News digest: President welcomes groundbreaking decision of Luxembourg court

The best state hospital of 2021 is in Banská Bystrica. Schaeffler Kysuce will build a new research and development center for electromobility.

(Source: / Hej,ty)

Good evening. Read the Thursday, December 16 edition of Today in Slovakia to catch up on the main news of the day in less than five minutes. We wish you a pleasant read.

Closer to justice after Luxembourg court decision

The Court of Justice of the European Union announced a verdict that allows the criminal prosecution of an old Slovak case to continue.

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The case pertains to the 1995 abduction of the son of the then Slovak president Michal Kováč. Former members of the Slovak Intelligence Service are accused of committing a series of offences.

According to the verdict, nothing is standing in the way of a European arrest warrant in this case. That means that if Ivan Lexa, former head of the service, or other defendants in the case fled Slovakia to escape prosecution, it will be possible to issue the arrest warrant.

"I consider this a groundbreaking decision - finally, our courts have the opportunity to investigate a case that has polarised society for many years and decide on the guilt or innocence of the defendants," President Zuzana Čaputová wrote on Facebook.

PM Eduard Heger opined that Slovakia is once again closer to healing its wounds.

Coronavirus and vaccination news

  • 5,394 people were newly diagnosed as Covid positive out of 17,319 PCR tests performed on Wednesday. The number of people in hospitals is 3,107 and 109 more deaths were reported on Wednesday. The vaccination rate is at 49.27 percent, 2,709,661 people have received the first dose of the vaccine. More stats on Covid-19 in Slovakia here.
  • Slovakia will support a proposed compromise to shorten the validity of Covid passes to nine months at the EU summit in Brussels, said PM Eduard Heger. Heger pointed out that the validity of Covid passes in Slovakia is currently 12 months. He confirmed that EU leaders should accept the agreement on validity, adding that Slovakia will not object.
  • The Health Care Surveillance Authority said there were 1,443 people who died of Covid in November in Slovakia; 83.09 percent were unvaccinated and the average age was 74 years. The youngest female victim was four years old and the oldest 102. The youngest male victim was 21 and the oldest was 98.

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Photo of the day

A view of the High Tatras from Chopok in the Low Tatras.

Feature story for today

Doctors have said they have no idea when they will be able to clear a massive backlog of delayed medical procedures amid warnings tens of thousands of people may see operations and examinations postponed as a result of Slovakia’s third wave of Covid infections.

Surgeries shunted back again as Covid cases fill up hospitals Read more 

Travel info

  • Poland has introduced stricter rules for those entering the country after travelling outside the EU stricter due to fears of the Omicron variant. Travellers have to have a negative antigen test result no older than 24 hours or a negative PCT test no older than 48 hours.
  • Italy took a similar step but it applies to all people, including those travelling from EU countries.

In other news

  • Trnava Stellantis will produce SUV Citroën C3 Aircross instead of Peugeot 208, the Hospodárske Noviny daily reported.
  • Schaeffler Kysuce will build a new research and development centre for electromobility in Slovakia. The group plans to invest €20 million euros into the centre that should employ a total of 450 researchers and engineers.
  • The operator of suburban transport in Bratislava Region, Arriva, predicts it will reach 90-percent transport serviceability by February 2022. Its spokesperson said that Arriva expects 80 percent of scheduled connections will be dispatched before Christmas.
  • Thirty MPs turned to the Constitutional Court, requesting the suspension of section 363 of the Penal Code. Alojz Baránik, whose amendment in parliament was turned down this week, and MP Miroslav Kollár lead the group of government deputies. General Prosecutor Maroš Žilinka, meanwhile, has sent a complaint to the Senate of the Supreme Court, which recently criticised him for using the paragraph. (Denník N)
  • The best hospital of 2021 in the category of state university and teaching hospitals was F. D. Roosevelt University Hospital in Banská Bystrica, for the fourth time in a row.
  • The recent discovery of Slovak scientist Miroslav Baláž regarding the mechanism on how fats break down in the human body has recently been published in the prestigious Nature Metabolism scientific magazine.

Do not miss on today

Guidelines for investment support across Slovakia Read more  Universities say no to ministry's concession. They insist the reform will threaten their autonomy Read more  Slovaks have unearthed Bronze Age treasure Read more  Nearly as many cars as people. Statistical yearbook says a lot about Bratislava Read more 

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