News digest: Flat once famously rented by Robert Fico sells for over €1.5m

People with reduced immunity can enroll for a second booster shot. PM Heger tables new sanctions against Russia at EU summit.

(Source: SME.sk / Hej,ty)

Good afternoon. Here is a quick summary of the main news of the day in our Friday, March 11, 2022 edition of Today in Slovakia.

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Location of bomb shelters becomes a live issue

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has served as a sharp reminder to hospitals, municipalities and the national government to check the state of their civil protection shelters. Since the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s, most of these have remained little changed since they were first constructed in the 1950s and 60s, and now contain obsolete ventilation systems and electricity supplies.

“You know very well that civil protection has been the very last thing to receive attention for the past 30 years,” said Interior Minister Roman Mikulec (OĽaNO), as quoted by the Sme daily.

Although there are, in theory, numerous shelters in Bratislava, many are now used for other, incompatible purposes.

The borough of Petržalka has fewer than most but has identified 24 potential underground shelters with a capacity of 25,000 places, plus some others that are in private hands.

In the past, it was assumed that people in Petržalka would hide during a crisis in the tunnels of the underground metro. One problem: the metro was never built.


More on the war in Ukraine

  • Slovak PM Eduard Heger tabled proposals for new sanctions against Russia at a summit of EU leaders in Versailles. These include a complete ban on all international transactions in rubles, the cutting off of all Russian and Belarus banks from the SWIFT international payment system, and a ban on public pension funds from holding Russian assets. In addition, Slovakia has proposed imposing restrictions on the largest Russian state enterprises that trade commodities such as gold, diamonds, titanium and aluminium.
  • President Zuzana Čaputová is calling for more trustworthy suppliers of natural gas. She wrote on social networks on Friday that anyone still maintaining that Slovakia should remain dependent on Russian gas is acting against the interests of the Slovak Republic and directly endangering the security of its people.
  • The Transport Ministry has prepared, in cooperation with the Association of Towns and Municipalities of Slovakia (ZMOS), an information system for booking accommodation for refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine. The system will encompass all state facilities as well as registered hotels and boarding houses. The system will resemble systems used to book hotel rooms, thanks to which information about capacity will be constantly updated.
  • The city of Prešov has sent, in cooperation with the civic association Podaj Ďalej, plus journalists and city deputies, the first convoy of humanitarian aid to its partner city Mukachevo in Ukraine.
  • The Council for Broadcasting and Retransmission (RVR) is offering operators that want to include Ukrainian broadcasting into their offer consulting and assistance.
  • Another rally in support of Ukraine and its citizens entitled 'Peace of Ukraine: For Your and Our Freedom - We will Win Together!' will take place at SNP Square in Bratislava today from 17:00.

Photo of the day

After 17 years, the Bezručova Polyclinic in Bratislava reopened on March 7, following extensive reconstruction. The medical centres it contains began launching operations in the complex on the same day; there will eventually be eight medical centres in total. The reconstruction prompted protests by architecture experts after it resulted in part of this national cultural monument from the 1930s being demolished.

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Feature story for today

On a Monday, when her classmates returned to school after the weekend, they shared what adventures they had experienced in the Bratislava woods, asking Trang Pham Thi Thu about hers.

“You’ve never been to the woods?” they asked, bewildered.

“In Vietnam, there’s no forest, just jungle,” Pham Thi Thu, who goes by the name of Niki in Slovakia, had to explain.

She was eight years old when her family moved from northern Vietnam to Bratislava in the early nineties. Hiking, and sports in general, were hobbies that Pham Thi Thu was never encouraged to do. She stepped into a forest for the first time during a week-long primary school trip and played handball and football behind her parents’ backs.

'I often imagined I didn't live in Slovakia, but in Vietnam': A Vietnamese-Slovak recounts her childhood Read more 

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Other news

  • 9,923 people were newly diagnosed as Covid positive out of 17,210 PCR tests performed on Thursday. The number of people in hospitals with Covid is 2,425. 30 more deaths were reported on Thursday. The vaccination rate stands at 51.24 percent, with 2,818,203 people having received a first dose of a vaccine. More stats on Covid-19 in Slovakia here.
  • Following seasonal adjustments, in January 2022 total exports of goods reached €8.1 billion, with y-o-y growth of 15.6 percent. Overall imports of goods increased by 27.7 percent to €8.4 billion. The trade deficit equalled €298.3 million. Imports exceeded exports for the ninth consecutive month, the Statistics Office reported.
  • A man from the Czech Republic has bought the flat originally owned by Ladislav Bašternák in which former PM Robert Fico used to live. The winning bid at auction was almost €1.6 million. Bašternák was stripped of the flat in the Bonaparte complex after he was convicted of tax fraud.
  • The National Health Information Centre (NCZI) has launched registrations for fourth vaccination doses against Covid for people with reduced immunity. Patients older than 18 years can apply for what will be their second booster shot via the website www.korona.gov.sk. They can select from four vaccines: Comirnaty (Pfizer/BioNTech), Spikevax (Moderna), Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) and Nuvaxovid (Novovax).
  • Agriculture Minister Samuel Vlčan, the head of the Trade Association Nadežda Machutová and the chairman of the Slovak Alliance of Modern Trade Martin Krajčovič signed the Declaration on Price Stability of Essential Foodstuffs, guaranteeing unchanged prices for thirteen essential foodstuffs. These are pork ham, pulled chicken, pork sausages, white rolls, fruit yoghurt, bread, fresh butter, chicken breast, cheese, size M hen’s eggs, pork loin, long-life semi-skimmed milk and wheat flour.

Don't miss inSpectator.sk today

Weekend: How Putin the Killer emerged Read more  The real work of “denazification” lies ahead Read more  Unwind in a 13th-century spa in the green foothills Read more  Qualified foreign workers safeguard jobs in Slovakia in the long run Read more 

If you have suggestions on how this news overview can be improved, you can reach us at editorial@spectator.sk.

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