Number of COVID-19 cases goes up as Slovakia opens up further (news digest)

Abortions go to parliament again, Kočner admits he paid for the surveillance of journalists, and Fico wants Pellegrini to quit as parliament's deputy speaker. Here is what happened in Slovakia on June 19.

(Source: Sme)

Take a look at what happened in Slovakia on Friday, June 19, 2020. Find our tips for some interesting weekend reading at the bottom of the overview. This daily news overview service is free of charge for our readers. If you want to help us continue doing our work the best we can, become a subscriber. Thank you!

Shops will open this Sunday, fewer border limits

The epidemiologists advising the government have agreed to the opening of shops on Sundays again, starting this Sunday, June 21. This is part of another wave of lifting anti-coronavirus measures, as announced on Friday morning.

Shops have been closed on Sundays as one of the remaining anti-pandemic measures. Epidemiologists and PM Igor Matovič had argued that shops needed the day for sanitisation, and have been increasingly at odds with other government members, most significantly the Economy Minister Richard Sulík and other junior coalition SaS politicians.

Several other limits and orders have been lifted or changed into recommendations. Notably, mass events with over 1,000 participants will be allowed if chessboard seating is possible, from July 1. This means sports events can welcome visitors again.

The list of safe countries will be extended with Poland, Montenegro, Monaco and the Faroe Islands. Here is more about travelling to and from Slovakia.

Coalition MPs propose amendment to abortion law

OĽaNO MP Anna Záborská came up with proposals that she claims would bring no ban or radical limits to abortions. At the same time, she said, as reported by Denník N, that these are "not by any means all the measures that could help women".

The changes they propose are to be targeted towards "helping women better decide about abortion thanks to new social and financial support measures".

There are currently three other proposals to limit abortions or change the rules for performing them, filed by opposition MPs.

Kuciak murder trial: Kočner admitted he paid Tóth for illegal surveillance

The Kuciak murder trial continues in Pezinok . Friday's session was the 18th day of the trial. Defendants Marian Kočner and Alena Zsuzsová, both facing charges of having ordered the murder of journalist Ján Kuciak, during which his fiancée Martina Kušnírová was also killed, testified in court.

Kočner admitted to having paid his former friend, the journalist-turned-spy Peter Tóth who is now a major witness against Kočner, on several occasions to conduct illegal surveillance of journalists. Kočner said he gave Tóth €10,000 - 12,000, the SITA newswire reported.

Kočner, however, insists that the initiative to surveil the journalists came from Tóth. He also said Tóth has never been his trusted friend.

"Threema is not authentic, many things are missing, many have been added," Kočner said about the leaked communications from his phone that the court has also accepted as proof against him and his accomplice Alena Zsuzsová.

More news from Slovakia today:

  • On Thursday, 806 people were tested for COVID-19, with 14 positive results. Eight of the new cases have been diagnosed in the Revúca district in central Slovakia, two in the Rimavská Sobota district, two in the western-Slovak district of Galanta and one each in the Žilina and Košice districts. See the stats since the outbreak of the epidemic in Slovakia.
  • The first preemptive kidney transplant was performed in Slovakia on Friday. A mother donated her kidney to her child. "This is an historic moment for Slovakia," Health Minister Marek Krajčí said. (SITA)
  • "I want to completely reconstruct the leadership of Smer," Robert Fico said in his official reaction to the departure of Peter Pellegrini from the party, which Pellegrini and 10 more Smer MPs announced earlier this week. Fico said he expects Pellegrini to give up his post in parliament as deputy speaker.
  • The Regulatory Authority for Electronic Communications and Postal Services has decided to postpone the auctions for 5G frequencies in the 1,800 MHz band and also in the 700 MHz and 900 MHz bands, which were slated for June 22. The authority has neither revealed what caused the delay nor when the auctions will be held. (SITA)
  • NGOs are calling on Interior Minister Roman Mikulec (OĽaNO) to get acquainted with what happened during the June 19, 2013 police raid in Moldava nad Bodvou and take measures that will prevent such actions from being repeated. The human rights advocates maintain the raid was neither legitimate nor appropriate, and that it failed to be independently investigated. (SITA)
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