Good afternoon. The weekend is coming and we have prepared a quick summary of the main news of the day in our Friday, January 14, 2022 edition of Today in Slovakia. We wish you a pleasant read.
For weekend tips and reads, check out ourSpectacular Slovakia weekly roundup. This week, Peter Dlhopolec is writing about Hriňová's outdoor pool, postcards that will be sent to space, and a Slovak sculptor who left for America and never came back.
Bratislava's Istropolis will be demolished soon
The Istropolis culture and congress centre close to the heart of Bratislava might become a mere memory in a short period of time. Its owner, developer Immocap, has announced that it has acquired valid permission to remove the building, with the demolition work expected to start in mid-January. Immocap plans to replace it with a project named New Istropolis.
Architectural experts are against the demolition of the building.
“With the demolition of Istropolis at Trnava Mýto in Bratislava, Slovakia will lose an iconic architectural complex and at the same time the largest cultural and social centre in the country,” wrote representatives of the Slovak arm of the international organisation Docomomo, which deals with the history and preservation of modern architecture.
Coronavirus and vaccination news
- 1,888 people were newly diagnosed as Covid positive out of 8,495 PCR tests performed on January 13. The number of people in hospitals is 1,861 and 60 more deaths were reported on January 13. The vaccination rate is 50.33 percent; 2,768,273 people have received the first dose of the vaccine. More stats on Covid-19 in Slovakia are available here.
- The deadline for people over the age of 60 to receive a €300 bonus for getting vaccinated against Covid-19 was extended to January 31, Finance Minister Igor Matovič said.
- Health Minister Vladimír Lengvarský conceded that mandatory quarantine for those with Covid-19 could be shortened. Prime Minister Eduard Heger confirmed this has been a point of discussion within the ruling coalition. Several organisations and companies in Slovakia have warned about the potential mass shortages of employees that might result from the next wave of the pandemic caused by the Omicron variant.
- Testing in companies, if it is further extended, should take place only once a week now, Economy Minister Richard Sulík said on Friday, January 14. He assured the public that it will not be twice a week as recently indicated. Originally, companies were to test their staffers only until the end of 2021, but this obligation was extended to January 31.
- At the beginning of the next week, the Public Health Authority (ÚVZ) will issue new ordinances related to the anti-pandemic measures adopted by the cabinet on Wednesday, January 12. Until then, the current measures are in effect.
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Feature story for today
Slovak mountain rescuers spent almost the whole past weekend searching for three missing Poles under the Kotlový Štít peak. They found them all dead.
Originally, four Polish citizens set out from Poland on a hike to the Tatras. While one decided to hike to the saddle known as Sedlo pod Ostrvou, the rest continued to Gerlach, Slovakia’s highest peak. They were to meet on Friday night, January 7, by their car, which was parked in the village of Tatranská Polianka. The three men did not show up, so their friend alerted mountain rescuers.
The chief of the Mountain Rescue Service, Miroslav Živčák, claims that rescuers are very often called in to intervene in the mountains after significant warming, as seen in the last few days, and after subsequent cooling without precipitation.
Photo of the day
Economy Minister Richard Sulík reported on Friday, January 14, about the promulgation of an architectural competition for the comprehensive refurbishment of the state Sliač spa.
- Parliament will hold an extraordinary session on Tuesday, January 18, to discuss the proposal to launch a national referendum on the Defence Cooperation Agreement (DCA) with the USA, initiated by the opposition party Smer of Robert Fico along with independents centred around Tomáš Taraba.
- Speaker of Parliament Boris Kollár has convened a roundtable at which representatives of the relevant political parties, including the opposition, will discuss legislation related to a referendum on an early election. It will take place on Tuesday, January 18.
- Over 480,000 passengers passed through Bratislava Airport last year. Two-thirds of passengers used regular flights and one-third travelled on charter or non-scheduled flights, said Dušan Keketi, chairman of the Board of Directors and General Manager of M. R. Štefánik Airport. Last year, compared to 2020, some 18.5 percent or 75,000 more passengers passed through the largest domestic airport, which was almost five times behind the pre-pandemic year of 2019.
- People in Slovakia have until February 6 to send postcards into space, said Matej Poliaček from the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC). Since the launch of the initiative on December 6, 2021, more than 100 Slovaks have sent their postcards to the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology of the Slovak Technical University. From here, they will be sent to the foundation Club for the Future and then into space by the spaceship New Shepard of Blue Origin.
- Following his release from custody earlier on Thursday, Nitra-based entrepreneur Norbert Bödör was detained by an investigator of the National Crime Agency (NAKA) later in the day. Andrea Dobiášová of the Police Corps Presidium confirmed his detention. Bödör is already accused in another criminal case.
- The coronavirus crisis has affected low-skilled workers the most and the long-term unemployment rate remains high, points out the latest OECD Economic Survey of the Slovak Republic. The organisation recommends Slovakia extend its measures related to the labour market, especially its requalification programmes for low-skilled workers. The OECD report predicts pension spending in Slovakia to grow faster than in most other EU countries. It recommends linking retirement age and the minimum number of years of service to life expectancy and reconsidering the planned introduction of a parental bonus.
- Four carmakers in Slovakia produced just over 1 million cars last year. This is a 4-percent increase compared to the previous year. The same volume is expected to roll off assembly lines this year as well, the Slovak Automotive Industry Association (ZAP) reported.
- The year-on-year price growth in December was 5.8 percent, which was the highest monthly value since December 2004, the Statistics Office announced on Friday, January 14. Analysts predict that the prices of goods and services will continue to grow in the coming months.
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