News digest: White Crow awards for civic courage go to owner of gay bar and

A bench once used by singer Miroslav “Meky” Žbirka returns, ‘quick commerce’ in Slovakia is reaching its limits, and snow cannons in the High Tatras are now on.

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Good evening. Here is the Friday, November 18 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.

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Meky Žbirka’s legendary bench returns to Bratislava’s Račianske Mýto

A bench once used by Miroslav “Meky” Žbirka, a legendary Slovak singer dubbed “the fifth member of the Beatles” because of his devotion to the band’s music, has returned to Račianske Mýto Square in Bratislava. The city council, in cooperation with Žbirka’s widow Katarína, refurbished the bench and added the singer’s signature to it, along with a few lines from the lyrics of one of his songs.

Between 1966 and 1967, Žbirka (1952 – 2021) was in the habit of sitting in the square and playing songs by the Beatles, the Bee Gees and Elvis Presley to his friends.

Žbirka died just over a year ago, on November 10 2021. This year, the city prepared a commemorative event at the restored bench to mark the anniversary.

Meky had a very strong relationship with Bratislava, as well as with the park on Račianske Mýto, noted Katarína Žbirková.

“On the bench are the lyrics of the song The City Sleeps, which it is about Bratislava and which was created in Bratislava,” she said, as quoted by the SITA newswire. “He would certainly be glad that anyone can sit on his bench from now on, and play the guitar, like he did years ago.”

Today’s feature story

‘Q-commerce’ expert questions whether delivery within 15 minutes makes sense

Some – perhaps most – of the habits that people developed during the pandemic are expected to persist. So are the services that responded to people’s needs, including so-called quick commerce.

Quick commerce (q-commerce), a type of e-commerce where the emphasis is on rapid delivery, typically in less than an hour, grew has grown dramatically in recent years. It is projected to increase further by 2030, especially for grocery shopping. In some countries, it could reach up to 30 percent of total purchases, according to estimates by the Finnish company Wolt, which entered the Slovak food delivery market just before the pandemic, in September 2019.

“Customers now practically expect the delivery of goods immediately, including food,” said Jana Trnovská, general director of Wolt Market for the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Related article Delivery within 15 minutes not effective, q-commerce expert says Read more 

More stories on Spectator.sk:

  • TRAVEL: A waterfall in the Liptov region is now lit up.
  • HISTORY: Otto Smik, who loved planes from an early age, became one of the best Czechoslovak pilots to serve in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War – and the top Slovak pilot.
  • ENERGY: An expert shares advice on how to save money on the energy used by households.

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Anniversary of the week

If we lose our freedom, the only way to get it back will be through tough sacrifices. That’s why there’s a need to maintain our memory of history – so that we aren’t divided by any iron curtain again – said President Zuzana Čaputová at the Gate of Freedom memorial in Bratislava’s Devín on Thursday, November 17. Yesterday Slovakia marked the 33rd anniversary of the fall of the totalitarian communist regime.

Other news

  • The White Crow awards for civic courage were given out for the 15th time on November 17. One White Crow award went to Roman Samotný, the owner of a Bratislava LGBT+ bar in front of which an extremist killed two queer people in October. The long-time environmental activist and coordinator of the civic association Slatinka, Martina Paulíková, received the second award. This is an association that for almost 30 years has been trying to prevent the construction of a water reservoir that would flood the village of Slatinka and destroy rare natural habitats. For the first time in history, the White Crow Council decided to award a symbolic award to anyone who helped war-torn Ukraine.
  • Ukraine has received the seventh out of a total of eight Slovak-made Zuzana 2 155mm self-propelled howitzers, which are being supplied to Kyiv under a Slovak-Ukrainian commercial contract, the Defence Ministry announced in a press release.
  • 5,000 people die unnecessarily every year in Slovakia, Chairman of the Medical Trade Unions Association (LOZ) Peter Visolajský said at a protest rally on Thursday titled “Let’s Save Healthcare”. According to Visolajský, these people are dying needlessly because doctors are not able to give them the care they need. He said that doctors are demanding that the government provide them with the conditions necessary to properly take care of their patients.
  • On Monday, November 21, the municipal forestry company Mestské Lesy v Bratislave (MLB) will hold another mass hunt of wild boars in the city’s forests. The hunting will take place in the Krásny Vrch area above the Krasňany district in Bratislava, between 8:00 and 13:00. As a result, the red hiking trail Tri Duby-Spariská and the Krasňanský trail will be closed for the duration of the hunt.
  • The ski resort at Tatranská Lomnica, in the High Tatras, turned on its snow cannons to cover the ski slope Čučoriedky – Západ on November 17, thus utilising favourable weather conditions. If everything goes according to plan, the first skiers should be able to use the slopes at Štrbské Pleso on December 10 and in Tatranská Lomnica on December 17. In Jasná, in the Low Tatras, the season should start even earlier.
  • Last year, Slovaks generated 2.7 million tons of municipal waste. On average, each Slovak thus threw away an average of 497 kilograms of garbage. This amounts to approximately 1.4 kilograms of waste per day, WOOD & Company analyst Eva Sadovská told the TASR newswire, citing data from the Statistics Office.
  • The European Commission is calling on Slovakia to incorporate spending limits into the state budget for 2023. If it does not, the country may face reputational and financial consequences, Ingrid Ludviková of the EC Representation Office in Slovakia told the TASR newswire. Slovakia set the introduction of spending limits as one of the milestones of its Recovery and Resilience Plan and declared it to be fulfilled following the adoption of the relevant legislation in March. However, the Finance Ministry rejected the formula of the Council for Budget Responsibility for calculation of these limits and did not include them in the draft state budget.

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Picture of the day

This autumn will belong among the warmest ever recorded, the Slovak Hydrometeorological Institute (SHMÚ) noted on social networks.

If you have suggestions on how this news overview can be improved, you can reach us at editorial@spectator.sk.

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