Good evening. The Wednesday, November 30 edition of Today in Slovakia is ready with the main news of the day in less than five minutes.
Police chief disappointed by prosecutor's decision in Twilight case
Paragraph 363 of the Criminal Code, which grants extraordinary powers to the general prosecutor, has been invoked again to halt a criminal prosecution – this time in perhaps the most sensitive political case in Slovakia's post-communist history. On this occasion, the defendants had already been given access to the case file and the prosecutor was just about to file the official indictment.
In the Súmrak (Twilight) case, Jozef Kandera, the first deputy general prosecutor, acting on behalf of General Prosecutor Maroš Žilinka, scrapped the charges against former prime minister Robert Fico and his right-hand man, former interior minister, Robert Kaliňák.
The police suspect both politicians of acting as part of a criminal group and of having extracted sensitive tax-related data from government databases to use against their political rivals, specifically former president Andrej Kiska and OĽaNO leader (now finance minister) Igor Matovič.
Q&A: Learn more about the controversial decision by the Office of the General Prosecutor.
Police chief's reaction: Štefan Hamran told the press he was unhappy about the general prosecutor's latest move in the Twilight case. It follows previous decisions to ditch corruption charges against a former finance minister, and against a former spy chief. "It is very difficult for us to get these big cases before independent and impartial courts," he said. (TASR)
Justice Minister: Viliam Karas says he has no plans to strip the Office of the General Prosecutor of its right to use the much-disputed paragraph 363, but he is open to changing it. The paragraph in the Criminal Procedure Code gives the general prosecutor the authority to override a valid decision by a prosecutor or a police officer if the law was violated by such a decision or in the proceedings that preceded it.
FEATURE STORY FOR WEDNESDAY
Despite high prices, Slovaks flock to cottages for New Year's Eve
Slovaks like to spend their winter holidays in cottages and this year is no exception. Although rental prices have risen slightly, some websites are already reporting record interest in this type of accommodation.
So, if you want to spend New Year's Eve in the cottage of your dreams, you do not have much time left. Spring vacation reservations are also filling up quickly.
If you have suggestions on how this news digest can be improved, you can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are some more stories from The Slovak Spectator website
Money: The central bank recommends that people monitor their financial situation and family budgets, warning that two-thirds of Slovaks may soon be in a financially precarious position.
Police: The Foreigners' Police have announced changes to their booking system for foreigners. Applicants can now choose which office they want to attend, irrespective of where their registered address is located.
Names: The Interior Ministry has released a list of top baby names in 2022.
OTHER WEDNESDAY NEWS IN SHORT:
- The European Commission has approved a €600-million grant scheme that is supposed to help firms in Slovakia whose energy costs have increased as a result of the war in Ukraine. The scheme will run until the end of next year.
- A teaching hospital in Prešov will provide only emergency care from December 1 to 4, despite the fact that parliament approved higher salaries for hospital doctors on the last possible day, November 30. Of 139 MPs present, 138 voted for the proposal and thereby prevented a mass walk-out by hospital doctors. Earlier in the day, the government also signed a memorandum with the doctors' union. It concerns changes to improve health care in Slovakia. (TASR, Denník N)
- The National Crime Agency has initiated a criminal prosecution on suspicions of corruption in the case of the abduction of a Vietnamese man, Trinh Xuan Thanh, in 2017. The Interior Ministry's Inspectorate Office has been investigating the case. (TASR)
- Users of the latest version of the national rail carrier's mobile application, Ideme Vlakom (Travel by Train) can now purchase international tickets as well, the ZSSK carrier announced.
- RTVS, Slovakia's public broadcaster, will permanently shut down its third television channel, Trojka, today. The channel started broadcasting in December 2019. Trojka's target audience was the over-60s.
- 365.bank will revise its bank fees from February 2023. The changes will concern account packages, with clients being charged more for cash transactions: cash withdrawals at post offices or from ATMs owned by rival banks will increase from €1 to €4. The fee to issue a new card will be €12. (SITA)
- Slovaks who wish to cast their vote in a referendum or in parliamentary elections by post from abroad will henceforth communicate with the Interior Ministry, not the town in which they have permanent residence. The change will become effective in March 2023. Slovaks abroad will still not be able to vote by post in the case of presidential elections.
Thank you for being with The Slovak Spectator tonight. Have a great evening.
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