News digest: National emergency is constitutional and remains in place

President will appoint the new cabinet tomorrow. Last chance to get counted in the online census. Slovakia defeated Russia in the World Cup qualifier.

Constitutional Court President Ivan Fiačan informs about the verdict on national emergency. (Source: TASR)

This is the Wednesday, March 31, 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.

Exceptions for churchgoers before Easter

The Constitutional Court delivered the much-expected ruling on the national emergency. The decision to prolong the national emergency and related measures from March 17 is in compliance with the Constitution and the related laws, the court stated.

The outgoing cabinet adjusted exceptions from the currently valid curfew, despite earlier claims that no anti-Covid measures would be lifted before the Easter holiday.

Starting on April 1, people will be exempt from curfew when going to and from churches for “individual spiritual care”. The exact definition and conditions are yet to be specified by hygienists.

Holders of a hunting licence will also be able to go out into nature to deal with problems related to African swine fever.

The cabinet also extended the validity of antigen tests taken between April 1 and 4, until April 11.

National emergency remains in place Read more 

More on Covid and vaccination

  • The number of people positively diagnosed with Covid-19 through PCR tests increased by 1,855, which represents 16.26 percent of 11,407 PCR tests carried out on March 30. Of 149,312 antigen tests, 1,297 (or 0.87 percent) were positive.
  • Rescuers will receive a special Covid bonus of €350 a month, outgoing PM Igor Matovič (OĽaNO) announced. It will be granted retrospectively, from March 1.
  • The parliament has called on the cabinet to adopt measures that will allow Easter masses to be held outside, with participants adhering to measures currently in place. The proposal submitted by non-affiliated MP Tomáš Taraba was supported by 71 deputies of 133 present in the assembly hall, from both the coalition and the opposition.
  • The State Institute for Drug Control has delivered its opinion on the Russian Sputnik V vaccine to the Health Ministry.

US human rights report on Slovakia

The US took a closer look at human rights in Slovakia in its 2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.

It pointed particularly to high-level corruption, violence and threats against the Roma and other minorities, and the violence and threats targeting LGBTI people. It mentioned, among other things, the trial surrounding the murder of Ján Kuciak and Martina Kušnírová, restricted movement during the Covid-19 pandemic and the investigation of high-ranking figures due to corruption.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry responded that Slovakia is considering improving human rights and democracy as a central pillar of its interest and value policies at home and also abroad, and promised to share the information with ministries responsible for the human rights agenda.

High-level corruption and threats against minorities. US report evaluates human rights practices in Slovakia Read more 

Positive economic growth expected

Slovakia’s economy is expected to grow by 5 percent this year, according to the National Bank of Slovakia (NBS), the country’s central bank.

At the same time, the country may return to its pre-crisis levels by the end of this year, NBS Governor Peter Kažimír predicts.

This prediction is more positive than the forecast of the Institute for Financial Policy, running under the Finance Ministry, which expects the economy to increase by 3.3 percent.

Despite a complicated first quarter, the economy will develop positively Read more 

Gallery of the day

Slovakia’s national football representation defeated the Russian team in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifier 2:1. It was their first victory in the qualification match, after two ties with Malta and Cyprus, ranking it third in the H Group.

Feature story for today

Exactly 76 years ago, on March 31, 2945, the last transport of Slovak prisoners to the Mauthausen concentration camp was dispatched from Bratislava. There were 120 men and women on the train that left at the time the highest representatives of the Nazi-allied Slovak state were evacuating their offices before the arrival of the Soviet Army.

Read one of our archive materials.

From our archive:A Slovak prisoner tattooed in Auschwitz remained silent until he grew very old Read more 

In other news

  • President Zuzana Čaputová will appoint the new cabinet tomorrow, April 1, at 10:00. The cabinet led by Eduard Heger (OĽaNO) will lack a labour minister, for now. Sme Rodina will reconsider its nomination.
  • More than 4.7 million people (or 84 percent) have taken part in the online census, which ends tonight. After the electronic part is closed, the assisted census will be held until the end of October, with assistants contacting people who cannot fill in the e-form for themselves or with the help of their relatives.
  • The parliament did not accept the demands of the Climate Needs You petition, signed by some 128,000 people. It adopted only a resolution, without specific commitments.
  • General Prosecutor Maroš Žilinka disagrees with the cancellation of charges in the case involving the Administration of State Material Reserves, and he has abolished the valid decision issued by former special prosecutor Dušan Kováčik, who is now in prison for corruption-related crimes, from last October.
  • The courts have accepted a proposal of the Vlasť party of ex-judge Štefan Harabin to declare bankruptcy.
  • Advertising boards will receive permission for a fixed period of no more than three years. Municipalities will be able to initiate the removal of illegal advertising objects located on their territory, while fines for violating the laws will increase, as stems from an amendment to the Construction Act approved by the parliament.
  • The very first commercial promoting the Slovak flying car AeroMobil was released. It was created by the Vaculik agency and Stink Films. (Mediar.cz)

Also on Spectator.sk today:

Bratislava is searching for mosquito hunters Read more 

Slovakia will have its first geothermal power plant Read more 

Archeological exploration results in unique findings Read more 

If you have suggestions on how this news overview can be improved, you can reach us at editorial@spectator.sk.

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