Knife attack shocks Slovakia, international transport gradually takes off (news digest)

Thursday also brought some positive news for journalism in Slovakia. Read our news overview.

(Source: TASR)

This is your overview of news from Slovakia from Thursday, June 11, 2020. The news digests from previous days are available here. Today in Slovakia is an unpaid service for our readers. If you appreciate our work and want to support responsible journalism, buy our subscription here.

A knife attack at school shocks Slovakia

Two people died on June 11 in an attack at a primary school in the small northern-Slovak town of Vrútky. A 22-year-old man, a former student of the school, from the nearby town of Martin, killed one person and injured another four people, including two children, before the police shot him dead. The person who was killed was a deputy headmaster.

Former TSS editor-in-chief wins the European Press Prize

Beata Balogová, the Sme daily editor-in-chief who previously led the editorial of The Slovak Spectator, is the first Slovak to win the prestigious European Press Prize.

Her piece, How we stopped being comrades, marking the 1989 Velvet Revolution anniversary last year, was awarded as the best Opinion piece.

Read our interview with the European Press Prize laureate:The fight for the interpretation of democracy is happening here in central Europe Read more 

Industrial production drops

Slovakia’s industrial production has sunk to its lowest level since the country became independent in 1993. It fell 42 percent year-on-year in April 2020, impacted mostly by a sharp decrease in the manufacture of transport equipment by 78.9 percent y-o-y, according to the data presented by the Statistics Office.

Analysts opine that industrial production has already hit bottom, and statistics will improve slightly in May.

“But we must avoid viewing this through rose-tinted spectacles as industrial production and foreign trade are affected by demand from abroad,” said analyst Eva Sadovská from WOOD & Company.

International transport revived post-COVID

  • The largest European airline, Ryanair, will renew 12 regular lines from the Bratislava Airport to Bulgaria, Greece and Cyprus as of July 1, based on the summer flight schedule. (Ryanair)
  • As of Monday, June 15, the state-run railway carrier ZSSK will relaunch international transport to Austria, and the first pair of InterCity trains between Košice and Vienna. As of June 20, ZSSK will introduce a direct line to the Austrian Alps (ZSSK)
  • The private railway carrier Leo Express will restart its train connection between Prague and Košice. (ČTK)

Visegrad Group PMs met

The Visegrad Group countries support the joint approach of the European Union in containing the coronavirus pandemic, but they need to feel more trust, freedom, and justice in the distribution of common funds from the European Commission, prime ministers of the four countries, Slovakia, Czechia, Poland and Hungary declared during their meeting in the Czech town of Lednice on June 11.

While Slovak PM Igor Matovič admitted the redistribution of funds is "fairly positive" for Slovakia, we also need to understand the stance of Hungary and the Czechs "for whom the result is not as positive".

"It is good manners, given that we are part of this grouping, to show solidarity with our partners," Matovič told journalists following the meeting. (TASR)

In other news

  • Eight people tested positive for the coronavirus in Slovakia on Wednesday. See the full statistics here.
  • The state has so far repatriated 4,409 persons, the biggest group among them are those returning from the UK (1,470 persons).
  • The police reportedly released all four persons who were detained on Tuesday during the raid on the NASES governmental agency. The police have not brought any charges in the case. The police declined to provide further information due to the ongoing nature of the investigation. (Markíza)
  • The European Court of Justice confirmed the decision of the European Commission, when it ruled against the Slovak private health insurer Dôvera and its claim that the state unlawfully helped its competitors, state-run health insurers.
  • The Kia Motors Slovakia plant in Žilina launched a vast reconstruction of one of its production lines in mid-June. The investment of €70 million is expected to enable the plant to produce the second-generation petrol engine 1.6 GDi and T-GDi. (SITA)
  • Karvinské Lázně Darkov concluded the purchase of the Brusno Spa, currently in bankruptcy. The transaction is worth €5.6 million. They expect to invest €4 - 5 million. (TASR)
  • Slovak Telekom is selling its daughter company, Zoznam, to the current authorised representative of Zoznam, Martin Mác. The price has not been published. The Education Ministry will distribute half a million euros for summer schools, intended to help pupils level the differences that the coronavirus crisis has deepened. The summer schools should be voluntary and should have a "playful and creative" character.

Also on today:

Health care purges have started - 12 top managers gone within two months Read more 

Former PM was to be the new generation of Smer. Now Pellegrini is leaving Read more 

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