Tag Archives: Central Europe

Two skiers ‘denied existence’ in Slovakia avalanche.

Advertisements

Completed early on Sunday, the rescue operation involved a dozen HZS rescuers and volunteers along with dogs and their handlers.

Two Polish skiers have died in an avalanche in Slovakia’s High Tatra Mountains, rescuers said Sunday.

Slovakia’s Mountain Rescue Service (HZS) said three skiers were caught by an avalanche near the Kondratova Kopa mountain in the western High Tatras on Saturday evening.

Advertisements

“One of them managed to dig himself out and contacted rescuers who began a mission on snowmobiles and skis. They discovered two bodies of Polish skiers,” the HZS said in a statement.

A Polish rescue team found the man who survived and placed the emergency call, the HZS said.

“He was also covered in snow but managed to free himself. He then tried to find friends with an avalanche finder, but without success,” according to the HZS.

Completed early on Sunday, the rescue operation involved a dozen HZS rescuers and volunteers along with dogs and their handlers.

Advertisements

Kondratova Kopa is a mountain on the border with Poland with an elevation of 2,005 metres (6,600 feet).

Tourists and skiers flooded Poland’s popular nearby Zakopane and other mountain resorts this weekend after the government eased coronavirus restrictions, opening ski hills and allowing hotels to operate at half capacity

Advertisements

#Newsworthy

Hundreds rally against COVID-19 restrictions in Switzerland.

Advertisements

Most countries around the world impacted by the coronavirus require their citizens to wear masks, as health officials have said face coverings help curb the spread of the virus.

Hundreds of protesters marched in Switzerland on Saturday against coronavirus restrictions after the health minister said the current restrictions will stay in place through the end of February.

Advertisements

Approximately 500 protesters marched through the Swiss city of Zug to protest against what they see as unfair restrictions, Reuters reported.

Switzerland tightened its rules last month, closing nonessential stores, requiring masks in stores that remain open, having employees work from home if possible and limiting gatherings to five people.

NoRM reported that demonstrators protesting Swiss Health Minister Alain Berset’s extension of the restrictions wore protective suits and carried signs reading, “Wearing a mask is modern slavery.”

Advertisements

Most countries around the world impacted by the coronavirus require their citizens to wear masks, as health officials have said face coverings help curb the spread of the virus.

“I want to make a statement, that the citizens are the ones who are in control, and the state should be there to serve its citizens,” a person from the protest told Reuters.

“I’m a grandmother,” another person said. “I don’t want my grandchildren to grow up in a world where so much is forbidden.”

Switzerland does have lighter restrictions than some other countries, with their schools still allowed to be open. However, debate continues around the world over how far coronavirus restrictions should go.

Advertisements

No arrests were made at Saturday’s protest, as the police stayed out of the protesters’ way, Reuters reported.

Switzerland has seen almost 9,000 people dead and 530,000 people infected since the start of the pandemic, with new concerns surrounding a United Kingdom strand of the virus, which has been shown to be more contagious and possibly more deadly.

Advertisements

#Newsworthy

Slovakian acquitted of ordering murder of journalist.

Advertisements

Marian Kocner and one co-defendant are cleared of murder in the killings of journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancee.


A panel of judges in Slovakia has acquitted a businessman accused of masterminding the 2018 murders of investigative journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancee Martina Kusnirova.

Judge Ruzena Sabova at the Specialised Criminal Court in Pezinok said on Thursday there was not enough evidence for the convictions of the businessman, Marian Kocner, and one co-defendant.

A third defendant was convicted and sentenced to 25 years in prison. Prosecutors can appeal the verdicts.

“The only thing I can say is I’m disgusted,” the journalist’s father, Jozef Kuciak, told reporters.

Advertisements

Kuciak was shot in the chest and Kusnirova was shot in the head at their home in the town of Velka Maca, east of Bratislava, on February 21, 2018.

During Kocner’s trial, prosecutors told the court that the businessman had allegedly threatened the journalist following publication of a story about his business dealings. Overall, Kuciak published nine stories about Kocner.

Kocner had allegedly threatened the journalist after publication of a story about him [Radovan Stoklasa/Reuters]

Kuciak filed a complaint over the alleged threats in 2017 and had claimed that police failed to act on it. He had been investigating possible government corruption when he was killed.

Advertisements

Previous convictions
Two other defendants previously were convicted and sentenced.

Former soldier Miroslav Marcek pleaded guilty to shooting Kuciak and Kusnirova and was sentenced to 23 years in prison in April. Prosecutors said Kocner paid Marcek to carry out the killings.

Another defendant who had acted as a go-between, Zoltan Andrusko, agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in exchange for a lesser sentence and received a 15-year prison term in December. He testified that Kocner ordered the slayings.

The killings prompted large street protests unseen since the 1989 anti-Communist Velvet Revolution and a political crisis that led to the collapse of the government.


#Newsworthy…

Czech Senate President tells Taiwan Parliament ‘He’s Taiwanese’

Advertisements

Comments are likely to rile China, which has threatened to make Milos Vystrcil pay a ‘heavy price’ for visiting island.


The president of the Czech Senate declared that he was Taiwanese in a speech at Taiwan’s parliament on Tuesday, channelling late US President John F Kennedy’s defiance of Communism in Berlin in 1963, in remarks likely to further rile Beijing.

Addressing Taiwan’s parliament on Thursday, Milos Vystrcil, who is leading a delegation of about 90 politicians and business executives, said Kennedy’s declaration: “Ich bin ein Berliner,” was an important message for freedom.

“Please allow me to use the same method to express support for Taiwan’s people. Allow me to be so humble but also resolute in saying to your country’s parliament that I am Taiwanese,” Vystrcil said to a standing ovation.

Vystrcil spoke in Czech and his comments were translated into Mandarin.

Advertisements

China claims the democratically ruled island as its territory and has already threatened to make Vystrcil pay a “heavy price” for his visit.

The Czech Republic, like most countries, has no formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

Kennedy’s speech in 1963, telling the people of West Berlin who were surrounded by Communist-ruled East Germany that he too was a Berliner, is often seen as one of Kennedy’s greatest speeches.

Advertisements

Vystrcil has said his Taiwan visit underscores the “values-based” foreign policy put in place by late President Vaclav Havel, a dissident under the country’s Communist rule and a personal friend of the exiled Tibetan leader, the Dalai Lama.

Vystrcil is the first senior foreign politician from a non-diplomatic ally of Taiwan to deliver a speech at Taiwan’s parliament.

Czech Senate President Milos Vystrcil receives a medal before delivering a speech at the main chamber of the Legislative Yuan in Taipei, Taiwan [Ann Wang/ Reuters]

Taiwan Legislative Yuan Speaker You Si-kun said Vystrcil’s Taiwan visit not only strengthened the friendship between the two countries but would also deepen democracy.

While the Czech government has not supported his visit, it has been upset by China’s strong condemnation and has summoned the Chinese ambassador in Prague. Beijing on Monday also summoned the Czech ambassador.

Advertisements

Czech Foreign Minister Tomas Petricek said earlier on Monday he expected China to explain the threat against Vystrcil.

“Of course the journey has an impact on our relationships with China, but I think this has gone too far,” he told journalists.

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis has labelled the statement “impertinent and inappropriate”.

Czech President Milos Zeman has sought closer business and political ties with China since taking office in 2013, but his efforts have been hit by failed investment plans and Czech wavering about allowing China’s Huawei Technologies to play a role in developing next-generation telecoms networks.

SOURCE: Noble Reporters Media, News Agencies


#Newsworthy…