Good evening. Here is the Friday, January 20 edition of Today in Slovakia – the main news of the day in less than five minutes.
For weekend events and news on travel and culture in Slovakia, see the latest edition of our Spectacular Slovakia newsletter.
Mole, not dynamite, to bore the 12-km tunnel Karpaty in Bratislava
During the final days of 2022, the Environment Ministry greenlit the construction of a highway stretch connecting Rača and Záhorská Bystrica, both boroughs of Bratislava, with the 11.76-kilometre Karpaty tunnel going through the Small Karpatian mountain range.
The tunnel would not be constructed via dynamite, but by a tunnel-boring machine also known as a “mole”. It is a machine used to excavate tunnels with a circular cross section. The Silverton Tunnel under the Thames in London was built via this method, for example. In Slovakia, this system has not been used.
The stretch will be part of the Bratislava bypass currently created by the D4 highway and R7 dual carriageway.
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Anniversary of the week
Slovakia marked the 17th anniversary of the tragic aviation accident in the Hungarian village of Hejce. On January 19, 2006, 41 soldiers and one civilian employee were killed in the crash of an AN-24 plane near the Hungarian village of Hejce, at Borso Hill when returning from a KFOR mission in Kosovo. Only one soldier survived. This was the biggest aviation accident in the 30-year history of independent Slovakia.
Feature story for today
Three months ago, she was seriously injured by a gunman during the attack on Tepláreň, an LGBT+ bar in Bratislava. Two of her friends, Matúš Horváth and Juraj Vankulič, were killed in the shooting. She underwent a difficult operation and is gradually trying to return to normal life.
RADKA TROKŠIAROVÁ talks about how the attack changed the LGBT+ minority and the fact that older people are often underestimated when it comes to issues of otherness.
More stories from The Slovak Spectator website:
- TOURISM: Iconic barns in Liptov are declining.
- PHOTOGRAPHY: Photographer Štefan Cipár helps citizens of Bratislava to know their city better and shows them various corners, such as the socialist dormitory of Družba.
- SKIING: Shorter seasons could make many ski resorts unsustainable, Environment Ministry's analysis shows.
Picture of the day
- On Saturday, January 21, Slovakia will hold its ninth national referendum since the creation of the independent state in 1993. Eligible voters will answer whether they agree that the early end of the parliamentary term can be carried out by referendum, or a resolution of the parliament by amending the Constitution of the Slovak Republic. Eligible voters, i.e. those eligible to cast votes in a parliamentary election, will be able to cast ballots at 5,682 polling stations from 7:00 until 22:00. The results will be announced on Sunday, January 22. Based on the Slovak Constitution, the results of a referendum are valid if more than half of eligible voters participate in it.
- Bratislava’s Lumière cinema, damaged by fire last September, has found a temporary home. From January 19, it will screen on the premises of the Film and Television Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts (FTF VŠMU) at Svoradova 2 and in the cinema of the Slovak National Gallery on Riečna 1.
- Last year the dominant electricity producer Slovenské Elektrárne (SE) produced a record amount of electricity at nuclear power plants. The electricity generation at the Mochovce power plant exceeded 8,000 GWh for the first time in history. This amount accounted for about 26 percent of electricity consumption in Slovakia. In total, SE supplied 17,039 GWh of electricity to the grid in 2022.
- The registered unemployment rate in Slovakia amounted to 5.9 percent in December 2022, up 0.07 percentage points from the previous month, interim Labour Minister Milan Krajniak told a news conference held on Friday. In 2022, the registered unemployment rate was 5.95, down 0.81 percentage points y/y.
- Parliament also failed to open a special session aimed at dealing with high energy prices and other measures to tackle failures in public policies on Friday, January 20. As was the case twice on Thursday, January 19, there were not enough MPs in the chamber to form a quorum. Its points will be suggested the agenda of the regular parliamentary session scheduled to start on January 31.
- Last year, the government’s communication with entrepreneurs was the worst since 2010. Only 1 percent of participants in the survey of the Slovak Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SOPK) positively evaluated it. Almost 60 percent had a negative opinion. The share of positive evaluations of the government’s communication with entrepreneurs has shown a slight downward trend since 2015. In 2020, 5 percent of respondents expressed a positive opinion, in 2021 only 4 percent.
- The Health Ministry is launching an inoculation against Covid-19 with new vaccines produced by Sanofi Pasteur, Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech as of January 30. People can apply for vaccination as of January 26 via the korona.gov.sk website, or by phoning the National Health Information Centre's (NCZI) call centre.
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