News digest: First valid sentence for Kočner

Thousands of people are dying in the pandemic. Bratislava and Stockholm will be linked by direct flights.

Left to right: Marian Kočner, Marek Para and Pavol Rusko

This is the Tuesday, January 12, 2021 edition of Today in Slovakia. Learn about politics, business, and other notable events of the day in Slovakia in less than five minutes. If you like what we are doing and want to support good journalism, buy our online subscription. Thank you.

Guilty: Kočner and Rusko sentenced to 19 years

The Supreme Court confirmed the verdict of the Specialised Criminal Court, which sentenced Marian Kočner and Pavol Rusko to 19 years in prison for forging promissory notes worth €69 million, which Kočner later demanded from the current owner of the private broadcaster TV Markíza. Kočner was also fined with €10,000.

The session took place on January 12 behind closed doors.

The verdict was originally expected in December, but the court adjourned the session after Rusko did not arrive to court.

Related articleKočner sentenced to 19 years in prison Read more 

More people dying, statistics show

The number of deaths in Slovakia in October and November 2020 was higher than the five-year average.

The biggest growth was reported in the age group of 65+, and in the Trenčín Region and Prešov Region.

The preliminary data was published by the Statistics Office as a response to hoaxes and conspiracy theories online, which suggest that the difference between the number of people who have died during the pandemic and the previous year is not significant.

At the same time, statistics suggest that Slovakia is currently the worst country in the world in the number of COVID-19 victims per 1 million inhabitants.

Related articleSlovakia has the most COVID-19 deaths per million people Read more 

Coronavirus in Slovakia

  • People travelling to Austria, including the country's citizens returning home, will have to register, stating contact information and information about the place and length of the stay in Austria in the form. Cross-border commuters will be exempted.
  • Slovaks travelling to the UK have to show a negative coronavirus test result no older than 72 hours before the start of the journey, the Slovak Foreign Affairs Ministry informed. Everybody arriving to the UK still needs to self-isolate for at least five days.
  • Košice will organise another round of mass testing with rapid tests. It should start on Friday.
  • PM Igor Matovič (OĽaNO) has asked the health minister to prepare a legislation allowing to fine preferential vaccination against COVID-19 with €10,000. It comes as a response to the reports about the preferential treatment of some athletes.

Picture of the day:

Feature story for today:

Masses of people crowding the most popular recreation venues keeps recurring in Bratislava. Yet there are plenty of spots that remain unknown to many in the city, located at the foot of the Small Carpathians and on both banks of the Danube River.

Stuck in the city and its surroundings during this lockdown, the inhabitants of the Slovak capital have an opportunity to discover new paths and destinations.

More tips for outings in Bratislava during the lockdown Read more 

In other news:

  • President Zuzana Čaputová gave credentials to the new Slovak Ambassador in Brussels, Petra Vargová.
  • Regular flights will launch between the Bratislava airport and Stockholm, operated by the Slovak air company AirExplore twice a month, every second Sunday. The first flight is scheduled for Sunday, January 17, 2021.
  • A line for mechanical-biological adjustment of kitchen waste will be built near the village of Hincovce in Košice Region for €5 million. It will be the first such line in Slovakia, according to the TASR newswire.
  • The Antimonopoly Office approved the establishment of a company by the Slovak gas utility SPP and the Czech company ČEZ ESCO. The ESCO JV firm should focus on the specialised services linked to the optimisation of the energy use.
  • The number of bankrupt subjects has dropped to a historic minimum, decreasing from 248 to 167, according to CRIF – Slovak Credit Bureau. It was partly caused by the temporary protection of courts due to the coronavirus crisis.
  • Slovak postal services operator Slovenská Pošta plans to dismiss its employees and cancel 756 unnecessary work positions. It should affect some 1,500 employees in the first phase.

Must-read on today:

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Slovak designer wins top prize for ocean station that removes plastics from sea Read more