone through demanding selection procedure for a judicial trainee, preparation training and a very demanding judicial examination.
 
Which international documents do the present governmental and legislative interference into a legal change of education and training of judges and the position of the Judicial Academy contradict?
The European Commission, in its announcement to the European Parliament and the Council from June 29, 2006 on judicial training in the European Union clearly stated that “passing the Treaty of Amsterdam, where a new goal was clearly set up- creation of the “space of freedom and security and justice,” judicial education got an entirely new dimension. The need to educate specialists in the judicial field at a high level has existed in the EU for a long time because the right implementation of law of the Community is mostly based on national judicial systems. Good knowledge in the field has been inevitable for judges, prosecutors and solicitors in order to apply legal guidelines of the Community and entire respect of basic liberties adjudicated by the Treaty.”
The European Commission also states that “the improvement in the field of judicial cooperation is since now the aim necessary to be achieved and judicial training is its inevitable tool.” It adds that “important passing the collection of legal guidelines that had to be applied by specialists in the area of justice on the one hand and the development of the principle of mutual recognition mostly based on mutual trust among judicial systems of the member states on the other hand, make judicial education and training an important issue.”
It was also approved by the Council of the European Union in the Resolution of the Council and of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States meeting within the Council on the training of judges, prosecutors and judicial staff in the European Union (2008/ C 299/ 01). In its first point it states: “When organising training for judges, prosecutors and judicial staff (such as assistants, law-clerks and registrars), without prejudice to judicial independence or different judicial organisations in the European Union, Member States should adhere to the guidelines set out below.“ These guidelines are designed to achieve the general aims such as to promote, through appropriate training, the application of European law by judges, prosecutors and judicial staff, in a way which is in keeping with the fundamental rights and principles recognised in Article 6 of the Treaty on European Union and reflected in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.
 
The amendment cancelled the current competence of the Judicial Council to submit an independent statement to the proposal of the judiciary budget which the government submits as a part of the national budget. How does this change influence independence of justice?
The statues before passing this amendment used to be a legislative solution and it fulfilled also present recommendation of the Venice Commission from March 2010, which say about the competence of the Judicial Council to communicate directly with the parliament when creating the judiciary budget. Approved change entitles the Judicial Council to make a statement not on the proposal of the budget having been submitted to the parliament but just to financial limit for judiciary that is set up by the government without any criteria. In other words, the Judicial Council will be unable to present its idea concerning financial demands in order to ensure operation of independent judiciary in direct communication with the parliament.
 
Interference into the independence of justice is the change in the structure of member in five- member selection committees that choose candidates for the posts of judges and a chairman of courts. So far, there was a majority of representatives of judiciary (four members) and executive power, i.e. the ministry of justice, had just one representative. The amendment changed this ratio so that two members will be chosen by the ministry of justice, one member by the parliament, and one by both the Judicial Council and the Council of Judges…
The change in the structure of the selection committees that will mostly consist of political nominates is against the requirement of Recommendation the Council of Europe (No. R (94) 12) on inevitable condition of independence of the body responsible for selection by both government and state administration. This selection changes the principle according to which the institution responsible for selection and decision- making procedure of judges must be independent from the government and the state administration. There has never been a reason to set up different relations among the bodies of court administration and judicial self-administration bodies.
 
Minister Žitňanská and the government believe that this change will strengthen public civic control of the judicial power in judge selection procedures, the judge of a judge of a higher court, any higher judge post and the post of the chairperson of the court…
This change creates real space for politization of justice as the opinions of representatives of the judicature and public are not taken into consideration, just politicians´ according to the actual political situation. According to this change, political power, especially the minister of justice, will influence selection of majority of members of the selection committee. Judicature will thus lose its competence to select the chairperson of the court while respecting the rule that the chairperson of the court is the primus interpares. This enables to create unacceptable politization, so in the future, the judges, who have constitutional prohibition on any political activities, can be accused of being political and supporting a political party, or a minister of justice by whom they have been given the mandate for the chairperson of the court.
It is not possible to proclaim this approved solution as opening of justice to the public and civic control of the judicial power because the representatives of public are chosen by the minister only. The amendment of the law does not change the mechanism about what kind of persons the minister is entitled to nominate in the selection committee and what criteria they have to meet. There is no possibility to find out qualifications and moral qualities of these people. However, a new question comes up: whether proposed people will not be dependent on other subjects (for example the third sector from their donors) due to which, they can be directed by undetectable interests by unknown subjects. Taking over the assignment that though his/ her nominates the minister will make decisions on establishing a post of a judge, on a career promotion of a judge, selection of the chairperson of the court regardless opinions of representatives of judicature is strictly against the assurance of independence of judiciary in the most delicate and important personal field by which the judicial power subordinates the executive power. This solution is unacceptable politization of justice in the state of law.
 
Passed amendment of the law on judges obliges the Judicial Council to choose a judge for carrying out the post according to the selection procedure. Does the Judicial Council agree with this change?
No, it does not and it considers it as unconstitutional. The amendment of the law oversees that the Constitution delegated submission of proposals for appointing a judge and decision- making on assigning and changing a judge just to the Judicial Council.
In this constitutional body, decisions are made based on the decision made by at least ten members. By this change, the lawmaker reduces their constitutional right to decide independently about whether to submit a president a proposal for appointing a particular candidate a judge.
Decision made by one representative of the Judicial Council in the selection committee must not oblige other members to make a decision in contradiction with their opinion. It is the same about obligation of opinions of other members of the selection committee. Legally, it would mean reduction of constitutional competence of each member of the Judicial Council to make decisions independently.
Appointing to carrying out a post at a particular court is just a consequential act. The amendment of the law, unreasonably, pays attention to appointing judges “based on results of the selection procedure.” The condition for the appointment to the particular court is an agreement of a candidate with particular assignment already before submitting the proposal for appointment. However, the submitter of the amendment of the law and the members of the coalition had obviously overlooked the fact that the proposal of appointing a judge can the Judicial Council submit to the president only if the way of selection procedure, its evaluation and result will be acceptable to such an extend that the Judicial Council will have no doubts about the candidate for the appointment.
Nevertheless, the Judicial Council is and will be not, according to the article 141a paragraph 4 letters a) and b) of the Constitution, cannot be just a postman between the selection committee and the president of the republic. It is an essential conceptual difference of viewing the government and the minister of justice on the duties and responsibilities and constitutional status of the Judicial Council.
 
Does the amendment of the law on court administration obstruct the competences of the Judicial Councils in the field of personnel as the number of its representatives taking part in selection procedures for judges and the chairperson of courts?
The Judicial Councils lose most of their competences based on possibility to participate, through its members in selection procedures for the posts of judges and the chairperson of the court, i.e. to participate efficiently in managing and administration of a court as it is supposed in the reasonable report on a proposal of the constitutional law no. 90/ 2001, the collection of laws (the purpose observed by the constitutional body).
Judicial Councils as bodies of judicial self- administration occur in the position of a advisory body as the majority of members in selection committees will be nominated by the ministry of justice and the parliament (three out of five). Thus we move backwards before the year 2001 when the amendment of the Constitution of the SR expressly implemented that the bodies of the judicial self- administration have to take part in managing and administration of court significantly. The reason of this constitutional change as stated in the reasonable report on the proposal of the amendment of the Constitution appoint 82), was to cancel negative status that the bodies of the judicial self- administration had been just advisory bodies whose opinion had not had to be taken into consideration by the executive power. In November 1997, the mission of the experts of the European Commission from the section of judiciary pointed out the fact that the basic problem of independence of judiciary of those days in Slovakia was “non- existence of judicial self- administration and its entire dependence on executive power. If we had not disposed those conceptual mistakes, Slovakia could not have been integrated in the European Union…
 
What are your comments on implementing the news that the selection committee can choose a candidate for a judge of the district, county and Supreme Courts of the SR career promotion in judiciary?
It is utterly unacceptable. Thus a Recommendation of the Committee of the Ministers of the Council of Europe (R94 (12). It regulates the need to implement firm and defined structure of the career promotion which is supposed to enable capable judges (Principle III point 1 c) based on the criteria of quality an results achieved by carrying out judge’s duties through the objective evaluation ( In practice, evaluations mainly by appealing senate). It is required in the point 4.1 of the European Charter of the Status of Judges. Excluding of career promotion with such evaluation of the basic criteria on the possibility of promotion of a judge to the higher court creates conditions for significant decrease in quality of decision making processes. Whilst present legal change creates conditions for establishing the post of a judge and people who are significant personalities in the legal field.
Concerning this fact, it is not conceptual to exclude the possibility of a temporary appointment of a judge to the higher court. It is almost a fifty- year tradition (Since 1918) that has proved itself as the best means for finding out professional and personal presumptions for carrying out the post at the higher court based on the knowledge learnt right from carrying out judiciary at the higher court. Can you imagine that a doctor, for example a gynaecologist of a county hospital would become, without any preparation, a specialist at the neurosurgery ward at the university hospital?                   
   
Opinion of Sergey Lavrov
In the Same Boat
On the one hand, they asserted that Russia was a partner, and on the other they sort of hinted that Russia might be a problem in the security field.
 
Abroad
The CIA: A Law Unto Itself
Its representatives lied to Congress and withheld evidence from investigators to evade responsibility. The punishment?
 
Survey
The Decline and Fall of the American Empire (Part I)
By 2020, according to current plans, the Pentagon will throw a military Hail Mary pass for a dying empire. It will launch a lethal triple canopy of advanced aerospace robotics. By that year, however, China's global network of communications satellites, backed by the world's most powerful supercomputers, will also be fully operational, providing Beijing with an independent platform for the weaponization of space and a powerful communications system for missile- or cyber-strikes into every quadrant of the globe.
 
Alfred W. McCoy (the J.R.W. Smail Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is the author of A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, From the Cold War to the War on Terror, The Nation)
Titles: Dimenzie
 
A soft landing for America 40 years from now? Don’t bet on it. The demise of the United States as the global superpower could come far more quickly than anyone imagines. If Washington is dreaming of 2040 or 2050 as the end of the American Century, a more realistic assessment of domestic and global trends suggests that in 2025, just 15 years from now, it could all be over except for the shouting.
 
Despite the aura of omnipotence most empires project, a look at their history should remind us that they are fragile organisms. So delicate is their ecology of power that, when things start to go truly bad, empires regularly unravel with unholy speed: just a year for Portugal, two years for the Soviet Union, eight years for France, 11 years for the Ottomans, 17 years for Great Britain, and, in all likelihood, 22 years for the United States, counting from the crucial year 2003.
 
Invasion of Iraq -the start of America's downfall
Future historians are likely to identify the Bush administration’s rash invasion of Iraq in that year as the start of America's downfall. However, instead of the bloodshed that marked the end of so many past empires, with cities burning and civilians slaughtered, this twenty-first century imperial collapse could come relatively quietly through the invisible tendrils of economic collapse or cyberwarfare.
But have no doubt: when Washington's global dominion finally ends, there will be painful daily reminders of what such a loss of power means for Americans in every walk of life. As a half-dozen European nations have discovered, imperial decline tends to have a remarkably demoralizing impact on a society, regularly bringing at least a generation of economic privation. As the economy cools, political temperatures rise, often sparking serious domestic unrest.
Available economic, educational, and military data indicate that, when it comes to US global power, negative trends will aggregate rapidly by 2020 and are likely to reach a critical mass no later than 2030. The American Century, proclaimed so triumphantly at the start of World War II, will be tattered and fading by 2025, its eighth decade, and could be history by 2030.
 
The primary factor in the decline
Significantly, in 2008, the US National Intelligence Council admitted for the first time that America's global power was indeed on a declining trajectory. In one of its periodic futuristic reports, Global Trends 2025, the Council cited “the transfer of global wealth and economic power now under way, roughly from West to East" and "without precedent in modern history,” as the primary factor in the decline of the “United States' relative strength—even in the military realm.” Like many in Washington, however, the Council’s analysts anticipated a very long, very soft landing for American global pre-eminence, and harboured the hope that somehow the US would long “retain unique military capabilities… to project military power globally” for decades to come.
No such luck. Under current projections, the United States will find itself in second place behind China (already the world's second largest economy) in economic output around 2026 and behind India by 2050. Similarly, Chinese innovation is on a trajectory toward world leadership in applied science and military technology sometime between 2020 and 2030, just as America's current supply of brilliant scientists and engineers retires, without adequate replacement by an ill-educated younger generation.
 
Chinese Satellites and Supercomputer
By 2020, according to current plans, the Pentagon will throw a military Hail Mary pass for a dying empire. It will launch a lethal triple canopy of advanced aerospace robotics that represents Washington's last best hope of retaining global power despite its waning economic influence. By that year, however, China's global network of communications satellites, backed by the world's most powerful supercomputers, will also be fully operational, providing Beijing with an independent platform for the weaponization of space and a powerful communications system for missile- or cyber-strikes into every quadrant of the globe.
Wrapped in imperial hubris, like Whitehall or Quai d'Orsay before it, the White House still seems to imagine that American decline will be gradual, gentle, and partial. In his State of the Union address last January, President Obama offered the reassurance that “I do not accept second place for the United States of America.” A few days later, Vice President Biden ridiculed the very idea that “we are destined to fulfil [historian Paul] Kennedy's prophecy that we are going to be a great nation that has failed because we lost control of our economy and overextended.” Similarly, writing in the November issue of the establishment journal Foreign Affairs, neo-liberal foreign policy guru Joseph Nye waved away talk of China's economic and military rise, dismissing “misleading metaphors of organic decline” and denying that any deterioration in US global power was underway.
 
How precipitous and wrenching will the decline be?
Ordinary Americans, watching their jobs head overseas, have a more realistic view than their cosseted leaders. An opinion poll in August 2010 found that 65% of Americans believed the country was now “in a state of decline.” Already, Australia and Turkey, traditional US military allies, are using their American-manufactured weapons for joint air and naval manoeuvres with China. Already, America's closest economic partners are backing away from Washington's opposition to China's rigged currency rates. As the president flew back from his Asian tour last month, a gloomy New York Times headline summed the moment up this way: “Obama's Economic View Is Rejected on World Stage, China, Britain and Germany Challenge US, Trade Talks With Seoul Fail, Too.”
Viewed historically, the question is not whether the United States will lose its unchallenged global power, but just how precipitous and wrenching the decline will be. In place of Washington's wishful thinking, let’s use the National Intelligence Council's own futuristic methodology to suggest four realistic scenarios for how, whether with a bang or a whimper, US global power could reach its end in the 2020s (along with four accompanying assessments of just where we are today). The future scenarios include: economic decline, oil shock, military misadventure, and World War III. While these are hardly the only possibilities when it comes to American decline or even collapse, they offer a window into an onrushing future.
 
Economic Decline: Present Situation
Today, three main threats exist to America’s dominant position in the global economy: loss of economic clout thanks to a shrinking share of world trade, the decline of American technological innovation, and the end of the dollar's privileged status as the global reserve currency.
By 2008, the United States had already fallen to number three in global merchandise exports, with just 11% of them compared to 12% for China and 16% for the European Union. There is no reason to believe that this trend will reverse itself.
Similarly, American leadership in technological innovation is on the wane. In 2008, the US was still number two behind Japan in worldwide patent applications with 232,000, but China was closing fast at 195,000, thanks to a blistering 400% increase since 2000. A harbinger of further decline: in 2009 the US hit rock bottom in ranking among the 40 nations surveyed by the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation when it came to “change” in “global innovation-based competitiveness” during the previous decade. Adding substance to these statistics, in October China's Defense Ministry unveiled the world's fastest supercomputer, the Tianhe-1A, so powerful, said one US expert, that it “blows away the existing No. 1 machine” in America.
 
A critical shortage of talented scientists
Add to this clear evidence that the US education system, that source of future scientists and innovators, has been falling behind its competitors. After leading the world for decades in 25- to 34-year-olds with university degrees, the country sank to 12th place in 2010. The World Economic Forum ranked the United States at a mediocre 52nd among 139 nations in the quality of its university math and science instruction in 2010. Nearly half of all graduate students in the sciences in the US are now foreigners, most of whom will be heading home, not staying here as once would have happened. By 2025, in other words, the United States is likely to face a critical shortage of talented scientists.
 
The end of a dollar
Such negative trends are encouraging increasingly sharp criticism of the dollar's role as the world’s reserve currency. “Other countries are no longer willing to buy into the idea that the US knows best on economic policy,” observed Kenneth S. Rogoff, a former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund. In mid-2009, with the world's central banks holding an astronomical $4 trillion in US Treasury notes, Russian president Dimitri Medvedev insisted that it was time to end “the artificially maintained unipolar system” based on “one formerly strong reserve currency.”
Simultaneously, China's central bank governor suggested that the future might lie with a global reserve currency “disconnected from individual nations” (that is, the US dollar). Take these as signposts of a world to come, and of a possible attempt, as economist Michael Hudson has argued, “to hasten the bankruptcy of the US financial-military world order.”
 
Economic Decline: Scenario 2020
After years of swelling deficits fed by incessant warfare in distant lands, in 2020, as long expected, the US dollar finally loses its special status as the world's reserve currency. Suddenly, the cost of imports soars. Unable to pay for swelling deficits by selling now-devalued Treasury notes abroad, Washington is finally forced to slash its bloated military budget. Under pressure at home and abroad, Washington slowly pulls US forces back from hundreds of overseas bases to a continental perimeter. By now, however, it is far too late.
Faced with a fading superpower incapable of paying the bills, China, India, Iran, Russia, and other powers, great and regional, provocatively challenge US dominion over the oceans, space, and cyberspace. Meanwhile, amid soaring prices, ever-rising unemployment, and a continuing decline in real wages, domestic divisions widen into violent clashes and divisive debates, often over remarkably irrelevant issues. Riding a political tide of disillusionment and despair, a far-right patriot captures the presidency with thundering rhetoric, demanding respect for American authority and threatening military retaliation or economic reprisal. The world pays next to no attention as the American Century ends in silence.
 
Opinion poll
Hungary will chair the European Union since January 2011. What priorities do you think Viktor Orbán will pursue?
 
Reflexion
Let´s give Jesus back to Christmas
“ The world wants to convince us that Christmas is about illuminated shop windows, trees, presents, a house full of cakes and delicious meals.” Is it really true?
 
We are interested…
“ Father, forgive them s they do not know what they are doing.”
The Military Cathedral in Bratislava is supposed to be decorated by Slovenian Jesuit and Christian artists Ivan Marko Rupnik who depicted himself as saved on one of the walls of Redemptoris Mater Chapel…
 
History
Medieval Cancer and Miracle of Trnava
Plague pandemics killed over 200 million people. The Tartars were probably the first nation who used plague as a biological weapon.
 
Culture
She wants to play very well
“ I think that a kind of magic, a kind of charisma are very important to actors and actresses. Unless this profession does not go through the border of personal charisma, an actor or an actress is unable to work as he or she is supposed to,” claims Zdena Studenková, the member of drama groups at the Slovak National Theatre.
 
A New House for Pilis Slovaks in Hungary
The construction of a new Slovak house, The Centre of Pilis Slovaks, continues in Mlynky ((Pilisszentkereszt).
 
Literature
Aliens will once return
Erich Von Däniken, a Swiss writer, would like to solve the issue of complex of corridors and chambers under the Greatest Pyramid in Egypt.
 
Art
Imaginative World of Ingrid Zemančíková
 
Sport
He has never regretted changing for Real
Luise Figo, a Portuguese football star, was not so surprised by the victory of Slovakia against Italy at the World Cup 2010. He claims that MŠK Žilina has to collect experience in the Champions League and return stronger there next year.        

 

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