News digest: Slovak Olympic team is the smallest in country's history, but medal hopes are high

Efforts to improve the independence of the Slovak justice system have continued in 2020. Pride will be online this year.

(Source: / Hej,ty)

Good evening. Catch up on the main news of the day in less than five minutes with the Thursday, July 22 edition of Today in Slovakia . We wish you a pleasant read.

41 Slovak athletes ready for summer Olympics

The team that Slovakia is sending to Tokyo is the smallest it has had at the summer Olympics since the country emerged as an independent state in 1993. Yet the hopes for those attending the upcoming Olympics are high, pinned on shooters, cyclists, water sports and track and field athletes.

Team Slovakia will be represented by 41 athletes in Tokyo, 10 fewer than at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. 19-year old archer Denisa Baránková is the youngest competitor on the team, while 45-year South African native and golf player Rory Sabbatini is the oldest.

Out of the attending athletes, six already have Olympic medals. Walker Matej Tóth is the only one with Olympic gold at home.

The website predicts that the Olympics in Tokyo will be especially successful for Slovakia. In late June the website predicted a total of six medals, including four gold for the country, in the canoeing, shooting and cycling disciplines.

Slovakia's Olympic representation will have two flag bearers at the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo starting on July 23: shooter Zuzana Rehák Štefečeková and water slalom racer Matej Beňuš.

Rule of law in Slovakia improved

Important efforts to improve the independence of the Slovak justice system have continued in 2020, while the country’s efforts to repress corruption have significantly increased, says the EC's Rule of Law Report 2021.

At the same time, the need to improve the legislative process by strengthening the involvement of stakeholders and civil society remains.

In the report, the EC pointed to the adoption of an extensive reform of the Constitution and the implementation of legislation regarding the justice system, in particular, the Constitutional Court and the Judicial Council, in December 2020, as well as the efforts to address corruption in the judiciary.

It also mentioned the reform of the court map that is currently being prepared and which has generated a number of comments from stakeholders. The establishment of the Supreme Administrative Court and the fact that a new general prosecutor and a new special prosecutor were elected through a more transparent procedure were highlighted in the report as well.

Coronavirus and vaccination development

  • Vaccination without previous registration or an appointment will be possible in all five large-scale vaccination centres of the Trnava Region. In Piešťany, Dunajská Streda, Skalica and two vaccination centres in Trnava, vaccines by Pfizer/BioNTech will be available on Saturday, while the following day, the single-dose Johnson&Johnson vaccine available at the Secondary Health School in Trnava.
  • In Bratislava more than 200 homeless people and people from vulnerable communities were vaccinated with the Johnson&Johnson vaccine, the municipality announced.

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Photo of the day

Thousands of small, freshwater jellyfish have been seen in the water reservoir Teplý Vrch near Rimavská Sobota, in Banská Bystrica Region. The dam contains the warmest water in Slovakia.

Feature story for today

I wish people would perceive us as an enrichment, not as a 1,000-year-old disease that still occurs here, says a Slovak-Hungarian writer when asked how Hungarian identity is perceived in Slovakia.

Some people still lower their voice when speaking Hungarian in public Read more 

In other news

  • Hotels and guest houses had 78 percent fewer visitors in May than in the same month before the pandemic. Compared to May 2020, when the number was significantly impacted by the first wave, the number of guests tripled. (Statistics‘ Office)
  • The National Criminal Agency (NAKA) detained the judge of the Supreme Court and chair of Administrative College Jozef Milučký, the Denník N daily reported. The President of the Supreme Court Ján Šikuta complied with the request of the Presidium of the Police Corps and relieved Milučký of the obligation to maintain secrecy.
  • The Rainbow Pride Bratislava festival will take place online on July 24. Due to valid anti-pandemic measures, it is not possible to hold the festival in person.
  • Highway tunnel Bôrik will be closed for more than a week from next Monday in the direction of Prešov. The National Highway Company will renew the coat of paint inside the tunnel. Motorists can take the detour via Svit.
  • Former director of the Slovak Intelligence Service Vladimír Pčolinský will remain in custody. The 5T Senate of the Supreme Court refused Pčolinský's complaint against the Specialised Criminal Court's resolution from July 1 that refused his initial request against custody.
  • The Agriculture Ministry prepared a preventive event to protect Slovak breeding and stop the spread of African swine fever. The ministry wants to reduce the boar population by 100,000. Meat from healthy swine should be sold at Slovak shops.

Do not miss on today

Slovak secondary school students win gold at international physics competition Read more  Another wave of pandemic politics is upon us Read more  Soak up the sun and sip coffee in a garden in Bratislava's city centre Read more  One language for work, one for home. What bilingualism means for Hungarians in Slovakia Read more 

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