News digest: Protests return to Bratislava, police say they are ready

Two protests scheduled for Thursday. Oligarch described as a friend of Robert Fico charged. Police launch prosecution for vandalism in downtown Bratislava.

(Source: / Hej,ty)

Good evening. Catch up on the main news of the day in less than five minutes with the Wednesday, August 4, 2021 edition of Today in Slovakia. We wish you a pleasant read.

Bratislava is bracing for protests

People protesting against vaccination and other measures adopted to fight the coronavirus pandemic will return to the streets of the capital after one week.

Two gatherings are planned to take place on Thursday, one in front of the Government’s Office, and the other in front of the Presidential Palace. Although only one of them has been officially announced, the Bratislava regional police say they know about both as they were organised via social networks.

The police added that there will be “a sufficient number” of police officers monitoring the situation who will be ready to step in if any laws are violated.

The police faced criticism for the July 29 protest, when people first protested in front of the Presidential Palace and then blocked the roads and paralysed transport for most of the day. Officers intervened only in the evening.

Meanwhile, the Old Town borough announced that the garden near the Presidential Palace will be closed while the public transport company in Bratislava said that several buses and trolleybuses will be rerouted.

Oligarch Výboh faces charges

The police are continuing in operations linked to the Mýtnik (Toll Collector) case that concerns alleged corruption in IT orders for the Financial Administration.

Most recently, they brought charges against entrepreneur Miroslav Výboh, who has been described as a close friend of former prime minister, now Smer MP Robert Fico. They have not detained him yet since he is currently abroad.

Meanwhile, the National Criminal Agency (NAKA) detained and charged several former employees of the Financial Administration, including its former head Lenka Wittenbergerová and former deputy finance minister of the Smer-led government, Radko Kuruc.

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Coronavirus and vaccination news

  • 94 out of 6,918 PCR tests completed on August 3 came back positive, while out of 4,689 new antigen tests, 10 were positive. The total number of Covid deaths in Slovakia remains at 12,541.
  • The pandemic-related expenditures from the state budget amounted to €108 million last year, while this year, they have amounted to €270 million so far. More than €37.5 million will be used for bonuses and rewards for healthcare employees, according to the Health Ministry.
  • The National Health Information Centre (NCZI) published an online contact form on its website. People can use it to contact its operational centre, but not to register for a Covid test.

    Travel information

  • Starting on August 15, people arriving in Austria will have to show a confirmation that they have been vaccinated with both shots in the case of a two-dose vaccine. Having just one shot of a two-dose vaccine will no longer be enough.

For more information about rules for entering selected countries click here.

Slovaks in Tokyo

  • Slovak skeet shooter Danka Barteková was not re-elected to the International Olympic Committee, of which she has been an active member since 2012.
  • Samuel Baláž and Adam Botek made it to the semi-finals in the men’s K-2 1,000m sprint.
  • Wrestler Boris Makojev lost his fight against Artur Naifonov in the men’s freestyle 86kg 1/8 final.

Listen to our podcast

The Orava region, spreading in the north of central Slovakia, boasts several interesting attractions. This includes one of the country’s major landmarks, Orava Castle, where the legendary 1922 film Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror was filmed. What most people queue for, however, is a scoop or two of ice cream from the Callo ice cream parlour.

Listen to our latest travel podcast to discover more.

A land of Gorals, Hviezdoslav and great ice cream: Orava Read more 

In other news

  • The investigation in the Dobytkár (Stock Farmer) case has been reportedly closed. Charges have been proposed for eight people and five companies. Police officers documented altogether 95 deeds during the investigation, with bribes exceeding €10 million, the news website reported.
  • Csaba Dömötör, one of the cooperating witnesses accused of perjury who was detained by the police inspection service back in July, made a plea bargain with the prosecutor, agreeing on 32 months in prison with a five-year probation. The plea bargain has been approved by the Bratislava III District Court judge. Since Dömötör was given a conditional sentence, he was freed from custody.
  • Retail turnover in June 2021 rose for the fourth consecutive month, compensating for the drops in 2020 and exceeding the pre-Covid turnover level by almost one tenth. It went up by 6.6 percent year-on-year, which was less than in the previous month, according to the Statistics Office.
  • German company Ziegler Group will become the first big investor to arrive in the state industrial park near Rimavská Sobota (Banská Bystrica Region). It plans to build a wood-processing plant there, employing 430 people.
  • A record number of young saker falcons were born in Slovakia this year: 121. This species of bird is considered one of the most endangered due to a rapid population decline. Back in 1980, only 15-20 young saker falcons were born, according to Jozef Chavko of the Raptor Protection of Slovakia organisation.

More on today:

He walked through the war in the old shoes of a police officer Read more 

There are still things within our control Read more 

Slovakia to get extra €33 million to counter impacts of Brexit Read more 

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