Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico Still in Serious Condition, Officials Say

Pedestrians walk at the main square near the House of Culture (L) in Handlova, Slovakia, on May 18, 2024, where Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico had been shot "multiple times" on May 15. (AFP)
Pedestrians walk at the main square near the House of Culture (L) in Handlova, Slovakia, on May 18, 2024, where Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico had been shot "multiple times" on May 15. (AFP)
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Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico Still in Serious Condition, Officials Say

Pedestrians walk at the main square near the House of Culture (L) in Handlova, Slovakia, on May 18, 2024, where Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico had been shot "multiple times" on May 15. (AFP)
Pedestrians walk at the main square near the House of Culture (L) in Handlova, Slovakia, on May 18, 2024, where Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico had been shot "multiple times" on May 15. (AFP)

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico remains in serious condition and still faces risks of complications but has stabilized, officials said on Saturday, following Wednesday's assassination attempt.

The prime minister, 59, was shot at five times at point-blank range in an attack that sent shockwaves through Europe and raised concerns over the polarized state of politics in Slovakia, a central European country of 5.4 million people.

"We have not won yet, that is important to say," Deputy Prime Minister Robert Kaliniak said, giving an update on Fico's condition in front of the hospital in the town of Banka Bystrica where the prime minister is being treated.

The Slovak Specialized Criminal Court ruled on Saturday that the suspect, identified by prosecutors as Juraj C., would remain in custody after being charged with attempted murder.

Interior Minister Matus Sutaj Estok has said the suspected attacker, who was detained on the spot, acted alone. The suspect had previously taken part in anti-government protests, he said on Thursday.

Kalinak said there was no need to formally take over Fico's official duties while some communication with the premier was taking place.

Fico underwent a two-hour operation on Friday that improved prospects for his recovery.

"We are succeeding in gradually nearing a positive prognosis," Kalinak said.

"In the initial hours, the prognosis was very, very bad, you know that shots into the abdomen are basically fatal, in this case (the doctors) managed to overturn this state and further stabilize the condition."

Fico still faced a "big risk" of complications, Kalinak said. "The body's reaction to a shooting wound is always very serious and brings (the risk of) a number of complications, which lasts for 4-5 days, which is today and tomorrow."

He said it was unlikely Fico could be transferred to the capital, Bratislava, in coming days.

About 100 Fico supporters, some carrying flowers, gathered on Saturday outside the F.D. Roosevelt University Hospital where the premier was being treated.

Local news media say the suspect is a 71-year-old former security guard at a shopping mall and the author of three collections of poetry.

The court ruled he would remain in custody pending an investigation because of the risk of escape or criminal activity. The decision is subject to appeal.

Since returning for a fourth time as prime minister last October, Fico has shifted policy quickly in what opposition critics called a power grab. His government has scaled back support for Ukraine in its war with Russia, and is revamping the public broadcaster amid concern from critics about media freedom.



One Person Found Dead, 2 Missing in Switzerland Floods

This aerial photograph shows a view of the hamlet of Sorte, south of Lostallo in the Moesa Region in the Swiss canton of Graubunden (Grisons) after violent downpours caused floods and landslides on June 23, 2024. (Photo by Piero CRUCIATTI / AFP)
This aerial photograph shows a view of the hamlet of Sorte, south of Lostallo in the Moesa Region in the Swiss canton of Graubunden (Grisons) after violent downpours caused floods and landslides on June 23, 2024. (Photo by Piero CRUCIATTI / AFP)
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One Person Found Dead, 2 Missing in Switzerland Floods

This aerial photograph shows a view of the hamlet of Sorte, south of Lostallo in the Moesa Region in the Swiss canton of Graubunden (Grisons) after violent downpours caused floods and landslides on June 23, 2024. (Photo by Piero CRUCIATTI / AFP)
This aerial photograph shows a view of the hamlet of Sorte, south of Lostallo in the Moesa Region in the Swiss canton of Graubunden (Grisons) after violent downpours caused floods and landslides on June 23, 2024. (Photo by Piero CRUCIATTI / AFP)

Rescuers in Switzerland have found the body of one of three people who had gone missing on Saturday after massive thunderstorms and rainfall in the southeast of the country caused a rockslide, Swiss authorities say. The other two are still missing.
One woman was pulled out alive from the rubble earlier on Saturday morning, The Associated Press reported.
“Today is a sad day,” said Ignazio Cassis, member of the Swiss Federal Council, who addressed reporters Sunday after traveling to the region to show solidarity with the victims on behalf of the Swiss Federal Government.
A team of 200 rescuers has been searching for the missing people since Saturday with excavators, specially-trained search dogs, drones and army helicopters. But the likelihood of finding them alive is low, William Kloter from the Swiss police, who is heading the rescue operations, told reporters Sunday.
Search operations had to be halted during the night due to heavy rain.
The rockslide hit a group of three houses in the municipality of Lostallo in the Alpine valley of Misox in Graubünden.
Swiss authorities also said that a segment of the Swiss motorway A13 leading towards Italy had been completely submerged and destroyed by flooding. The major transit route between the key San Bernardino Pass and Roveredo in Graubünden will likely remain closed for several months.