News Summary: Could Tiso’s birthplace become a place of pilgrimage for neo-Nazis?
Slovak automaker Kia is launching mass production of a plug-in hybrid version of its latest Sportage model. The presidential palace lit up in blue and yellow in support of Ukraine.
Good evening. This Thursday, February 17 edition of Today in Slovakia summarizes the main news of the day in five minutes of reading.
Municipality to decide fate of wartime president’s birthplace
Birthplace of Jozef Tiso in Bytča (Source: Sme – Peter Kapitán)
Councilors in Bytča, a town in northwestern Slovakia, will soon decide what will become of the house where Jozef Tiso, president of the infamous wartime Slovak state, was born.
The house is in very poor condition, but only half belongs to the municipality; the other half is owned by the Slovenský Dejepisný Spolok (Slovak Historical Society), an organization close to Marian Kotleba’s far-right ĽSNS party.
The company’s president regularly takes part in anniversary celebrations to mark the founding of the Nazi-allied war state on March 14, and also holds them in Tiso’s house, writes Michal Katuška, a journalist with the daily Sme.
The company made several attempts to obtain full ownership of the house. In 2019, shortly after the last municipal elections, all city officials rejected the last attempt, but now only half of them openly oppose it.
Some advisers fear that the house could become a place of pilgrimage for extremists.
Košice will have an air connection to Germany
Passengers from Vienna arrive in Košice on June 22, 2020. (Source: TASR)
Direct flights between Germany and eastern Slovakia will resume after a nearly two-year hiatus.
From April 15, the low-cost carrier Eurowings will restore flights between Košice and Düsseldorf.
Planes will be dispatched three times a week – Mondays, Fridays and Sundays. They will leave in the afternoon and the flights will last approximately two hours.
Coronavirus and vaccination news
Omicron has led to an increase in the number of new positive cases. (Source: TASR)
- 18,443 people were newly diagnosed with Covid out of 32,730 PCR tests performed on Wednesday. The number of people hospitalized is 2,547 people. Another 34 deaths were reported on Wednesday. The vaccination rate is now 51.16%, with 2,782,979 people having received the first dose of a vaccine. More statistics on Covid-19 in Slovakia here.
- Omicron variant was found in 95.4% of sequenced samples last week, the health ministry reported.
- Novavax vaccines are expected to arrive in Slovakia on February 21. Registration of this vaccine was launched this week on korona.gov.sk.
Photo of the day
The presidential palace was bathed in the blue-yellow colors of Ukraine on February 16. “It is an expression of solidarity and support for our neighbor and all its people,” President Zuzana Čaputová wrote on Facebook.
The presidential palace in Bratislava was illuminated in the colors of the Ukrainian flag on February 16. (Source: Presidential Palace Facebook)
The story of the day
As a child, Tomáš Slovinský was fascinated by the night sky. He was curious about the secrets of the cosmos and enjoyed watching eclipses and meteor showers. Then one day he pointed the lens of an old camera at the night sky and was amazed to discover how much more of the universe, especially its colors, his camera could capture compared to the naked eye. .
And that’s how the native of Košice started astrophotography.
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In other news
- Entrepreneurs whose businesses had to close in the third wave can apply for funding until the end of April. The original date was until the end of February. The Ministry of the Economy has already processed 5,000 requests for an amount of more than 5 million euros.
- The Ministry of Agriculture says it has discovered a criminal group that exchanged certificates to export flowers outside the EU. According to Minister Samuel Vlčan, goods bearing official Slovak stamps have been circulating for years, unchecked. Vlčan said the international group has been operating since 2008 and issued 10,000 certificates illegally last year. The certificates must state that the goods do not contain harmful substances or organisms. According to the ministry, the trucks carrying the goods also did not cross Slovak territory, and although flowers were declared on the certificates, it is not known what was actually in the vehicles. If the certificates had been issued legally, Slovakia would have received 2 to 3 million euros per year.
- The Antimonopoly Office has cleared Czech billionaire Radovan Vítek’s CPI Property Group to take over Austria’s Immofinanz, which includes the Vivo! shopping center in Bratislava. The Czech office has already taken a similar decision.
- The Union of Slovak Road Carriers (UNAS) wants to discuss its needs with Finance Minister Igor Matovič and Transport Minister Andrej Doležal. Carriers have made the end of the blockade of several border crossings by their trucks conditional on negotiations and the search for an agreement. Disgruntled carriers are also demanding Doležal’s ousting or resignation.
- Parliament will begin an extraordinary session to consider a motion of no confidence in Interior Minister Roman Mikulec (OĽaNO) on February 18 at 9 a.m. The vote of no confidence was launched by the opposition parties Smer and Hlas and unaffiliated MPs around Tomáš Taraba. The government has expressed support for Mikulec.
- Automaker Kia, which has a plant near Žilina, has started mass production of a plug-in hybrid version of its latest Sportage model.
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