Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Friday, 14 June 2019

By , 14 Jun 2019, 02:40 AM News
Morning Headlines for Slovenia: Friday, 14 June 2019 Flickr - Kevin Lim CC by 2.0

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This summary is provided by the STA:

Slovenian, Austrian presidents seek upgrade of relations

VIENNA, Austria - Slovenian President Borut Pahor and his Austrian host Alexander Van der Bellen called for an upgrade of bilateral relations as they met in Vienna. While acknowledging some differences in views, Pahor said those could be resolved in dialogue. The presidents broached a variety of issues, including the status of the Slovenian minority in Austria and the position of the German-speaking community in Slovenia, which wants to be recognised as a minority. Both presidents expressed support for the idea of a Slovenian-Austrian event marking the 100th anniversary of the referendum under which voters in a large part of Carinthia opted for Austria.

Pressure continues on defence minister over army officer sacking

LJUBLJANA - Deputy chair of the Commission for the Oversight of Intelligence and Security Services Žan Mahnič accused Defence Minister Karl Erjavec of having fabricated the reasons for the April dismissal of Miha Škerbinc as the force commander of the Slovenian army. Mahnič said the testimony given today for the parliamentary commission by Škerbinc had shown that he had not spoken ill of the health of Maj-Gen Alenka Ermenc, the chief of the general staff, as well as that Škerbinc had not been responsible for late-night shooting at the Poček training grounds.

Turkey no longer considered safe country by Slovenia

LJUBLJANA - The government adopted a decree updating Slovenia's list of safe countries from 2016. The list has three new names, while Turkey has been removed from it. This means that Slovenia will no longer return migrants or extradite suspects to Turkey. A third country, meaning a non-EU member, is considered safe if it can be assumed, based on several factors, that in general it does not see persecution, torture, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment, and that people there are not in danger due to an international or internal conflict.

Govt to simplify social transfer granting procedure

LJUBLJANA - The government endorsed legislative changes that will simplify the application procedure for social transfers, in particular for scholarships for underprivileged students. The changes, which will be fast-tracked through parliament, will decrease the workload of social centres and enable more students to get scholarship. The motion comes after problems at social work centres, caused by staff shortages and reorganisation, led to delayed decisions on scholarships and social transfers in general. The application process should be simplified as of 1 August.

Govt approves transfer of BAMC plots to Housing Fund

LJUBLJANA - The government approved a decision under which the Bank Assets Management Company (BAMC) will transfer the most suitable housing development plots to the National Housing Fund at market value. The decision comes in response to the proposal made by the Housing Fund in April, with the government establishing that the transfer was essential for the implementation of the national housing plan for 2015-2025. The transfer plots is planned to be executed by the end of 2019. The fund said it expected the government to adopt a decision on a capital increase so that it will be able to pay for the plots.

Report: SDS MP no longer among suspects in BAMC inquiry

LJUBLJANA - Four years after investigators searched the premises of the Bank Asset Management Company (BAMC) due to contentions consultancy contracts it is still not clear when former managers of BAMC will be brought to court, the web portal said, noting that Democrat (SDS) MP Andrej Šircelj is no longer among the suspects. Although prosecutors launched an inquiry against five former BAMC managers and three companies on abuse of office charges a year ago, the Ljubljana District Court has not made a decision on the case yet, Siol reported.

Small parties want more space in media, ban on polls

LJUBLJANA - Three small parties that have fallen well short of parliamentary seats in the latest general and EU elections proposed legislative changes to secure more media space for themselves, claiming this would make elections fairer. All parties should have equal space in all media, including commercial media outlets, while the division of debates on public TV to those featuring parliamentary and those with non-parliamentary parties should be banned, Good State, Greens and the Pirate Party said.

Never operational, children's heart centre to be liquidated

LJUBLJANA - The government decided to liquidate the National Institute for Congenital Heart Disease, which was set up by the previous government in late 2017 but never became operational. The procedure is expected to complete in July 2020, with the remainder of the startup capital, about EUR 1.48 million, to be returned to the budget, the government said. According to documents made available by the Health Ministry, the institute had EUR 1.533 million at its disposal as of 15 May, out of the EUR 1.869 million it received in startup capital from the national budget.

At-risk-of-poverty rate flat at 13% in 2018

LJUBLJANA - Slovenia's at-risk-of-poverty rate was flat at 13.3% in 2018 compared to the year before, shows the data released by the Statistics Office (SURS). The annual threshold representing the risk of poverty rose by EUR 318 net to EUR 7,946 annually, or to EUR 662 a month. Around 268,000 Slovenian residents lived on an income lower than the EUR 662 a month threshold last year, the same as in 2017. Karmen Hren of the SURS said that social transfers continued to play an important role in lowering the country's at-risk-of-poverty rate.

Survey shows Slovenians wealthier, increasingly happy

LJUBLJANA - The financial situation of Slovenian households improved in 2018 over 2017 and on average Slovenians were happy with their lives, according to a survey presented by the Statistics Office. General satisfaction continued to increase last year. Satisfaction rates were highest in the Gorenjska statistical region at 7.6 points on a 1-10 scale, slightly higher than the national average of 7.3 points. The share of households which said that they could make ends meet easily every month increased by 2 percentage points compared to 2017, to 17%.

Slovenia eighth family-friendliest country in developed world

NEW YORK, US - Slovenia is the 8th family-friendliest country in the developed world, according to the latest UNICEF report. The list of 31 developed countries with available data is topped by Sweden, followed by Norway, Iceland and Estonia, while Cyprus, UK and Ireland are at the bottom. The report ranked the countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the EU based on their family-friendly policies, which include the duration of parental leave at full pay equivalent, and childcare services for children until six years of age.

WHO conference in Ljubljana vows to reduce heath inequalities

LJUBLJANA - The participants of a regional high-level conference on health equity, hosted by the Health Ministry and the World Health Organization (WHO) between 11 and 13 June, signed the Ljubljana Statement today, with the document binding WHO members to take further action to reduce health inequalities. The conference has strived to come up with strategies for reducing health inequalities and accelerating progress towards better health, well-being and prosperity for all in the European region. On the basis of the statement, WHO will draw up a resolution on increasing health equity, state secretary at the Health Ministry Simona Repar Bornšek told the STA.

Panasonic opens its first training centre in Slovenia

HOČE - Japan's Panasonic opened its first training centre in Slovenia in the Hoče-Slivnica industrial zone, while also signed an agreement on cooperation with a Maribor high school and high school centre. The opening of the training centre, which is to boost the exchange of know-how, ideas and technologies, was attended by Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek, Japanese Ambassador Masharu Yoshida, representatives of the company and the municipality as well as Slovenian and foreign investors.

Levstik children's books prize goes to Novak and Godec Schmidt

LJUBLJANA - Poet, writer and playwright Boris A. Novak and illustrator Jelka Godec Schmidt are the recipients of this year's Levstik Prizes for lifetime achievement in children's literature. Novak, a leading Slovenian author, has also created an original and powerful body of work for children and features among the top authors of youth and children's literature in Slovenia. As for Godec Schmidt, the jury wrote that there were very few children in Slovenia who did not grow up loving her playful, prankish and caring monsters, animals and children. The two were also honoured with memorial plaques in front of Ljubljana's Konzorcij bookstore.

Discount fashion giant Primark opens first store in Slovenia

LJUBLJANA - Irish fast fashion retailer Primark opened a store in Ljubljana's BTC shopping district on Thursday, its first in Slovenia and this part of Europe in general. The two-storey, 4,200 square metre store, located in the Citypark shopping mall, increases the number of Primark's stores globally to 372 and the number of countries where it operates to 12. Toni Pugelj, the director of Citypark operator SES Slovenija, told the press that EUR 20 million had been invested in the redesign of the shopping mall to accommodate Primark.

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