World Briefs: Slovak grave diggers bury the competition

Brothers Ladislav (left) and Csaba Skladan from Slovakia won a grave-digging championship in Trencin, Slovakia, on Thursday where contestants were assessed on accuracy, speed and aesthetic quality.
Brothers Ladislav (left) and Csaba Skladan from Slovakia won a grave-digging championship in Trencin, Slovakia, on Thursday where contestants were assessed on accuracy, speed and aesthetic quality. PHOTO: REUTERS

Slovak grave diggers bury the competition

RENCIN (Slovakia) • A team from Slovakia has won a grave-digging competition at an international exhibition of funeral, burial and cremation services.

Brothers Ladislav and Csaba Skladan, aged 43 and 41 respectively, dug a grave 1.5m deep, 2m long and 90cm wide in 54 minutes in the western Slovak town of Trencin.

They beat 10 other two-member teams from Slovakia, Poland and Hungary. Their grave was also the neatest, a five-member jury said.

"We want to show and appreciate the hard work of grave diggers," said Mr Ladislav Striz, who established the contest last year.

"Most Slovak graveyards are so crowded and spaces between graves so narrow that we need human diggers instead of machines," he said. "They work hard, come rain, come snow."

Mr Csaba Skladan said: "I am happy we won, it's a satisfaction after 15 years in this job."

"I had to focus on speed today but usually, when the weather is nice and I can chat with my brother, it's a dream job," added Mr Ladislav Skladan.

REUTERS


Turkey arrests chairman of opposition newspaper

ISTANBUL • Turkey yesterday detained the head of the board of opposition daily Cumhuriyet, which saw nine of its staff arrested last week, the newspaper said.

Mr Akin Atalay was taken into custody at Istanbul's airport after arriving from Germany, said Cumhuriyet, which has in recent years taken a strong line against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party.

The newspaper said the warrant was issued as part of a probe into "terrorist activities".

Nine of the paper's staff, including its current editor-in-chief, were remanded in custody over the weekend pending trial after raids that have added to growing international alarm about media freedom in Turkey.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE


Diver survives 8 hours in shark-infested waters

SYDNEY • A scuba diver who spent eight hours in shark-infested waters off Australia survived the night-time ordeal after swimming 22km to shore, rescuers said yesterday.

The 46-year-old man, whose name has not been released, lost track of his boat when the anchor broke while he was diving with a friend off the coast of Geraldton in Western Australia on Thursday.

His friend found the boat but the man failed to return.

Rescuers searched the area after the alarm was raised but found no sign of the missing man, Western Australia Police said in a statement.

The man managed to swim to shore in the early hours of yesterday after seeing torch lights on a small beach.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE


South African ruling party to choose next leader

JOHANNESBURG • Six candidates are bidding to succeed Mr Jacob Zuma as the leader of the African National Congress (ANC) next year as South Africa's ruling party starts the process this weekend to choose its next president, according to secretary-general Gwede Mantashe.

While the 104-year-old ANC suffered its worst performance in an election this year, its leader is likely to become national president in 2019 as it still commands the majority of support in the country.

BLOOMBERG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 12, 2016, with the headline 'World Briefs'. Print Edition | Subscribe