News digest: Could Tiso's birthplace become a pilgrimage site for neo-Nazis?

Slovak carmaker Kia launches serial production of a plug-in hybrid version of its latest Sportage model. The Presidential Palace was lit up in blue and yellow in support of Ukraine.

(Source: SME.sk / Hej,ty)

Good evening. This Thursday, February 17 edition of Today in Slovakia summarises the main news of the day for you in a five-minute read.

Municipality to decide on fate of wartime president's birthplace

Councillors in Bytča, a town in northwest Slovakia, will soon decide what will happen to the house where Jozef Tiso, president of the infamous wartime Slovak State, was born.

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The house is in serious disrepair, but only half is owned by the municipality; the other half is the property of the Slovenský Dejepisný Spolok (Slovak Historical Society), an organisation close to Marian Kotleba's far-right ĽSNS party.

The society's chair regularly participates in anniversary celebrations to mark the founding of the Nazi-allied wartime state on March 14, and also organises them in Tiso's house, writes Michal Katuška, a reporter for the Sme daily.

The society has tried several times to gain full ownership of the house. In 2019, shortly after the last municipal elections, all the town's councillors rejected the most recent attempt, but now only half of them are openly opposed.

Some councillors are afraid that the house could become a pilgrimage site for extremists.


Košice will have a flight connection to Germany

Direct flights between Germany and eastern Slovakia will resume after an interruption of nearly two years.

Starting on April 15, low-cost carrier Eurowings will restore flights between Košice and Düsseldorf.

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The planes will be dispatched three times a week – on Mondays, Fridays and Sundays. They will depart in the afternoons and flights will take about two hours.


Coronavirus and vaccination news

  • 18,443 people were newly diagnosed as Covid-positive out of 32,730 PCR tests performed on Wednesday. The number of people in hospitals is 2,547 people. 34 more deaths were reported on Wednesday. The vaccination rate is now at 51.16 percent, with 2,782,979 people having received the first dose of a vaccine. More stats on Covid-19 in Slovakia here.
  • The Omicron variant was found in 95.4 percent of the sequenced samples in the past week, the Health Ministry reported.
  • Novavax vaccines should arrive in Slovakia on February 21. The registration for this vaccine was launched this week at korona.gov.sk.

Photo of the day

The Presidential Palace was bathed in the blue-yellow colours of Ukraine on February 16. "It is an expression of solidarity and support for our neighbour and all its people," wrote President Zuzana Čaputová on Facebook.


Feature story of the day

In his childhood, Tomáš Slovinský was fascinated by the night sky. He was curious about the secrets of the cosmos, and loved to watch eclipses and meteor showers. Then one day he pointed the lens of an old camera toward the night sky and was amazed to discover how much more of the universe, specifically its colours, his camera could capture compared to the naked eye.

And this was how the Košice-native began astrophotography.

Tomáš Slovinský: Revealing the night sky Read more 

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In other news

  • Entrepreneurs whose businesses had to be closed during the third wave can ask for funding until the end of April. The original date was until the end of February. The Economy Ministry has already dealt with 5,000 requests amounting to more than €5 million.
  • The Agriculture Ministry says it has uncovered a criminal group that traded certificates to export flowers outside the EU. According to Minister Samuel Vlčan, goods with Slovak official stamps flowed for years, without anyone checking them. Vlčan stated that the international group had been operating since 2008 and had issued 10,000 certificates illegally in the last year. Certificates should declare that the goods do not contain harmful substances or organisms. According to the ministry, the trucks with the goods did not actually cross the territory of Slovakia either, and although flowers were declared on the certificates, it is not known what was really in the vehicles. If the certificates had been issued legally, Slovakia would have received €2-3 million per year.
  • The Antimonopoly Office has allowed the CPI Property Group of Czech billionaire Radovan Vítek to take over the Austrian Immofinanz, which includes the Vivo! shopping centre in Bratislava. The Czech office has already made a similar decision.
  • The Union of Slovak Road Hauliers (UNAS) wants to discuss its requirements with Finance Minister Igor Matovič and Transport Minister Andrej Doležal. The hauliers conditioned the end of a blockade of several border crossings by their trucks on negotiations and achieving an agreement. The discontented hauliers are also demanding Doležal's ouster or resignation.
  • Parliament will start an extraordinary session to consider a motion of no confidence in Interior Minister Roman Mikulec (OĽaNO) on February 18 at 9:00. The no-confidence vote was initiated by opposition parties Smer and Hlas and non-affiliated MPs around Tomáš Taraba. The government has expressed its support for Mikulec.
  • Carmaker Kia, which has a factory near Žilina, has launched serial production of a plug-in hybrid version of its latest Sportage model.

Do not miss on Spectator.sk today

From air travel boost to a colossal crash: SkyEurope Read more  Can you conquer all these Trenčín Region landmarks in less than a year? Read more  Strong wind will give Slovakia a hard time Read more  The ministry changes the criticised manner of prescribing medications Read more 

If you have suggestions about how this news overview might be improved, please contact us at editorial@spectator.sk.

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