News digest: Two MPs kicked out of party after Fico vote

Sporting events should be safer. Despite few barriers, some Ukrainian refugees have trouble finding jobs. Learn more in today's digest.

(Source: / Hej,ty)

Good evening. Here is the Thursday, May 5 edition of Today in Slovakia - the main news of the day in less than five minutes.

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OĽaNO expels two MPs

After parliament voted against allowing the arrest and pre-trail custody of former prime minister Robert Fico, the ruling Ordinary People and Independent Personalities (OĽaNO) expelled two MPs from its party.

Of all 150 present MPs, 74 voted in favour of prosecutors' request to take Fico into custody. Along with the Sme Rodina caucus, two OĽaNO MPs did not give their backing - Romana Tabák who did not vote, and Katarína Hatráková, who abstained. Both Tabak and Hatráková were suspended immediately after the vote with OĽaNO caucus leader Michal Šipoš saying they had betrayed the party's values.

Observers see the vote as a failure of Igor Matovič and his party to deliver on pre-election promises of fighting corruption and restoring justice in Slovakia.

Prosecutors demanded Smer chair Robert Fico be taken into pre-trial custody request. He and former interior minister Robert Kaliňák have been accused of establishing an organised crime group, and breaking secrecy laws on trade, banking, correspondence, telecommunications, and tax.

'Risky' events to be made safer

If you want to get to a sporting event considered risky, from June 2022 you'll have to provide your full name when you buy a ticket which will then be checked and your identity confirmed before you are allowed entry.

On Thursday, MPs approved an amendment on what attendees of sports events are allowed to wear, and also increases fines for offences and violence, as well as introducing other changes to ensure sporting events are safer.

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Among other things, organisers will have to manage and keep a list of all visitors to the event, and if needed, provide it to police.

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Refugees from Ukraine

  • 1,818 women, 801 men and 498 children crossed the Slovak-Ukrainian border on May 4. The overall number of refugees who have come to Slovakia since the war started is almost 394,000 and almost 74,000 have asked for temporary protection.
  • A Ukrainian refugee hotspot in Košice may close. It was set up at popular swimming pool building located close to the city's railway and bus stations. However, the coming summer season might see an end to its operation.
  • The Banská Bystrica Self-Governing Region has set up a call centre to help refugees.

Picture of the day

Dubnica nad Váhom-based company Konštrukta-Defence will help in the manufacture of Finnish 8x8 Patria armoured vehicles.

Feature story of the day

Lilia Koveina has degrees in international economic relations and English from two universities in Dnipro, central Ukraine. She fled the war in her country and now lives in Sliač, near Zvolen. When she arrived she didn't think it would be difficult to find a job.

But things are not going as she had expected as, she explains, most employers are either looking for waitresses or kitchen helpers . To make matters worse, Koveina doesn't speak Slovak. Even though she tried waitressing, her boss eventually laid her off because of the language barrier.

Parliament approved a law - Lex Ukraine - aimed at making the life of Ukrainian refugees in Slovakia easier. Even though the legislation helped, there remains more to do in integrating Ukrainian refugees.

Among the tens of thousands of refugees are those with skills that could help Slovakia's long-standing problems with a 'brain drain'.

Refugees struggling with work options despite new law Read more 

In other news

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will address Slovak MPs on Thursday May 10 via teleconference. The call is planned for 12.00 PM. Zelensky has spoken to several national parliaments since the war in Ukraine began.
  • In cooperation with the KOSIT company, the Košice Self-governing Region plans to produce hydrogen from waste to be used as fuel. The company operates one of two facilities in Slovakia that convert unrecyclable waste into energy. KOSIT is able to turn up to 120,000 tonnes of such waste into heat or electric energy.
  • A chairlift operated between Železná studnička and Kamzík in Bratislava has been partially repaired and is now open to the general public until the end of August. Visitors to the forest park can ride it from Thursday to Sunday including holidays. Its repair and modernization will continue from September.
  • Compressor and condensing unit manufacturer Embraco Slovakia, will shut down production lines in Spišská Nová Ves for four working days from May 12 to 17 as the war in Ukraine has caused overall demand for their products to decline.
  • Police in Žilina are investigating defaced billboards in Strečno, after the letter "z" was sprayed in white on seven billboards displaying the blue and yellow colours of the Ukrainian flag.

More on

Lipšic blocked in garage, Žilinka's loose wheels: Kuciak murder retrial continues Read more  Increase in solar energy use by Slovaks Read more 

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