News digest: No expulsions yet, Slovak authorities monitoring the situation

Teachers vaccinated with AstraZeneca will soon receive second dose. Criminal charges filed against former special prosecutor.

PM Eduard Heger, Defence Minister Jaroslav Naď and Foreign Affairs Minister Ivan Korčok after the meeting of Security Council (Source: TASR)

This is the Tuesday, April 20, 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.

Security Council has met, but no action taken yet

Slovakia's Security Council has received information about the current activities of foreign intelligence services at its April 20 meeting, but PM Eduard Heger (OĽaNO) failed to provide more details.

"The intelligence services and the security forces will continue to secure the protection of Slovakia's interests and, of course, the safety of its people," he said.

The Security Council meeting was convened following information from the Czech Republic on the alleged involvement of Russian secret agents in the 2014 explosion in the ammunition depot in Vrbětice.

The agents from the GRU 29155 elite unit allegedly operate in Slovakia, and the men who were involved in the Vrbětice explosion, Alexandr Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov (the names in the passports they were using), are reportedly members of that unit as well. Their real names are Alexander Mishkin and Anatoly Chepiga, as the Sme daily reported.

Defence Minister Jaroslav Naď (OĽaNO) said that the previous governments knew about their various activities in Slovak territory.

Russian agents also operated in Slovakia. Expulsion would make things harder for Moscow Read more 

Little progress on structural reforms

The Covid-19 pandemic resulted in worldwide socio-economic turbulence, but it also offered governments from across the globe a chance to reform their economies.

This stems from the OECD reform, which said that these reforms should be aimed at reaching inclusive and sustainable growth along with the resolution of structural issues.

The pandemic has shown how important it is to raise the level of qualification across the population, which would support the employment of people belonging to this socially vulnerable category. At the same time, it would also boost the productivity and resistance of the economy against future impacts while preparing it for digitalisation.

OECD recommends Slovak government supports education and innovations Read more 

Coronavirus and vaccination news

  • 642 PCR tests of a total of 7,959 carried out on April 19 were positive, representing 8.07 percent. Out of 196,518 antigen tests 729 were positive (or 0.37 percent).
  • While more than 100 people were dying on a daily basis during the worst pandemic winter months, several dozens still die every day, with the number usually ranging between 50 to 70 deceased. This could be caused by the correction of data, as deaths due to Covid-19 are reported by the authorities with a certain delay.
  • Teachers who have received the first AstraZeneca vaccine shot will soon be invited for the second jab. About 16,000 teachers are expected to receive the second dose in the coming days.
  • Hungary prolonged border controls until May 23, the Foreign Affairs Ministry reported.

Picture of the day

Museums and galleries reopened on April 19. These are exhibitions in the capital:

Feature story for today

A continuing low rate of vaccinations among the elderly will lead to problems in the summer, experts warn. The result may be that Slovakia will have strict pandemic restrictions still in place compared to those countries that have successfully vaccinated their elderly people.

Warnings sounded over low vaccination uptake among elderly Read more 

In other news

  • The prosecutor of the Special Prosecutor’s Office filed criminal charges against former special prosecutor Dušan Kováčik, for the crime of establishing, conceiving and supporting a criminal group, the crime of accepting a bribe and others.
  • Six parties would make it to the parliament, according to the latest AKO poll. The representatives of Za Ľudí and the extremists would not pass the 5-percent threshold.
  • People in western Slovakia felt an earthquake on the night of April 20, with the epicentre in Austria.
  • Pavol Naď was selected as the first president of the newly established Supreme Administrative Court, winning 17 votes from the Judicial Council members in the election. His appointment needs to be approved by President Zuzana Čaputová.
  • MP Miroslav Kollár, who left the Za Ľudí party in mid-February, joined the non-parliamentary party Spolu.
  • African swine fever has been confirmed in 18 districts. Most recently, it has occurred in the districts of Detva, Zvolen and Stará Ľubovňa, the Agriculture Ministry said.
  • Bratislava airport served 15,157 travellers in the first quarter of 2021, down 95 percent year-on-year.

Do not miss on today

Tram line in new downtown stirs emotions among Bratislavans Read more 

Police officer attacked a homeless person lying on the ground. He stole alcohol, the police explainedRead more 

The most decorative church in Košice Read more 

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