News digest: Former state secretary describes the corruption at courts

Schools will definitely not open on Monday. Coronavirus vaccine could be available starting in mid-December. Slovakia joins campaign to fight violence against women.

The Presidential Palace lit in orange, to support the Orange the world! campaign. (Source: Twitter of President Zuzana Čaputová)

This is your overview of news that happened in Slovakia on Wednesday, November 25, 2020. Today in Slovakia is a free-of-charge service for our readers. If you want to support us, become a subscriber and get access to more detailed news and interesting feature stories from Slovakia.

Jankovská started talking

On November 25, Monika Jankovská, former state secretary of the Justice Ministry, confessed to committing crimes.

This information has been confirmed for the media by her lawyer Peter Erdős.

“She is testifying, she has confessed and has explained her actions from her perspective,” Erdős said, as quoted by the TASR newswire.

Jankovská was brought to the National Criminal Agency (NAKA) on Wednesday morning, and it is possible the interrogation will continue tomorrow.

The former state secretary was detained along with other judges in March during the Búrka (Storm) police operation. She has been charged with corruption-related crimes. More charges came after the late-October Víchrica (Gale) operation.

Related articleFormer state secretary Jankovská has reportedly confessed Read more 

Matovič is alone with his testing proposal

PM Igor Matovič (OĽaNO) insists on compulsory nationwide testing, which he proposed to take place before Christmas. Voluntary testing has not proven effective, he said, referring to the poor attendance in several municipalities across the country during the weekend of November 21-22.

The plan has been already opposed by President Zuzana Čaputová and the junior coalition party Freedom and Solidarity (SaS). Most recently, the group of experts who consult the government and propose solutions to the coronavirus crisis has not recommended nationwide testing.

Testing with antigen tests should be voluntary and free, and the mobile testing sites should be used to take swabs, the epidemiologists said.

Meanwhile, the Union of Towns in Slovakia issued a statement, rejecting the latest testing proposal. It has been supported by 53 mayors so far.

Other coronavirus-related developments

  • The labs identified 1,811 positive PCR tests out of 10,145 carried out on November 24. 23 more people died, while another 2,809 have recovered.
  • The COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer could arrive in mid-December, Health Minister Marek Krajčí (OĽaNO) announced. He would like to vaccinate 150,000 people in December.
  • Schools will stay closed after Monday, November 30. “The final consent has not been made yet,” Education Minister Branislav Gröhling (SaS) said after the cabinet session.
  • Children younger than seven will not be required to undergo a COVID-19 test when returning from abroad. The list of countries that incomers can enter Slovakia from without having to show a negative PCR test result to avoid home isolation has expanded. The changes come into force on Thursday.
  • Hygienists have specified rules for opening outdoor terraces at facilities serving drinks and food, and also rules for mass testing. They will come into force on Friday.
  • President Zuzana Čaputová signed the amendment to the law on tourism that proposes a €100 million injection into this sector.

Picture of the day:

Several institutions and personalities in Slovakia, including President Zuzana Čaputová, the Foreign Affairs Ministry, and the ombudswoman, have joined the global Orange the world! campaign running between November 25 and December 10. It has been supported by 17 foreign missions in Slovakia too.

Feature story for today:

Secret votes and public lies

Slovak MPs were supposed to choose a new general prosecutor, as the country’s top prosecution official is known.

General prosecutors are elected to a seven-year term. But this week’s vote occurs ten years almost to the day since the last such effort began. In other words, it took almost three years to install the last general prosecutor.

Read the opinion piece by James Thomson about today's uncanny echoes of Slovakia’s agonies over its previous choice of chief prosecutor.

In other news

  • The election of new general prosecutor, which was scheduled for today, was postponed to December 1.
  • The Supreme Court set a new date for the proceeding on the appeal in the promissory notes case, in which Marian Kočner and Pavol Rusko have been sentenced to 19 years in prison, to December 15 and 16.
  • President Zuzana Čaputová has vetoed the amendment to the law on universities that made it possible to remove academic degrees. Some provisions are at odds with the Constitution, she explained.
  • The financing of schools will change as a consequence of the introduction of compulsory kindergarten. This stems from an amendment to the law on financing primary schools, secondary schools and school facilities approved by the parliament.
  • The cabinet will allocate €5.8 million for the 17 least developed districts in Slovakia, creating 120 new jobs.
  • Altogether 20,944 companies have been trading with state or public institutions, which is over 2,000 more than in the end of last year. (Bisnode)
  • Slovakia has witnessed the quickest increase in late payments in Europe. They rose by 113 percent on average, while the average of central and eastern Europe was 88 percent compared with the pre-pandemic period, according to the analysis by the Atradius company.

Also on today:

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